A Banner Week for Women Writers – or Not?

Did anyone notice that the June 5th email list of The New York Review of Books online featured pieces written by no less than SEVEN women? out of TEN authors.

A blinding 70%!!!

If you’ve heard about the presumed big splash the VIDA Count made (scroll down their Website to view the damning PPT charts), regarding the dearth of women writers in major media outlets and literary venues, one can only hope that this is more than an anomaly.

But if you compare the online version with its paper counterpart, the June 21st issue, the picture doesn’t look as rosy. The paper edition features a paltry THREE women in a sea of TWENTY men.

Only 13%!!!!!

Now, dear reader, is the NYRB trying to hoodwink us? Do they think that they can appease the women who read online while catering to the old male guard who read the paper edition?

WHAT, I ask, WHAT is going on here?

Any ideas?



Filed under Howling at the moon, Rants

7 responses to “A Banner Week for Women Writers – or Not?

  1. This week’s “virtual” list of women isn’t as long. Only ONE woman on the New York Review of Books email features list. Where are those female overlords to keep Wes in line? Oh, yeah, he’s already got more than he bargained for with Laurel and me…and his wife.

  2. I’d argue some more if I weren’t laughing so hard.

  3. Wes Pierce

    Well, just going by that seventy percent total found in the online version of the NYRB, I for one welcome our new female overlords.

  4. Jill, we really need to coax you out of your shell!

    I had a chance to talk to writer William Dietrich (author of the Ethan Gage books), when he was teaching at Western Washington U here in Bellingham WA, and he said when he wanted to switch from journalism to novels, one of the first things he considered was how he could make money doing it. After 15 books and placing on the NYT Bestseller lists, I guess he figured it out.

    Either for societal or biological factors, among other things, the way that men and women can approach things differently could also factor in here, with some men going after publication in a more practical fashion and some women coming at it from the more self-fulfillment angle, with less initial attention to the business side of it? Bill and I were laughing about that, at least because of our completely opposite stories of how we initially approached story writing.

    Back in my recruiting days, I was at an engineering school and watched students race their remote-controlled cars they made for their final project. The guys would have these stripped-down chassis and the girls would have an equally performing car but it would be decorated like a cute bunny.

    • Laurel, Perhaps that rationale comes into the picture when we’re talking about women trying to break in to the “inner circle” of mass-published authors or academics. But we have plenty of XX-chromosome heavy hitters available for the asking. Take a look at all of the publications listed in the PowerPoint slides on VIDA’s “The Count” website. I think it can’t be explained by lack of initiative, lack of interest in making money, lack of–well, lack of anything except breaking into the boys’ social club. And I’m not saying it’s done maliciously, but it’s something that’s been overlooked–until VIDA showed up.I think the editors of the publications listed should add some women writers to their rolodex and give them a jingle the next time they want an essay on _____, or a short story, or a book review.

      And dahlink, you know I’m an engineer. I’ll be happy to show you the video of the automated guided vehicle system linked with a robot loader I designed for my senior project. There wasn’t a fuzzy creature in sight. Oh, and I love watching robots beat each other up at Robo-games, too, the louder the noise, the bigger the crash, the higher the smoke/flame level, the better. :o)

      One last item: I’m well out of my shell and looking for a bigger and better abode. Just gotta find the right agent. LOL

  5. VIDA displays a pie chart on their “The Count” page:
    143 women vs. 627 men published in the NYRB for 2011,
    roughly 19% women. Hmmmm….

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