Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Women just have to do men down, don't they?

A little belatedly (I'm busy writing), here's an article on gender bias in the fiction industry, by Joanna Trollope, chair of this year's Fiction Prize for Women (as we must now call it, since Orange have pulled their sponsorship to concentrate on film, and a new sponsor is being sought).

The vicious comments beneath prove her point, I think.

15 comments:

Hayley N. Jones said...

I never fail to be amazed at people's ignorance of/disdain for/malice towards issues surrounding equality. It's disgusting and depressing that, in the 21st century, women's writing is still devalued.

Dan Holloway said...

oh bloody hell. I remember various fusses in the last year or so centred on Jodi Picoult and Jonathan Frantzen and, if I'm not mistaken, even Evie Wyld, and it's nuts. Worst of all is the level of sheer dimwittedness displayed whenever the VIDA statistics are discussed. I don't think it's solely located withinthe gender discussion - there is a general inability to comprehend either the existence or implications of structural exclusion in a number of areas from class to race to gender and beyond - with a startling lack of not even self-awareness but an inability to grasp the concept of the value of reflecting, for a second, on whether their denials might be *part of* such exclusion, coupled with alarming use of outliers as "proof" of its non-existence. At the very best, the kind of response one can expect is "no one's really believed all that since the 60s".

charlescharliecharles said...

as someone who dabbles in satire, i find the whole thing most disheartening. within half dozen comments you have the Anne McCaffrey fan who writes IN CAPITALS!!!! and with lots of EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!; some semi-literate nutter who makes reference to 'peer review' and throws in the word 'epistle' in a (doomed) attempt to give his piece some gravitas, while asserting that buying his wife books is 'handing feminism a rod to beat men with'; a fella who asks 'has anyone ever been able to take anyone who looks like her seriously?' (eh?); and the usual moronic 'point' about efforts to address discrimination - 'if the boot were on the other foot' etc etc - that fails to acknowledge that the issue is one of power and the boot is never on the other foot...

honestly. you couldn't make it up...

Elizabeth Baines said...

You all put it so well. I felt too wearied by it all even to try...

craigpay.com said...

Please don't tar all of us guys with the same brush! This is DM readership. The comments on their articles are always the same, for example...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2151576/Tube-racist-champagne-fuelled-tirade-viewed-thousands-YouTube-sentenced-months-prison.html

Vanessa Gebbie said...

I dont read the Times /Sunday Times reviews any more - whereas a while ago, I used to really look forward to them, as I was not not aware of the bias.
Now I realise how blatant it is, I can't take the reviews that are there seriously. I see the agenda before the books, and that surely is not the point?!

Elizabeth Baines said...

Craig, no, we don't tar all men with the same brush. There are some thoughtful judicious men commenting on here, for a start...

Yes, V, it's amazing how easy it is to be blind to such agendas, and how impossible not to be once you become aware...

Elizabeth Baines said...
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Elizabeth Baines said...

PS, Craig: I have just stood by amused as my partner and the guy who came up to mend our doors had a conversation about how the world would be a better place if it were run by women - fewer wars, for a start. They didn't know I was listening. So no, it's not a question of all men, but of patriarchal agendas and assumptions that can infect the thinking of all of us, men and women...

Elizabeth Baines said...

As my (male) partner said to the carpenter who expressed this sentiment, 'Well, as long as it's not a Maggie Thatcher since she was pretty partial to a war'.

Elizabeth Baines said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen said...

I should have known better than to follow your link. Not even worth thinking about.

All I can say is that in my opinion the Orange prize takes some beating for quality, engaging fiction.

Joanne Bryant said...

After following the link it was disheartening to read the statistics stated there. women are still second class citizens in many areas sadly and this appears to be one of them.

Elizabeth Baines said...

I think her comments are based on the Vida statistics which can be viewed here:
http://www.vidaweb.org/the-2011-count

Thomas Derry said...

Coming in a little late, but shocked at VS Naipaul's comment in the Mail article.

Zadie Smith's White Teeth is an all-time favorite, far more than anything that dried-up old fig Naipaul wrote.

Hopefully as his generation dies out (good riddance Norman Mailer), and a new one comes into its own, the scales will balance.