A recent article in Bustle shares research from a new study showing female representation in fiction was better in the Victorian era than now. My instant reaction was disbelief, but as I thought about it, it’s not really that surprising. Based on my own (highly unscientific) experiences and observations, I’ve noticed that:
- Publishing jobs tend to be low paying, are overwhelmingly held by women–and the women still almost always get paid less than the men in equivalent positions (more here).
- Female writers tend to be taken less seriously than men, and their careers suffer for it. Don’t believe me? See here, here, or here, for just a few examples.
- The genres in which women predominate are looked down on (this article discusses genre prejudice in general, but check the #1 and #2 most hated genres listed).
- All difficulties are magnified for queer, trans, and POC women writers. For example, they’re largely excluded in genres dominated by straight white women.
- Only women and girls seem to face mass derision for their reading preferences. Perhaps you yourself have encountered the hate for Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey. Yes, neither of these are literary masterpieces, but the last time I checked, not every book enjoyed by or written by men is pure gold either. Yet I can’t think of a time when men have been criticized on a mass scale for their fandom of a particular book.
- The women writing about this topic are probably less likely to be believed and listened to than this man writing about the same topic.
On this International Women’s Day, I hope everyone will spare some time to think about the difficulties–past and present–faced by women everywhere, and more importantly, to do something about it.