Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yet Another Book List Discriminates Against Women Authors (Yawn)

Now that, in reaction to Publishers Weekly's all-male top ten list of 2009 books, I've written a term paper about discrimination against women writers and female protagonists...now a British list, the Blackwell list, has come out with a list of their favorite ten books of the decade, and only one of them is written by a woman.

Perhaps I should be impressed, since that's one more than Publishers Weekly listed. But I'm not impressed. In both cases, the judges are perpetuating the patriarchy with which they grew up and internalized. Instead they should wake up and stop believing that a male perspective (particularly a white male perspective) is more important and more worthwhile. The cycle continues: male authors get all the recognition and sell their books, while female writers write brilliant literature and get ignored. This is really getting old.

And it's not just these two lists: this is the norm with lists of favorite books. It has also been the norm with anthologies over the years, although this is finally changing...except in the horror genre.

Joanna Russ wrote a book called How to Suppress Women's Writing back in 1983. While researching my term paper, the copyright date at first discouraged me from using that book, but then I read a one-paragraph excerpt from it, and it indeed still applies.

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