December 15, 2019, 05:49:00 PM

Author Topic: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations  (Read 17008 times)

Offline JMack

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #150 on: December 04, 2016, 05:42:25 PM »
My reactions are, characteristically, mild (or milquetoast, depending on my daily degree of self-loathing, but that's for the Depression thread).

Let's keep an eye out for bias. Let's remind each other from time to time to look outside our normal lane. As much as is possible, let's make sure that the opportunity is there for the bet to rise to the top.

Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
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Offline Rostum

Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #151 on: December 04, 2016, 06:02:36 PM »
The purpose of a forum was never consensus, but that different views were heard. Having the discussion is often more important than any conclusion.

Offline Nora

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #152 on: December 04, 2016, 06:16:29 PM »
Nora - where's your Darkness now? Now you believe in a world where our discussion here - does what, exactly? Sounds to me like there's no great certainty a problem even exists - sort of a leap to assume we're going to help with solving it through talk. Sounds like pride to me - inflated opinion of the importance of one's opinions and impacts on the world.

Me writing darker things has little to do with my usual personality, which has little to do with my opinions, world views and hopes.
If you knew me, you probably wouldn't dream to imagine me as a writer of pseudo-dark stuff. And reading me, you probably are miles from guessing my deep political hopes.

However I only have to look down on my short adult life, to see the revolutions my thoughts and hopes and dreams went though, my new appreciation for some different values and rules.
I went out of my comfort zone, saw how some other countries dealt with other issues, lived under different rules, and hence rubbed elbows with people who had some drastically different thoughts from mine, and got into passionate conversations and insightful tales and encounters. Stuff I thought was myth came out of the darkness of the world and showed its ugly face.
All this made me change a lot. I'm not the same person I was when I left France, and I want nothing of that old life back.
So tomorrow, faced with a choice, I'm not sure I'd act the same way now than I would have 4 years ago.

It's all small ripples. Which conversation, or which dispute, turned my thoughts to different ends? Can anyone feel responsible for the complex changes my personality has undertaken? I don't think so.

Deep down I'm a pessimist. I think we're reaching the top of the bell curve and our specie will collapse sooner rather than later, and the world will be better for it. I think our lives are led without purpose or goal or meaning, and that there is nothing to come after our death but return to the nothingness that was there before our life began.
It's scary yet freeing, and maybe it's what you see reflected in my stories, but it in no way means I don't believe in the power of conversation.

What do you think started most assassinations, most coups, most revolutions? People voting? Pah! You misunderstand me.
I'm French. We invented the beheading of royalty.
People talked, they hungered. Do you know what even started the revolution? It was Louis XVI's smart idea to open a national discussion of the problems of the people, clergy and nobility, and gather the representatives in assembly.
He wanted to do good. He was a smart man. Actually perfected the design of the guillotine himself, from the inefficient crescent blade to the one you know and which severed his own neck.
The thing is, the people of France were invited to gather in their villages and go to the man at the public desk, and tell him their grievances, for them to be talked off in the Assembly.
It was like a bum, lifting his own clothes, and suddenly, instead of only scratching himself mindlessly, seeing the sores, the pustules and the gangrene eating at him.
It made people aware of all that was wrong, and it made them talk. No one voted to storm the Bastille.

And how are coups done, but by discontented people spreading their complaints and convincing arguments and gaining enough followers to take over power?

Ideas are infectious. Many books and many movies try to make that point. Actions aren't ideas, even though they can bring that about, and are in turn brought by them. Ideas are spread through written or spoken word, that's all.

So of course our chatting here can change people. I don't think it'll change me, because I don't think or classify by authors, and don't remember work by author. So ultimately I don't think I could even force myself to try. And I don't really want to.
But if it brought any of our attention to crucial topics and made us take a trip out of our comfort zone, then it has been worthwhile.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2016, 09:08:15 PM by Nora »
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Offline Nora

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #153 on: December 04, 2016, 06:28:04 PM »
The purpose of a forum was never consensus, but that different views were heard. Having the discussion is often more important than any conclusion.

By liking this, I made you go from 1111 likes to 1112. SORRYYYY....
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Online Peat

Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #154 on: December 04, 2016, 06:41:38 PM »
This was mainly meant to be about *our* community here rather than the wider community of the genre - or perhaps I should say sub-genre, as fantasy of the sort we talk is but one sub-genre of everything that can be called fantasy - but lets talk about the wider community.

I said these findings can be construed as supporting a theory that I have (that the fantasy publishing industry/genre pushes male authors harder than female authors). I did not come up with this theory based on the numbers. I came up with that based on a number of things I've read over the years i.e. the Mark Lawrence blog post I linked to.

I do not have conclusive proof for this theory. There's not a lot of people collecting the numbers that would prove/disprove. I have seen more proof for it than not but it remains just my educated opinion.

Do I think these stats point to anything for the wider fandom than just this forum? Only in conjunction with other stats from elsewhere. I believe this forum is sufficiently representative of a lot of online communities in the genre that predictions could be made but you'd want more proof. I'd want more proof.*

Do I think that recommendations made here can have an impact beyond this particular community? Yes. There's a lot of proof across a lot of industries that super-fans and early adopters play a huge part in driving brands. There's a lot of people who I'd say are of that nature and quite a lot of them talk fantasy elsewhere. I don't wish to overstate the impact of this but it plays a part. A lot of fantasy authors build their careers slowly on the back of a growing stream of personal recommendations.

But the stats are about this forum and my conclusion is that, here, "I can't even definitely say there's an issue."



Speaking of which...

Lanko, I really don't know how you got this


The whole issue Peat (and others have) is because the % of women recommendations are less than the males. That's the whole point of his data gathering and in his words, it's "skewed", "it's an issue", and etc. So what wouldn't be an issue or skewed? If it was complete parity or the opposite? Why?

When the only mention of the word issue in my latest post:

And I can't even definitely say there's an issue.

Every time I answer you, it feels like I start by explaining why your report of my words is in fact nothing like my words and then repeating an answer I have already given in the thread. That would be the 33% target I currently believe represents parity i.e. a woman is as likely to be recommended as a male. This would be a far more constructive thread if you were to read my posts more carefully.



Although on the subject of 33%, given that women make up 45% of the books Locus receive for review and 46% of the members of the SFWA, the 33% number might be lowballing it. However, since we're talking about conventional fantasy and those numbers include more than conventional fantasy authors, I feel uncomfortable accepting them as definite figures.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/may/12/sci-fi-media-coverage-dominated-by-men-survey-shows

http://www.nerds-feather.com/2015/04/membership-in-sfwa-by-gender.html




*Although if people want some stats from elsewhere...

4 threads + the two archive posts at the beginning of the big fantasy recommendations thread at SFFChrons = 150 guys, 77 girls. On the nose, although not big enough to be representative.

Two years of the big "I like X recommend me..." threads at BestFantasyBooks = 104 guys, 22 girls. 21pc. Very limited sample (small number of recommenders) but pretty low.

2 crowd voted "Best of Year" lists at BFB = 7 of 55; 3 crowd voted "Best of Fantasy" lists at BFB = 46 of 222. Again small sample, but again low.

Offline Nora

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #155 on: December 04, 2016, 06:45:59 PM »
And if we do happen to like more men writers than women writers, do we go to sexist hell?

 ;D
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Offline JMack

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #156 on: December 04, 2016, 06:49:26 PM »
And if we do happen to like more men writers than women writers, do we go to sexist hell?

 ;D

Only if it's cold, Nora. Only if it's cold.  ;)
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Offline Lanko

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #157 on: December 04, 2016, 06:51:34 PM »
This was mainly meant to be about *our* community here rather than the wider community of the genre - or perhaps I should say sub-genre, as fantasy of the sort we talk is but one sub-genre of everything that can be called fantasy - but lets talk about the wider community.

I said these findings can be construed as supporting a theory that I have (that the fantasy publishing industry/genre pushes male authors harder than female authors). I did not come up with this theory based on the numbers. I came up with that based on a number of things I've read over the years i.e. the Mark Lawrence blog post I linked to.


But we don't get our recommendations just from here. And even when we do, how do you know it didn't come from outside?
And again, look at the Tor article. What if the different is due to publishers not even receiving such amounts of submissions?

And it did start as a talk of the genre as a whole, back on page 2 on 3. It was actually being pretty constructive, until you were the one who actually turned it into a "forum census" and tried to generalize some perceived "issue" based on a few topics and we should give recs based on gender for a bit more parity...

Also, on that list back then, it was Top Books of the 2000's or whatever, but it was heavily male oriented. Then you gave names of female authors you didn't even read to be included in a Top X Books list simply because it didn't have many female authors.
Can we at least agree that including authors you didn't even read in such a list for the sake of gender parity was going a little too far?

And I don't know how you think people may not think that the whole issue you have is because we have more % males than females.
If you show numbers like "there's 33% of females here, 27% here, 40% here" and for you it's "skewed" and think there's an issue, then what percentage or ratio wouldn't be an issue for you?

Anyway, we're gonna go through another circular round of arguments again with this...

Let's just agree to disagree then.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2017, 08:03:24 PM by Lanko »
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Online Peat

Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #158 on: December 05, 2016, 02:50:06 AM »
I never said what the topic as started by Eclipse was about; I said what my stats were about given it looked like people were interpretating them as being a comment on everything. That was possibly a misread on TGC's post.

Nor have I ever said that people should give recommendations based on gender.

And I have already said that I'm looking for 33pc of recommendations as that's the best guess on the number of women among fantasy authors. If women get 33pc of recommendations, that means they're as likely to be recommended as men. That to me is parity. I have been deliberately ignoring the issue of whether and why there's more male authors than female authors. It is easier to answer Eclipse's question by doing so.


But lets talk the whole genre, as we have beat this little bit of it to death. Lets talk the whole thing. First, I'd like to define fantasy as "What we talk about here in Fantasy Book & Author Discussion" because I think that's the definition of fantasy most of us mean. That excludes Paranormal Romance and excludes the majority of Urban Fantasy and Young Adult. If people wish to disagree with that definition, fair enough, but for the sake of argument this is what I mean. Things very clearly get a *lot* different if you include those things in the genre.

Now to clarify -

While I am uncertain there's an issue with the recommendations at this forum;

I think it probable that there's an issue with women having to work harder to receive the same level of success in the fantasy genre

Now, I'm saying probable. That there is no clear consistent trend all the way through fantasy is clear. Some magazines show heavy genre bias with reviews. Some magazines show none. If we use the 33% figure, then women do better in rewards than you would expect. If you use the rewards/SFWA membership figures/Locus numbers, then women are more likely to be signed than men if Tor's numbers are correct. Different communities have different group tastes and favourites. Some of them trend more towards female authors than others.

But there is evidence for suggesting women have to work harder to get the same recognition, much of it already linked in this thread. I've seen data on how readers admit they're less likely to read books by authors with a female name. I've seen data on how major booksellers push male authors harder than female authors in non-romance and children genres. I've seen data on how female authors are less likely to be reviewed on the major reviewing platforms.

None of this is definitive proof. Its not extensive enough, not scientific enough. But there are evidence-based grounds for believing this is going on. And most of the evidence is coming from people in the industry, some of them very successful people in the industry. I do not believe they have not been moved to look at these things for no reason.

Ultimately I find this evidence more compelling than the counter-arguments. It surprises me somewhat, especially given how many women work in publishing, but lots of things surprise me.

There's also a certain amount of evidence that readers ignore what the publishers push to an extent and act fairly gender neutral. The data I collected can be construed as such actually; the link I posted in this thread contains a bit on it.  That's a generalisation of course. There are people out there who have a definite obvious bias. I reckon there's others who have subconscious biases that come into play. But my guess is they equal out and that the industry doesn't need to keep pushing men to sell. Although guess who has a lot more data than me...

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #159 on: December 05, 2016, 04:01:06 AM »
Me writing darker things has little to do with my usual personality, which has little to do with my opinions, world views and hopes.
If you knew me, you probably wouldn't dream to imagine me as a writer of pseudo-dark stuff. And reading me, you probably are miles from guessing my deep political hopes.

The comment that brought this response was so laughably way-off that I have to endorse Nora's reply and assure you that in real life it is hard to believe she could create such intriguing dark worlds. She absolutely does not eat people. I promise.

After personal chats, and then being able to spend a few short hours with her here in Canberra  I can assure you Nora is enormous fun to be with, happy, enthusiastic, extremely well informed, and someone who has independently travelled and worked to find wide experience and enjoyment in a relatively short life so far. She has my utmost respect and admiration. Certainly neither arrogantly prideful in any way, nor proselytising of her own opinion. I was genuinely sad the time flew so fast and we met as she was about to leave.

Quote
Ideas are infectious. Many books and many movies try to make that point. Actions aren't ideas, even though they can bring that about, and are in turn brought by them. Ideas are spread through written or spoken word, that's all.

So of course our chatting here can change people. I don't think it'll change me, because I don't think or classify by authors, and don't remember work by author. So ultimately I don't think I could even force myself to try. And I don't really want to.
But if it brought any of our attention to crucial topics and made us take a trip out of our comfort zone, then it has been worthwhile.

Chatting, comments and  discussions here have brought many new dimensions to the way I look at things and have learned much that was unexpected and out of my normal ken. Not just about books, but also around  people places, ideas. I value the many varied opinions and pov's.
 
@cupiscent, you have already had an effect, though perhaps indirectly, and not quite what you envisaged. Answering what setting I would like to visit, checked to see if any were in female writers' books and happy to find a VE Schwab  location was first on my list. ;D

Love that the subjects get passionate, because we all recognise that is part of enthusiasm, but have to confess to personally switching off on number analyses because maths is der for me.

The discussions get repeated or go around and around, but new people join in who haven't been engaged in similar discussions in the past, so it is always good to give something a new airing.

“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
Leigh Bardugo, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Offline JMack

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #160 on: December 05, 2016, 10:20:56 AM »
So, we should all pitch in for a college algebra text for you for Secret Santa. Excellent. Done and done.  8)
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #161 on: December 05, 2016, 05:35:02 PM »
So, the way to get the discussion less contentious is to attack the discussion itself, after which the warm feels and flowers return. This is very Westworld to me.
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Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #162 on: December 05, 2016, 09:14:35 PM »
So, we should all pitch in for a college algebra text for you for Secret Santa. Excellent. Done and done.  8)

No good if it's got




 in there pretending to be a number. That was when I left it all to Buzz Lightyear and ran away. ::)
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
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