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Author Topic: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations  (Read 16031 times)

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #60 on: November 29, 2016, 08:46:06 PM »
In an effort to keep the peace I am blinding myself with crochet needles, so I won't be reading any list anymore :)

Seriously though, I appreciate the passionate and dispassionate arguments. This reminds me of the other night, when my low-20s sons were talking passionately, late at night. Seeking an excuse to get out of my chair, I utilized my ninja-skills (popping joints notwithstanding) to eavesdrop. They were in one of those "Us two vs. the world" arguments where they're both on the same side. The topic? How disgusting it is that female superheroes like Wonder Woman are scantily clad and continuously posed in sexually suggestive postures, etc., how unfair it is that males are not, and how pathetic it is that the creators care more about the petty sex appeal than anything else, even at the cost of undermining the reasons/justifications for the heroes' powers.

I don't know what's right and fully true, and I don't think any of us do. But like my sons' discussion, the very fact we're having it points to us being part of the solution to the problem, whether its minor and incidental, serious and harmful, or somewhere in between. That the discussion is taking place, that it is viewed as important and worth having, and worth having well - based on facts and fair observations - is proof that we're part of the way forward. In other words, so long as women will write and write well, we will read them, and we will honor the quality of their work and pass the word on that they're worth reading, to the extent that we can, being both well-intentioned and human.
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline Nora

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #61 on: November 29, 2016, 10:05:11 PM »
Currently re-reading an old vampire novel that had left an eerie feeling for me, but no clear memories, as I read it in my teens. By the name of the author I can't tell the gender. I'm 36% in the book, I still haven't had the thought to check.

That's why such conversations befuddle me.

Let me have a look... Robin McKingley is a woman! Whoa! Robin is a man's name only in french, I was wary because of Robin Hobb – whom I thought to be a guy for the longest time as a kid.

At the end I doubt that there are many more constructive things to be said on that topic. We should all strive to make our recommendations in an enlightened, careful way, and check our references.

Sadly I don't keep my goodreads book shelved, so I can't browse through themes or genres when making recommendations, and I also lack physical shelves to turn to. So I rely a lot on my memory, books which marked me, etc. I think it would help.
But if you guys are curious to expend your reading, goodreads has plenty of SFF female authored lists to browse though.

I think our recommendations are the tail end of the problem. Who doesn't get a HP or Hobb's book offered or pushed on them as a young reader? If we want to have more women turn to writing, we must strive to keep the market open.
But I think we shouldn't lose all sense of perspective. There might never be as many women interested in SFF and Horror as men, and we should not let senseless feminism make us see problems where there isn't necessarily any.
Knowing I will not live long enough to read everything, I strive for quality, and the genre of my dope-dealer does not matter to me.
I'm more worried when I see companies turn to and nurture cash-grabbing shit that over sells to the masses and cheapens the quality of what gets published. I think publishers should strive for some standards, keep pulp to pulp, and... well... I don't have well formed thoughts there, I DNF too much as a system to really complain. I just wish I didn't so many bad books getting unwarranted praise. 
"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

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Offline Peat

Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #62 on: November 29, 2016, 10:24:16 PM »
But I think we shouldn't lose all sense of perspective. There might never be as many women interested in SFF and Horror as men, and we should not let senseless feminism make us see problems where there isn't necessarily any.

Even this is not necessarily so. There are studies out there that reckon once you balance for demographic skews, there's a 50-50 split in SF readership among men and women. http://aplus.com/a/darren-beyer-women-reading-science-fiction-column?no_monetization=true

I'd hate to stake a definitive argument on that and I believe there's a wide disparity in studies - I believe some find an 80-20 split - but I'd hate to argue against it either. And that's just in Sci-Fi, which is probably more traditionally male dominated than Traditional Fantasy. Its estimated that there's a 55-45 split in books received by Locus for review. That's only one reviewer (albeit the biggest) and I don't have a wider genre break down but even so, there's signs that there are as many (or nearly as many) women interested today, nevermind tomorrow.
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Offline Nora

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #63 on: November 29, 2016, 11:16:50 PM »
Readership is different from authorship. Not everyone is able to make a career out of it, or wishes for one.
Equality is one thing, but a woman's and a man's life are not always the same, with often different expectations, or even needs.
Different genders do seem to be attracted to different things. Let's not be blind to how many female author write cheesy-ass romance read by-and-large by other women.

What if war-scf-fi is a more a men authored, men read genre? So long as women are not banned from trying their hand at it, and obviously our capitalist system isn't going to keep any woman from buying any books, so...

Let's not bicker about numbers, I'm talking about concepts.
We might not reach 50/50. And I'm worried we should want to so much, because what of reaching 60/40, or 80/20? Will we then tolerate the rise of menists and their worries for men's representation in SFF and Horror?

All I'm saying is that it's entirely possible that men will keep being more attracted to sci-fi or fantasy, and that forcing the issue on our side feels unwarranted.
Women get published, women self publish, to some success too, despite sometimes writing humongous piles of steaming shite the likes of which can be found on the first page of the genre in wattpad (sorry to be judgemental but some of the stuff there wouldn't pass through a high-school teacher and has millions of reads). Women read them, and read men, and get their mind bent by authors of any genre.
Some go on to have amazing acclaim, and revolution the genre...

What is it that makes us so anxious and worried about?
Why is it such a worry? What is so wrong that makes us argue about how we recommend so much?

I personally think that the stuff you give to your children to read will shape their taste, and if we wanted more women in the SFF genre, we should hand out little girls more sff and less romance. Give kids from non-reading families fun stuff to get to love reading before harder classics.
My first works including hard romance were with Anne Rice and Jean M Auel in my early teens! I read LOTR at 10, I was reading Crichton at 12. No wonder I grew to dote on SFF. The tremendous majority of women I encounter IRL read cheap romance, IF they read at all.
Most of my co-workers keep reading to women's magazines, making me feel closest to my 40 yo dude co-worker behind the bar, even though he isn't into modern SFF.
Here is a much more important issue to tackle in my opinion. How about more YA like Abhorsen, or Castle In The Air, where magic is more important than romance? Stuff that can catch any gender teen, and make them love the style and themes and slowly dip their toes into weirder things (weirder for them–not hard at 12).
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 02:55:05 AM by Nora »
"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

Offline Lanko

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #64 on: November 29, 2016, 11:54:05 PM »
It's hard to believe there's no ideological motivation, subtle or direct, conscious or not, when you see posts with "publishers throw only white males at us", "publishers could deliberately publish more women", "it's not a fair or even field", "there is a problem with the gender gap" (when data of big publishers show in some genres even if they published everything submitted regardless of quality, it wouldn't even reach 1/5 or 1/3), and the "necessity" for readers to read/recommend specific books for the sake of more parity instead if they are enjoying it.

Of course, if the reverse was happening there would be no necessity to deliberately go out of our way to recommend more males - and this thread wouldn't even be opened .
Which just means it's all aimed towards a specific kind of parity or majority. Whether it's not acknowledged or downright denied, that's what it is.

And still nobody has explained what's so special about the magical number of 50/50 or any other combination they wish to see.
How deliberately reducing male authors in Epic or SF or deliberately reducing female authors from YA or UF to make it have more parity will magically make books have more quality or produce more enjoyment? Isn't that what gets noticed, what sells, and why people read and follow an author?

I salute you for the time and effort, Peat, but the data for your "evidence" consists of 18 topics on a 6 year old forum with almost 9k topics. This is what? Less than 0,01%?
Some of those topics don't even have more than one page. And sometimes removing one member or another changes the data dramatically, which just proves how small and unreliable the data is.
Ok, you are doing what's humanly possible, but it's like trying to determine the results of the USA presidential election interviewing 10 people in a rural village consisting of a population of 100.

Also, a lot of recommendations most likely pop in here during casual conversations in threads that are not even for book recommendations, so probably the bulk of data for both genders are simply missing.

About visibility, the amount of books published by traditional published in a year is over 300,000 titles. 10% of that amount released in a single year is most likely more than we can possibly read in our lifetime. And this not including self-published.

So yes, stuff is gonna be missed by a lot of people, be it from male or female authors. The average lifetime sales for the vast majority of books is 250 copies per year. And less than 2,000 in it's lifetime.
And who reads only what is newly released? Some people here haven't read books released 5 or 10 years ago. With this mountain of books out there, if something is still being recommended 5-10 years later, it's reasonable to believe it has some quality to it - even if it ends disappointing. So it's no wonder you see some books or authors getting recommended with great frequency. Quality, not gender.

Going even further, if you are not among the 0,5% with a Big Five contract, or in a NYT Bestselling list, or a reasonable audience or with high prospects for some prize, you are most likely screwed.
And even among those 0,5% there's even further division. Like a business, they will most likely make 80% of their marketing efforts to promote the 20% who keep them in the blue - the Pattersons, the Rowlings, the Stephen Kings, the Gaimans, the Nora Roberts.

It's freaking hard for everyone, male or female, to get visibility. And if some genres may have 80% male percentage of submissions, that also means a crapload more of good male authors are out there and that are simply not noticed just as their female counterparts. In a bigger proportion. Bookstores are even harder.

And visibility can only push a book so far. If a book is bad or only really appeals to a niche or small audience, no amount of publicity will make it good and mainstream, the publisher will just lose money. Plenty of examples there.
Some initiatives like SPFBO make me respect authors like Mark Lawrence more, but even that is no guarantee of anything. Heck, some books have a recommendation by GRRM or Gaiman on their cover and while helpful, this can also only carry you so far.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 12:54:42 AM by Lanko »
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline cupiscent

Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #65 on: November 30, 2016, 12:01:12 AM »
What is it that makes us so anxious and worried about?
Why is it such a worry? What is so wrong that makes us argue about how we recommend so much?

Because at present, society is not equal, literature (of all kinds and genres) is not equal. We live in a society where the stories of men have been privileged over those of women for so long, in so many explicit and implicit ways, that it is no simple matter to untangle ourselves from the unthinking assumptions we have become entrenched in. (I'm certainly still tangled up in them.) I'd like to see more people reading female authors. I'd like to see more people reading female main characters. I'd like to see more stories with female characters, and a wide variety of them. I'd like to see more stories that welcome and encourage female readership. I'd like to see more of all of these stories on review sites, on recommendation lists, on school required reading lists, in libraries, in bookstores. I'd like to see more women reading genres that they might have felt previously did not welcome their reading. I'd like to see more people talking about these issues. I'd like to see less of the assumption that stories by or about women are only for women. I'd like to less talking down about female-heavy, female-audienced genres like romance (as though fantasy, or horror, or thrillers didn't have their own share of written-by-numbers cheap pulp iterations).

I'd like to see all of those things. We just happen to be talking about recommendations right now.

So perhaps, yes, I have an agenda. I want to see equal value for women's stories. I am perplexed that anyone could possibly have a problem with that.

To come back to the specific - given TGC particularly wanted first-person fantasy, I'm especially surprised not to see Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy on his list of recs. Regardless of the appeal of the plot to various readers (and it is in general highly regarded, though it's not my favourite of her work and I can see how various themes don't appeal to everyone) it's still one of the strongest first-person usages I can think of in the genre. (The other being Dan Polansky's Low Town trilogy; first book average, latter books amazing.)

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #66 on: November 30, 2016, 01:34:10 AM »
In the context of this thread about women author recommendations etc etc etc etc

Can we please stop quoting or using this list put together for The Gem Cutter alone as in any way typical of anything except what  24 forum friends and regulars, who recommend all the time between themselves, put together under very circumscribed rules?

This was started in a spirit of typical cheeky fun and genuine desire to bring TGC up to date and open his mind to the possibilities he had missed out on. It was clear to all of us who had read his posts in general that he hadn't realised how vast fantasy had become during the years he had little chance or leisure to read. Jmack found a happy way to get him into the spirit and up to date.

Here are the rules for Gem Cutter's list


First From Jmack
Quote
Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« on: August 23, 2016, 10:49:01 PM »
Quote
Alright, Forum friends.
Nominations by Friday. Then I'll put the poll up. Or I might need help, since I have a wedding to attend all weekend.

Problem:
@The_Gem_Cutter is trapped in his garage working on his novel and needs a crash course in contemporary fantasy. (And yes, this is condescending and probably incorrect. But when did that ever stop us!)

Solution:
The usual suspects - and, well, everyone - need to create a five novel reading list for TGC.

Rules:
> This will be hard. No book published before the year 2000.
> Only first books in series, or stand alones.
> We won't put more than one book by any author on the list.
> Don't just think: "best book in last X years." Think "great example of modern fantasy."
> Must be kick-ass, can't put down stuff.
> @The_Gem_Cutter can look at the nominees and eliminate those he has already read (or watched at the movies or on TV).


Nominating:
> You are allowed TWO and only TWO nominations - and they must be new to this nominating list - but can second as many priors as you wish.
> Post to this thread with your nominations and seconds of prior nominations.
> Because I'm Captain Obvious
> Finally, you can make a negative second. That is, if you really think a prior nomination is a BAD IDEA for TGC, then you can cancel someone else's second. Heh heh.

My two nominations:
Scott Lynch: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Mark Lawrence: Prince of Thorns

Your turn!


Later from The Gem Cutter

Quote
Re: Nominations Please: 5 Novel Reading List for The Gem Cutter
« Reply #43 on: August 25, 2016, 04:24:32 AM »
Quote
Couple of caveats and provisos:
I've read the first Dresden files, Game of Thrones, most of the Assassin's Apprentice books and everything Joe Abercrombie has written (twice).
I ask you to consider stories featuring first person and sorcerer protags. I deeply fear similar works as I don't want to accidently clone anything.

« Last Edit: August 25, 2016, 04:27:0
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 01:37:36 AM by Lady_Ty »
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Offline Nora

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #67 on: November 30, 2016, 03:21:53 AM »
Unequality is a side effect of Life.
Humans aren't equal. We're not born equal, not raised equal. The wish to have a perfectly equalist society is an utopic dream I would probably not wish to see come true.

It's our disparity and differences that make us unique and desirable.
I've always found the whole gender equality business to be tackling the issue from bad angles. I'm all for lawful equality and the access to equal chances, opportunities at education, publication, what-have-you. Id call that fairness.
But as a 1m58 chick living for three years with a 1m90 dude, I was well aware of some basic inequalities. For the job of reaching on top shelves, you probably don't hire equally...

I think if any blame is to be handled, it's not to us, but to educative systems by and large. I think if you want to worry about fairness, then equality of gender in book recommendation is not the best horse to ride in battle with.

However if you feel so dearly about reading female authors and female protags, there are plenty of good lists out there (on goodreads too!) but sadly I don't share such feelings. I have no interest in reading more of one gender or another and don't think I'll change my way of thinking about that, and I don't care about reading female any more than male protags. I enjoy both, and find great women written by men and vice versa.
It is not my battle to fight, at least not on the recommendation side, and will not be made to feel like it is.
Each his own, I'm happy liking things by books, rather than by authors.


To add a hint of personal data here, I'm someone who listens to tracks, very rarely to albums, and almost NEVER to discographies. I do not know anything about musicians, I never google them up, I often don't know what they look like.
I'm an avid practitioner of browsing genres in YouTube and downloading songs individually. I'll look up more from the same artist, but will happily click other recommended videos and branch out. When I have a set of well working songs, I listen to them AD NAUSEAM. this can mean weeks of listening to the same 20min of the same sounds, folding back on themselves, everyday. Then I tire of one or two, or all these songs, and latch onto something else, rarely revisiting over-listened tracks.
Unless they're easy ambient stuff or die hard classics.

I don't care for singers, I've never had a single poster in my room walls, not for a disc or a hot singer. I've never been a groupie.
I'm the same with my books as my sounds : I don't give a damn who produces it, all I want is to loose myself in it, shelve the experience in my memory banks and move on. The author's work needs to be massively compelling for me to pursue it. I often don't finish series. Look at how I tackled Harris : I so loved Red Dragon, I'm still raving about it wherever I feel entitled to. The two other books of the trilogy fell in quality, so much so that I didn't pick the fourth. But I was still super impressed by red dragon. Did I go on to google Harris' work to find out what else he wrote around that time? No. I moved on.
I think I can count on my fingers the amount of authors whose bios I've read outside of schoolwork.
I don't even know where a dude like Neil Gaieman lives or comes from. What I know from Tolkien I've heard about in the films bonus discs.

So yeah. Maybe it'll explain why I care so little. All I want is fairness at the starting blocks. If people want to recommend me more guys, hard stuff! I mostly pick my books by the appeal of the blurb or the first pages, bite me.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 03:24:33 AM by Nora »
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Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Lanko

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #68 on: November 30, 2016, 03:53:30 AM »
Thinking about it, some things said here kinda of reminds me of when I studied about media perception enforced on us, the reality and other effects.

That the important thing isn't the information by itself, but the act of transforming it in knowledge. Think of information as bricks and knowledge as the building.

But where do we get those bricks? From other people and the media. Mostly the media.

However, the media offer us a kind of "tubular vision" of things. It's like we can only look to a part of reality it allows us to look, and in the way it wants us to interpret it.

The case in question was when the president of Philippines was deposed or something like that. He and his wife were to be judged in the US or in the UK. I don't remember the year.
The interesting part is that the media focused on taking pictures of the closet of the First Lady, giving enormous focus on her immense and incredible collection of shoes. Because of that focus and it being spread over and over, she became known worldwide as a futile woman only worried about shoes.
During her judgment (in which she was absolved) the newspapers sent reporters with the exclusive mission of taking photographs of her feet, so they could publish in their next editions which kind of shoe she was using.
Much to their frustration she used in every single jury session the same kind of shoes.

When she became aware of this fact, she told that Philippines has a vast amount of shoe factories, and every year, she received shoes or complete collections as gifts from them, because all of them wanted to say the First Lady of Philippines used their shoes.
She couldn't even use most of them (she used a pretty big number), but giving or throwing them away could create embarrassments with the government. So she simply stored them.

Despite the story being true, the biggest part of the population still holds the image of her as the media gave it to them for an immense of time: a futile person because she owns a big pile of shoes.

And now we have why SF/F and some other genres have less women authors. And for years, brick by brick, the media simply built a Babel tower and named it's floors "bias, machism, sexism" and plenty of other similar names and urged people to throw tomatoes at it.
I also thought for a time they were right, threw away my bricks and joined the crowd throwing tomatoes at the tower.

But one day you decide to walk somewhere else and see some new houses. Still pretty small, incomparable to the giant tower looming over everyone, but they had some different rooms and floors to explore. And you find out:

- Women works aren't disregarded or talked down as much as the media wants you to believe: They have half or almost half of the major awards, sometimes have most of the nominations and keep winning year after year.

- Some of the most popular genres (and that also make the most money) are dominated by women authors. Men are minority in them and apparently can't appear to what those audiences want as well as their female counterparts.

- Under representation may not be only due to bias, sexism, bigotry and the kind. Information from publishers and other sources show they simply might not have the same level of interest in some genres in the same proportion as their male counterparts.
Equality is beautiful to talk about, to theorize and imagine. It gets all the applauses and cheers. But theory and practice are different realities. When you have 100 submissions on a genre and 17 are from women and 83 are from men (or vice-versa) what one is supposed to do? One cannot talk about agency and them force 33 other women (or men) to write and submit stories so they can reach their magical number to fulfill their view on how the world should work.

- Thinking that women (or men) are under represented in certain genres only because of bias, sexism, bigotry and etc is an extremely biased and unhealthy view on the world.

- Some of the most successful and richest authors are also women. Rowling may even be the richest or the one who sold most books.

And then you return to the tower. You see the cracks in the bases that sustained it's structure for so much time.

The tower shakes.

For some it's an enlightening moment. But for others the change in perspective can be scary. What if the tower falls? What's gonna replace it? It's been there for so long... what's gonna happen when it's gone?

Then they stop throwing away their bricks... but they rush to repair the cracks, covering it with more bricks and even expanding the base even more so the tower doesn't fall.
They are too used at staring with the tower and throwing tomatoes at it, their legs too used at kicking the beaten horse day and night, with rain or sun that they can no longer use them to walk somewhere else and search new paths.

And if someone asks if they shouldn't let the tower collapse, the reaction is instant. They expiate their frustrations at it and believe it does something, they feel hurt and insulted at the suggestion.
The reason is simple: if they, or what they believe (or are led to believe) is hurt or insulted, or if they feel like victims, then they have someone else to blame, and in their view, they are no longer responsible for their failures or poor achievements.

They are no longer responsible for their job performance, for wanting to improve and to be the best they can be, and ultimately that will result in their overall failure (which they will, of course, blame on others), and this feeling is used to justify wrong-doings and to rationalize double standards.

It's also what other ill-intentioned people or demagogues use to get what they want, and ask you for your bricks, saying they know how to build the solution, when they in fact are building their throne above the clouds higher and higher.

No. Let the tower fall.

Let the beaten horse finally rot away.

Create a new building, with new rooms and corridors to explore, that may actually lead somewhere. "Why aren't they writing more in genre X?", "why X has more interest in writing or reading genre Y?", and so forth.

But you have to let the tower fall.
Slow and steady wins the race.

Lanko's Year in Books 2019

Offline cupiscent

Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #69 on: November 30, 2016, 04:50:13 AM »
Lady Ty, you make a very good point. TGC asked about women who weren't on his list, so that's why it was being discussed, but it certainly isn't emblematic of general recommendations because of its specific context. I certainly don't want in any way to jump on the people who made it. I don't want to jump on anyone!

Thinking that women (or men) are under represented in certain genres only because of bias, sexism, bigotry and etc is an extremely biased and unhealthy view on the world.

Absolutely. But asserting that gender bias, whether conscious or unconscious, has absolutely nothing to do with the representation of genders in any genre seems naive. And while there are many, many factors at play that we can do nothing or very little about, we can think about and gently challenge gender bias in ourselves and other readers.

So do we throw up our hands, say "Oh well, too many things that I can't control, why bother?" Or do we do what little we can to make the world just a tiny bit fairer?

Create a new building, with new rooms and corridors to explore, that may actually lead somewhere. "Why aren't they writing more in genre X?", "why X has more interest in writing or reading genre Y?", and so forth.

OK. So: why aren't we seeing more female authors on recommendation lists of speculative fiction?

Offline Roelor

Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #70 on: November 30, 2016, 10:28:43 AM »
Am I the only one who thinks gender is absolutely IRRELEVANT to what I suggest to others?
I recommend books that I like. If it happens to be written by a man. OK. If it happens to be written by a female. OK.

I don't care... It's about the story, right? Or is it about WHO wrote it?

I don't get this entire discussion as gender doesn't mean something is good or bad... It's just another extrapolated "social issue" that has to be discussed here?

Offline stevenpoore

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #71 on: November 30, 2016, 12:38:19 PM »
it *ought* to be irrelevant, i agree. But I find that if there's a list of say, ten best fantasy books of 2016 and you ask the author of that list why it's ten male authors on the list, he'll say "I don't think about gender". Which is why we still need to talk about gender. :)
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Offline Rostum

Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #72 on: November 30, 2016, 01:10:08 PM »
If you discriminate against ability you get mediocrity.

Quote
But I find that if there's a list of say, ten best fantasy books of 2016 and you ask the author of that list why it's ten male authors on the list, he'll say "I don't think about gender". Which is why we still need to talk about gender. :)

I would think you need to look at the criteria for how the list is determined. Is it based on sales, a popular vote or the authors personal choice. Would you like such a list to be balanced with 5 male and 5 female authors? Or would that be condescending, unfair and vaguely ridiculous in an adult environment?

From information earlier in this thread fewer female authors submit fantasy manuscripts. I don't know whether there is any difference in the percentage selected. Does this mean those authors have a higher chance of getting published or not?

 I do think the female authors getting categorized as YA is an issue. JK Rowling should dominate fantasy sales at the moment and I suspect most of the people buying her books are (now) in their late twenties to thirties.

Offline Roelor

Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #73 on: November 30, 2016, 02:27:31 PM »
it *ought* to be irrelevant, i agree. But I find that if there's a list of say, ten best fantasy books of 2016 and you ask the author of that list why it's ten male authors on the list, he'll say "I don't think about gender". Which is why we still need to talk about gender. :)

I completely disagree. We should judge people based on skill, not on gender and I find this a non-discussion because of it. If we have to seperate authors based on gender, you are actually saying that one, or the other is mentally more challenged than the other. Which is ofcourse not true. It's not a physical skill that is influenced by our different bodies. The skill is the same, the mind of both genders equally capable (assuming same intelligence etc) to produce likewise results.

I mean to say that if gender has NO influence on the end-product, it should NOT BE a discussion. This way you create unfair standards. Like: Well, she's a female so her story is less good, but cause she has to deal with "x" she still can get recognition. It's a like a pity price. It diminishes the achievements of existing writers, both male and female and I find that more offensive than a perceived "sexist" list.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 02:29:40 PM by Roelor »

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Do we recommend enough female authors when asked for recommendations
« Reply #74 on: November 30, 2016, 03:34:08 PM »
I completely disagree. We should judge people based on skill, not on gender and I find this a non-discussion because of it. If we have to seperate authors based on gender, you are actually saying that one, or the other is mentally more challenged than the other. Which is ofcourse not true. It's not a physical skill that is influenced by our different bodies. The skill is the same, the mind of both genders equally capable (assuming same intelligence etc) to produce likewise results.

I totally understand this thinking, and while I agree with your thoughts on equality, unfortunately, we're not yet at a point where it's realistic ... because, as with many other cases of discrimination, resetting the bar to "equal" still leaves the previously discriminated party in an unequal place.

Here's a metaphor. Imagine you have a male author and a female author running a 100 meter dash. Now imagine people have spent 50 years pushing the female author meter after meter back from the starting line. Now imagine that's changed, and most everyone has said "We should stop pushing female authors back from the starting line. Everyone is equal now!" Great! But because of all the time we spent pushing them backward, the female author is still sitting 82 meters behind the starting line.

So now, the male author and female author are allowed to run at equal speed, and considered equal in all respects. But the female author is still starting 82 meters back from the male.

*That's* why we still need to be conscious of if we are promoting female authors, and in some cases, even promote them more .... even if we strongly believe male and female authors are equal. This is a case of correcting for past discrimination. You can't make people unequal for a long time, then make them equal, without first reversing all the unequalness you heaped on them before.