Women, Men And Fiction:
Notes On How Not To Answer Hard QuestionsListen to the Story
Nothing is more vexing than a question where 10 percent of the public discussion is spent trying to answer it and 90 percent is spent arguing about whether it matters.
Such is the question of why, in many major publications, far more books by men are reviewed than books by women. Probably the best-known set of statistics comes from an organization called VIDA (Women in the Literary Arts), which has created a feature called "The Count." That feature consists of pie charts that track the number of women and men both doing the reviewing and being reviewed. For instance, in 2011, they found that The New York Review Of Books reviewed 71 female authors and 293 male authors. In The New York Times, it was 273 women and 520 men.
Those in power, sometimes unaware of their privilege, are the ones who question whether this list and these activities matter. In our very gender-ed social culture, that's men.