Two recent news controversies have come up surround women and writing. In one, famed author V.S. Naipaul opined that women write feminine tosh, and no female writer is his equal.
From the Guardian:
The author, who was born in Trinidad, said this was because of women’s “sentimentality, the narrow view of the world”. “And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too,” he said.
What a dick.
How was that, Naipaul? Girly enough for you?
The Guardian also set up a quiz, in which it asked readers to guess whether a particular passage was by a male or female author. I got a whopping 3 out of 10, in which the Guardian quiz asked, “what are you, a girl or something?” which I thought was pretty clever. Cheeky, those Guardian ink-stained wretches.
The other controversy was the list of best science fiction novels as picked by Guardian readers.
However, according to Seattle-based author Nicola Griffith, who did a bit of number-crunching on the stats, there’s an overwhelming bias towards male authors.
“I scanned the Guardian comments – yes, all of them – and counted only 18 women’s names. Eighteen. Out of more than 500,” she wrote in a blogpost at the weekend. “The ratio of women to men is 1:24. About 4%. I’m quite aware of gender bias in literature but this ratio, frankly, shocked me …
So why is it, in a forward-thinking genre like science fiction, that readers can’t think of more than EIGHTEEN women authors Really? REALLY?
And this comes back to what I have noticed as a part of the genre I love so well. The science fiction community is filled with a huge number of bright, highly knowledgeable, intelligent, opinionated, thought-provoking human beings, the male examples of which are a bunch of sexist jerks. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love these guys. But for the love of Christ, really?
ANNE FUCKING MCCAFFREY.
Guys listen to me: You know you loved the Dragonriders series. But probably you refuse to think of it as the best, because there’s sex and female heroes. And dragons that people get to ride. And male heroes that have emotional lives.
And this brings me back to V.S. Naipaul. After he dies, I know we are going to find a copy of Little Women in his personal effects, and it’s going to be tear-stained on the pages where Beth dies.
Because men do read books by women. They read science fiction by women. They just don’t admit it, because they believe, like Naipaul believes, that it’s not important. Or best. Or has anything to say.
Apparently V.S. Naipaul and the rest believe that if a man likes a book by a woman, everyone knows his dick falls off. And we’re supposedly the irrational sex. Right.