It’s idiotic to blame a whole gender, isn’t it?
Well, OK, let’s do it…
Even animals can count.
Humans, one would think, would be a little more savvy at interpreting data.
We’ve seen the latest raw numbers, in which male reviewers far outnumber female reviewers, and this should make a woman’s blood boil. The whole tribe of women should be deeply offended.
Do you feel it? As a tribe?
The latest figures:
Males out-number females in book reviewing: Harper’s: 28-3, New Republic: 79-9, London Review: 210-66, Times Literary Supplement: 814-340, Atlantic: 16-4, New Yorker: 138-58, Paris Review: 6-1, New York Review of Books: 215-40.
Not to make a big deal of this, but these are all liberal/left publications.
So what the hell is going on?
Are left/liberals sexist?
Ingrained sexism exists. It does. But to say this doesn’t solve anything.
Should a magazine present content based on gender alone? Is it feasible for editors to go out looking for women writers—just because they happen to be women? Is this really going to happen? We cannot help but think that, in reality, in any sort of consistent manner, it will not. This is not a solution, and anyone who offers it as one, is being condescending, at best.
We need to move beyond VIDA outrage and take a closer look at the possible causes of these numbers.
We have a crime, so let’s look at the editors/publishers and cast about for a motive.
Is the following male guilt issue what’s really going on among these liberal/left editors?
“I reject this view because it is a woman’s view.” Or, worse: “I reject this article for the sole reason that it is by a woman.”
We need to embrace this—or not. Because if we embrace it, (liberal) males are guilty as hell.
Do we embrace it? In 2013, do we embrace this?
You’re probably wondering when we are going to arrive at the point we made at the top: “Are Women To Blame?”
We will get to that in a minute, but first we wanted to express outrage at the raw numbers and ask the vital VIDA question: is this the primary cause of these numbers: liberal editors are rejecting work by women because it is women’s work?
Or, is it closer to the truth that less women are reviewing books—and why would this be so?
Could it be…could it be…that there are less women authors in history (because of past injustice) and so naturally less women are reviewed?
The VIDA numbers demonstrate this: male authors reviewed outnumber female authors reviewed by a similar percentage to male v. female reviewers.
Women, fighting against VIDA prejudice and championing their own, are less likely to review male authors.
Now the horrible truth flashes upon us. If men are more willing to review women and, at the same time, women are less willing to review men, does not this simple fact alone go a long way towards expressing itself in VIDA’s raw numbers?
Are women, acting in a manner ostensibly benefiting their tribe, in fact, hurting it?
Holy Counter-Intuition, Batman!
We also need to ask, and VIDA should look into this: What’s the statistical breakdown of gender in scholarship? Are women restricted by being less widely represented, expertise-wise, in scholarly subjects, as a larger proportionate chunk of women, for instance, pursue “women’s studies”—thus narrowing their appeal to editors who need to fill out their magazines’ content?
One VIDA lesson might be: Never take narrow views—even when following the seductive sirens of social justice—because, in the long run, you will only hurt your cause.
Finally, on a different note, has anyone broken down the VIDA numbers in terms of gay v. straight? What if it turned out the female count was actually higher than the straight male count? Would this matter at all? Would this make the numbers a little less outrageous? Or no?