Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Publishing World: Women v. Men.

I got my monthly Creative Nonfiction newsletter today, the main story was on gender disparities in magazine publishing. I clicked on the story that started this discussion, an article listed on Vida called "The Count", which shows graft after graft of Women v. Men magazine statistics.

Of course it is pretty much like I expected. Men dominate this field just like any other arts field.

But I'm reminded of this TED talk video I watched a week or so ago on "Social Media and the End of Gender" by Johanna Blakley.

And, though I am appalled that there is still so much of a difference between female and male published writers (not to mention race etc.) I don't feel discouraged (okay, maybe a little bit) but I am also hopeful. Blakely talks about social media sites ending gender because women now have better control over their selections in what they want. They no longer are divided by demographics but by taste, and most women have better taste than male-led advertisers and hollywood exec would have us believe.

With this I believe change is rapidly going to occur not just in social media but in print media as well. Half if not more of print readers are women. If we write for our audience, which is what print media is about, we must keep women's taste in mind, and who better to write articles women would enjoy then, well, women.

Also women are going in droves to universities and soon they are going to be replacing some of these men in high-end editorial jobs. I would say women accounted for about 85 to 95% of the population in all of my Writing and Publishing classes.

They are going into the workforce more experienced, assertive, and confident about getting these types of jobs. And once they have these jobs I would hope they would do a better job selecting a variety of different writers, not just women, not just men, but all types of people with different backgrounds, religions, races, sexualities, etc. as long as they're good writers. (though current editors should already be doing this.)

I know there are plenty of good writers out there. Some of them have unique styles, interesting voices, strange structures, but if we give them a chance we may discover we actually like all of this variety. We may discover that the standard story is a good story but there are a plethora of others that are just as good if not better. And of course, we may find out that women are just as capable of writing good stories as men. But we kind of already know that, don't we?

I truly believe that in a short time these disparities will be fixed. But we can't just sit around and wait, we have to let people know what we want.

And if we're women writers we have to keep writing. Keep reading. Keep trying.

We'll even it all out, we'll land in our favorite magazines very soon.

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