What do you think??
I shall be honest here: I really haven’t made up my mind because there are pros and cons, and both are persuasive.
- I think most people agree there are quite a few male readers out there who won’t read female authors.
- Conversely, there are probably almost no female readers who turn down a book just because it’s written by a man.
- So, should a woman writer use a male or androgynous pseudonym in order to increase her sales?
- Or should she stick to her feminist guns, use a female name, and say: “I’ll show ’em!” so that these prejudiced male readers finally realise being a woman has little to do with writing a readable book? (But…then they’ll never read it…)
That’s the first way of “hiding” one’s gender…and basically it has to do with money and reaching a wider audience. It also has to do with getting published at all. If your sales are too slim, the publisher won’t pick up your next book. Publishing is a business, folk. Shouldn’t we do whatever we can to sell? (Too late for me…I am committed to my female name, partly because at the time it never crossed my mind that there were 20th century men who wouldn’t read women writers!!)
The second concealment of women writers is – some say – by others…
- There has been a great deal of blogging over the years about the lack of novels written by women up for major literary prizes, or short stories written by women accepted for anthologies. Numerous reasons have been given for this and possibly the real reason is a combination of factor all playing a parts: fame, subject matter, prejudice, more male judges, more male writers, … Perhaps more male judges/editors in the past have regarded “female” family or domestic issues as less worthy when compared to larger “male” issues. This of course presupposes that women don’t write so much about large issues and men writers avoid domestic issues.
- So, should there be prizes just for “women’s” fiction, i.e. by women writers? Such as the Orange Prize?
No! That implies women aren’t as good as males, worthy of competing for the “real” literary prizes, like the Man Booker! Yes! There should be separate prizes for women’s fiction in order to get the recognition women deserve for both their issues and their writing! Otherwise we won’t be aware of their top-notch work…
So what do you think?
Comment here and/or answer on the two poll questions in the sidebar…