Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gender and Genre

Many female writers, especially those who write and publish 'genre' fiction, use their initials rather than their first name.

This is because many male readers are unlikely to pick up a book by a woman, even if the cover, synopsis, etc, clearly indicate that it is not 'chick-lit'.

Fiction isn't the only place this bias occurs. When it comes to scientific journals as well, people pay more respect to articles written by people whose first name is male, or those with initials, than those with a female first name. Even though scientific studies are subject to the same rigour regardless of who submits them for peer review or publication.

I can understand that most guys don't want to read about shopping and shoes. In fact I'm very sympathetic - I don't want to read about shopping and shoes either. But it's the pastel pink colour of the cover that gives these contents away, not whether the author is a man or woman.

So why are men so reluctant to take work seriously if it's by a woman?

In case you're interested, by the way - I don't do this because I don't have a middle name, so no middle initial! That, and the fact that if I actually do well for myself as a writer, I want to make damn sure all the begrudgers and old school bullies etc know exactly who it is who has done so well for herself.

4 comments:

Lee Hughes said...

I have no qualms about reading genre fiction by a woman as long as she's not neglecting her husband and all the washing up is done before doing the writing.


*Ducks and runs*

No seriously, I don't know why that sort of thing bother's folk. I find that female writers are usually more violent and gory in their books, which is great, no pussy-footing around.

Em said...

I only use my initials because my full name sounds crap!

() said...

You might find this interesting: http://www.irosf.com/q/zine/article/10049

Joleen said...

The gender genie keeps telling me I'm male!