Thursday, June 16, 2011

Turn-on/off: A new boys club, and Don't treat F-word like F-bomb, respectively

This week's turn-on: this article by Stacy May Fowles at The Walrus, on gender inequality in lit mags. (Wait, that's in issue? That's in the news lately, for real??) "Since literary publications so often struggle with gender disparity, in their contributor lists and mastheads, in the books they review and the viewpoints they include, why don’t men who consider themselves allies to equality simply refuse publication?" (idea adopted, as Fowles cites, from an article in Good Magazine) YES. She also trots out all the beyond-cliche, echo chamber questions—"Is feminism dead? Is feminism obsolete? Is women's writing different from men's writing?"—and rightly calls them "gag-worthy." YES.

We hereby propose a new boys club, the first commandment of which is, Thou Shalt Not Pay Lip Service to a Problem Thou Continuest to Silently and Self-Servingly Be a Part of. (Fowles asks why men don't do this, at which we snorted a bit because well, duh, if you get a free cupcake everywhere you go, are you going to eat the cupcakes or are you going to throw them back at the cupcake-givers? We <3 food metaphors.)

Dudes who publish, who are in a position to do so ("writers who have the liberty, the privilege, and the means to publish where they like"), should turn down publication by orgs that don't demonstrate a commitment to busting gender inequality. Period. God(dess), the very thought has us all hot and less-bothered-than-normal...

However...Fowles article ends thusly: "Ultimately, what editors and publishers do with their own magazines — whether they choose to deliberately publish women as an attempt to combat sexism, or keep taking on what they refer to as 'the best writing' regardless of gender — is their own business." NOOOOOOO. So close, gf! It's OUR business. All of ours. Make some nooooooooooise. Which leads us to...

This week's turn-off: also courtesy of Fowles' article, we learned that Granta just did a "special issue" (like, special needs?) called The F-Word. (cue theme from Jaws) Feminism. Isn't that clever, feminism as a dirty word? Oh wait, that's been done, yes. Well, isn't it Alanis-style ironic then? No, wait, that isn't right either... Well, it's something. Something unsettling. Something that perpetuates the very thing the issue/mag seems to be purporting to combat. Because the issue is 100% comprised of women writers. But that's great, right? Sure, if you like to see brilliant (and the writing is brilliant) writing by women shepherded into a contained area where it won't get into trouble and can play nice with those just like it. Once a year. While the rest of the time, Granta publishes something like "twenty-six women to forty-nine men overall" in 2010 (Fowles). Yay, feminism. All dried up over here, how about ya'll?

Perhaps, you'll say, we're just relinking to convos already gettin' around on the web. That we're just regurgi-blogging. Sure. Ok.

Could be because we're sick to our stomachs and tired of throwing up in our mouths.

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