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The argument ... in pieces

I probably should have waited till I had all the bits of the maths in my hands and not said anything in advance. My intention is not to sit and point at men and say how much they suck and how sexist they are. Or how sexist male editors are - that's not remotely interesting to me as an argument. A lot of my closest friends are male editors (heh) and it's not the point, you know? I don't think male editors look at names and dismiss female authors. I don't think they set out to only like stories written by men. That's a boring position in the argument to take.

I blogged my comments earlier because I was looking at the big name overseas markets, many of which struggle to hit 25% female authorship across a bunch of issues in a single year. I was depressed because that's not a lot of places for female writers to be competing with and doesn't leave many spots for new female writers to break in. For new voices to be heard.

My argument was going to be more looking at the business model. Taking into consideration the drop in circulation of the top mags, I thought I would look into various stats. Here's the thing, they struggle to publish women. It's possible that then, they also struggle to appeal to female readers. If you look at the last two publishing phenonemona that swept the world - JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyers - the one thing you can't deny --> they sell. The other thing you'll note is that women read. Two somewhat important factors, I would think, when looking at markets. If it were me, I'd want to look into why those sold and how I can get a piece of the action.

What's interesting to me is that the female audience is never ever (at least publicly) considered. It's not even allowed to be openly discussed without defensive males (editors) jumping up and down and telling you it's not a problem. But what if it IS? What if declining readership could be correlated to declining or low numbers of stories appealing to female readers? Why wouldn't you look at your product and see what market you want or could target it to?

It seems to me, that female writers tend to write female stories - not always, and not necessarily overtly or through only using female protagonists. But ... can men really argue that they write so well that they can write *for* women and thus we don't need to give voice and page space to them in order to hear what they have to say? For me, it's not about needing gender equality in ToCs to show that we're all fair and equal or that sexism is dead. It's actually about there being products out there that appeal to ME, that are made with ME in mind and that give voice to issues and concerns that affect ME. And I don't think you can effectively argue that magazine and anthology after magazine and anthology that only print stories written by white men can do that.

You might not care. You might not want to produce that kind of product. And I don't have to pay for products like that. But the thing is? When I look around at what I have actually handed cash over for lately? It's novels written by women. I used to subscribe to several mags - online and print. And I used to hunt others down in the newsagent. But the truth is, they bored me and they felt like a waste of money for me because I am clearly not the target audience. So when you talk about declining circulations and you wonder why, why not ask around and why not take notice of the answers? Because I am included in many of those stats for readers taking their money elsewhere.


Jan. 11th, 2009 01:06 pm (UTC)
I think you are defensive rather than interested.
Jan. 11th, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC)
That's the feeling I get too.

Russ, you *do* shut down conversations about gender - you did it to me in front of a panel when you did your great big survey a few years back, and I just don't bother to try any more.

The reason I think you're not interested is because a) you keep telling GJ what SHE should do, b) you keep being defensive about stuff and c) you don't HAVE to find out about it.

Jan. 12th, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)
>That's the feeling I get too.
Whereas I've read his comments as being supportive, constructive, and interested in the issue. I find it odd to see that others are reading his comments completely differently.

Is he being read as being offensive and controlling because his comments are blunt and to the point?

Jan. 12th, 2009 10:18 pm (UTC)
Re: >That's the feeling I get too.
No, I'm reading the offensiveness in... well, for example, the title of his post "Because it's starting up again..." which is instantly going to annoy any one who thinks the issue is important or worth discussing, his leaping to assume that GJ is out to get him, the fact he is so fast to suggest GJ do some reading when he doesn't even listen respectfully or do the most basic of reading about the issue, his leaping to defensiveness when really, no one said he'd done anything wrong, ...

Russell is doing a great job with Ticon4 but then he also wanted a cookie for it - damn, I can't find the bit where he asked for a cookie because he's publishing so many women - you don't get a cookie for doing a good job. I'm pleased and grateful he does a good job, but you don't get a cookie for not being a crim either, you don't get a cookie for being a nice and well adjusted person, and you don't get a cookie for treating women like human beings.

Ssee, random comment from him: was not intending to attack your piece. All I wanted to do is get out the bit about ticon before any online witch-hunt occurred. I do get sensitive when tarred with the sexist brush. I'm not looking to shut anyone down.

Why did he think there was going to be a witchhunt? Why did he think it was going to be for him? How are we supposed to see our discussion an important issue as being supportive and constructive when he thinks it's all a witch hunt?

I'm not here to explain to him or any one else why it's not a witch hunt. There's plenty of much more patient places which can do that. I'm not good at explaining this sort of thing.

Why does he think GJ should do all the research, and then go back to him to prove it? It makes me so angry because it's such a common thing. People always do this to other people, and then sit back feeling Ok about it because - well, they asked for info, didn't they? (Not that I'm saying that's what Russ was doing, I'm just explaining why it makes me cranky).

Having said all that, let me reiterate once again that Russ does a fantastic job on Ticon, but for some reason he thinks that feminist critique is a witchhunt and out to get him. It's not. It's out to critique things, it's out to critique the society we live in, and it's a hope that if we can deconstruct what's going on about us right now that we like or don't like, then we can forge a better future. When he can not get so emotionally involved so immediately then maybe I believe he is more open to discussion, but since I tend not to discuss this sort of stuff anyway, it doesn't make a difference.

I didn't see his comments as blunt or to the point. I think I was too busy watching the emotional rollercoaster and wondering how to get off. I don't think some of his messages are bad, I just think he delivered them extremely badly.

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