Robin sent me this article on Why Can't an American Woman Write the Great American novel?
This article by Laura Miller is fascinating in coming back to something we mentioned on Galactic Suburbia from Joanna Russ's How to Suppress Women's Writing in talking about how in America, there is no class system, all women have to do their share of the housework so they have no time to write. And talking about how in England those women who did write came from better classes which had servants and so they had the time to write and not do as many domestic duties. So... class equality but not gender equality prevented American women from writing great classics.
And goes on to say:
... a writer's feeling of artistic power -- her authority -- has been there for the seizing, even if at times it's been almost impossible to lay hands on it, given the fog generated by our national myths, rigid ideas of the genders' innate capabilities and downright sexism. The difference between then and now lies just as much in the ability to get published and read, and in the economic factors, from book sales to teaching gigs to grants and fellowships, that permit a writer to support herself in her chosen vocation. Francine Prose, in that Harper's essay a decade ago, argued that the prestige awarded by critics and prize committees is crucial in securing these supports for literary writers (as opposed to commercial and genre writers), and they are still distributed unfairly.
Karen Miller often sends me cool stuff. Here was an article in Jezebel called Why Books by Women Aren't Serious and comes back to the discussion on how men's work is higher values:
What Weiner and Picoult are talking about is something any female writer or reader is probably familiar with: the When A Dude Writes It, It's Serious phenomenon. Explains Weiner,
I think it's a very old and deep-seated double standard that holds that when a man writes about family and feelings, it's literature with a capital L, but when a woman considers the same topics, it's romance, or a beach book - in short, it's something unworthy of a serious critic's attention.
There are really two problems at work here. One is the consistent devaluing of women's experiences (a woman's "domestic fiction" is a man's "sweeping family saga;" a woman's "self-absorption" is a man's "moving memoir"). The other, though, is the persistent and pernicious need to identify what is and isn't serious. The whole term "literary fiction" seeks to exclude science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, and yes, chick lit from the category of Things Smart People Should Read
And skirts around the question of why women are expected to relate to an engage with male protagonists but it's perfectly obvious that men can't relate to women and don't have to.
And a second article by way of Karen: On Invisibility, Gender and Publishing.
Perhaps, over the course of the next few years, decades, lifetimes, we, as women writers and readers (Fact: women readers outnumber men, the NEA report on reading from 2008, Reading on the Rise, notes that women readers account for 58 percent of adult literary readers) will decolonize ourselves, find a way to overthrow the literary patriarchy that overlooks, and at times outright smothers women's literary expression and cultural production, and celebrate that we create more than just the bodies that populate the planet.
...we'll argue that it shouldn't be chick lit v. literary lit. that there isn't a lack of female talent, or an overabundance of frivolity, but, rather, question why the spout is so narrow. Why are the stories we tell, from science fiction to kitchen table drama, not purchased, reviewed and promoted in the same ways that men's writing is?
This article is an interesting piece responding to that Publisher's Weekly Best Of that had no women in it and their response to the criticism of that.
On an optical level, invisibility works by bending the light pointed at an object. The object doesn't disappear, atoms dispersing and separating to let light pass through it, but, rather, deflects light to the objects behind it, allowing them to reflect back at the viewer.