Feminism in the Literary World

This blog, in case you haven’t noticed yet dear readers, was started by two women—Melanie Figueroa and, well, me. Most of our contributors, both past and present, have also been female. We’re all concerned with women’s issues in politics and often have discussions on how frightening some of the issues facing women are, such as state’s placing restrictions on women’s reproductive rights to Darren Sharper being able to rape seven women before he faced any charges.

The world of male dominance doesn’t end at the political or social spheres of our world, but leaks into the literary world as well. VIDA.com is dedicated to counting. What does it count? Well, it counts women in the literary industry, since 2009, and reports on how women are doing, number wise.

Some numbers are encouraging, like the fact that more women are writing for magazines now than ever before overall, but some are saddening, like seventy-five percent or more of the writers at The Atlantic, London Review of Books, New Republic, The Nation, New York Review of Books, and New Yorker being men.

So what? Some might ask. Well, so a lot of things, actually.

There’s nothing wrong with male writers, but, as we see in our political sphere, the disproportionate amount of men representing women just doesn’t seem to work. Men can write about women, but can they accurately unravel the complicated nature of women’s sexuality? Slate.com’s Amanda Hess writes about the difficulties men face when they take on the task.

We need more women in the literary world because women need to have a voice within society, and literature is a reflection of the society and times the work is written in. If our society doesn’t allow women to integrate into our government or have our voices heard in the literary magazine world, then we should do something about it. Siri Hustvedt tackles the complicated modern practice of subtle sexism in her novel, The Blazing World.

Other female writers have been tackling sexism and where the road will take us for years, like The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath or The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. There are other outlets for female equality as well, such as Tumblrs dedicated to the question “Who Needs Feminism?” to websites such as EverydayFeminism.com.

If our voices can’t be heard in our government, then we can take our voices to books and magazines. If our voices can’t find a home there, we can go to blogs and make websites. If our voices start to stifle there, then we’ll have to do it the old fashioned way and take our voices to the streets.

Women deserve equality, and women’s voices deserve to be heard, both in the political and literary world.


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