I’m officially on vacation! YAY! Until January 4, 2010. It seems like such a long time away but I’m sure it will go by so quickly.
So, this is old news – it came out in the beginning of November – but I missed it so I want to talk about it now. The story is that Publisher’s Weekly released its Top 10 books of 2009 last month and none of the books were written by women. There was a lot of backlash against Publisher’s Weekly because of it. The organization Women in Letters and Literary Arts (WILLA) spearheaded the backlash by pointing to various books written by women that were worthy of placement on the list – including Margart Atwood’s Year of the Flood (which I reviewed here). In response, WILLA launched its own list: Top Books Written by Women in 2009.
I, unusually for me I think, have mixed feelings about something like this. I say unusually because I usually have very strong feelings about things relating to gender, things relating to sexism and genderism, etc. Yes, I think it’s wrong that no women’s works were on the list and it upsets me because I don’t know what factors were considered in determining what books go onto the list. There isn’t a whole lot of transparency and so sexism can’t be excluded. And let’s face it, just because someone says that they weren’t sexist doesn’t necessarily make it so. We’ve learned over the years how to make it subtle (just think “But I have friends that are ___________” – add in Black, Asian, female etc.). So, I don’t think that based upon the article the sexism bit can be excluded. And that bothers me. No, it pisses me off.
The proposed resolution was to create a list of just women. And there are two sides to this – you have to celebrate women and just women because they’ve been wronged and excluded and this is just a way to a. celebrate and promote awareness of the great literature that women write and b. equalize the inequalities. I am totally for the first one. Literature written by women can be just as wonderful as that written by men. It can also be just as awful. But the fact of the matter is that it needs to be promoted and needs to be out there. I’m still not quite sure what I think about the second. Which is ironic because I went to a women’s college – a college that afforded me opportunities and has afforded women only opportunities way back when women were very limited in where they could go to school and what they could study. Is it just an extension of separate but equal? What do you think?
On another note, I reviewed Amateur Barbarians by Robert Cohen here. Enjoy!