Monday, March 25, 2013

Women and men (one last time)


Two things.

First of all: Ryan left a very interesting comment on my previous post about women and men, rightly referencing something that, in retrospect, is a huge oversight from my post. Namely, he had a problem with how the differences between men and women reviewers could be so far from the proportions of men and women book bloggers (and in general, men and women readers), where women do not merely triumph but dominate.

Though my book blogger statistics are several years out of date by now (and I will now publicly, and subtly mention that I would love the chance to do them again, but perhaps with some help this time so that the statistics actually get published), there is one finding in them that I have no doubt in my mind remains fairly constant - women book bloggers outnumber men by a wide margin. Essentially, among non-professional (or, more accurately, non-print-publication) book reviewers, there is a more predictable, reasonable spread of women/men when compared to the actual reading statistics - because surveys of who reads more (men or women) consistently show that women read more, and they read significantly more fiction. How is this not better represented in the publishing and reviewing industries?

I wish I had an answer for this. My gut tells me that women do fairly well in online publications, which will probably never factor in VIDA's stats. My gut also tells me that regardless, this clear slant against women is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with seriously (and not in a reactionary fashion).

The second thing I wanted to point out is this set of numbers crunched from specifically sci-fi/fantasy book blogs. Lady Business looked at a small sampling of blogs (written by both men and women), and analyzed how many books they reviewed by women, and how many they reviewed by men. The results are quite interesting, but I would describe them as somewhat skewed - surprisingly, in favor of women. For example, the general stat says that reviews of books by women make up 42%. Looking a bit deeper, however, I realized that one book blog specifically reviewed women writers almost exclusively. No surprise, then, that the numbers came out so high.

I really recommend reading the whole post, as well as many of the comments. It's really interesting to see the way readers view their own imbalances and preferences, as well as how they plan to change (or not change) their habits. Some food for thought.

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