As part of Women’s History Month, a Cleveland, Ohio bookstore decided to turn all inventory of male-authored books spine IN, effectively “silencing” them for several days.
[bctt tweet=”Fewer than 40% of the titles were written by women.” username=”AndreaPatten”]
The project took ten people more than two hours to complete and, when they were done, fewer than 40% of the titles remained visible: 3700 of 10000 bookstore titles were written by women. It reminds me of a recent conversation about museums: that it’s far easier for women to get into a museum as an artist’s subject than as an artist. It also wasn’t too long ago I learned that a certain fairly accomplished
dinosaur – oops I mean editor just “won’t read” fiction by women. Excuse me? It’s as if seeing women’s words on a page is going to cost him $.22 on the dollar?
[bctt tweet=”Will seeing women’s words on a page cost him $.22 on the dollar?” username=”AndreaPatten”]
I don’t often pay close attention to such things but I recently watched an author promote his new non-fiction offering with a blog post about “life-changing books.” He had a long list –without a single female author on it. For some reason, it got under my skin.
I can’t imagine my reading history without all the amazing female authors who have been a part of my life. I was a shy kid who read a lot. My imagination was captured by Astrid Lindgren’s feisty Pippi Longstocking and, as a sometimes farm girl, I was intrigued by Marguerite Henry’s powerful horses. And as I grew older? Who could fail to be moved by Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath?
And as an adult? I’m all over the place. I’m fortunate to be connected with a wonderful group of local writers. Terri Clements Dean writes non-fiction that highlights the way people learn and grow. Start with Traveling Stories. If you’re trying to sort something out? You might want to pick up the companion journal.
[bctt tweet=”I can’t imagine my reading history without amazing women authors.” username=”AndreaPatten”]
Books have brought me a number of wonderful women as mentors. Almost anything by Anne Lamott speaks to me, especially Bird by Bird. Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way helps me take the space I need to write.
With such an amazing array from which to choose, can you think of any reasonable reason that women are so under-represented on library and bookstore shelves?
Let’s speak up. Please use the comment space to shout out about your favorite female authors.
This post was originally part of a “Favorite Books” blog hop with some author-sister-friends. The links below are other posts on the topic.