The Appearance of Women Writers in Magazines

Photo courtesy of Slate.com

In a recent article at Slate, Meghan O’Rourke (a former literary editor of the current affairs and culture magazine) helps bring to light the ratios of female writers to male that appear in literary magazines. The article, entitled “Women at Work,” features information compiled by VIDA, an organization created to address the need for female writers to become involved in discussing the critical reception of women’s creative writing in contemporary culture. Here is an excerpt of the article displaying a portion of said ratios:

“The New York Review of Books possessed the most skewed ratio, having published 462 pieces by men to 79 by women, or about 5.9 to 1. The New Yorker and the Atlantic and Harper’s all had ratios ranging from 2.6 to 3.6 to 1. VIDA didn’t subject Slate to its bean-counting, but last fall, Slate Books Editor Ann Hulbert did an in-house analysis. During that time, Slate had published reviews of nine novels by women and 25 by men—for a ratio of about 2.8 to 1.”

O’Rourke offers a few possibilities as to why the ratios are uneven, such as “women send fewer pitch letters to editors than men” or “the gatekeepers at publishing houses buy more books by men than women,” while making it clear that despite these possible reasons, the issue still deserves further exploration and discussion. You can read her full article here.

We would like to know your thoughts on the matter. Feel free to post in our comments section and get your own discussion going! Be safe and warm, BSU, and don’t forget to see Circus in Winter this weekend at the Muncie Civic Theatre!

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