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Male vs Female

Excerpt from the letters page in last weeks Adelaide Advertiser:Advertiser letter

The scales are weighted against women’s books in the same way they are for women’s films, in that men won’t go to chick flicks any more than they will read a book written by a woman. However, women will read books by men and see blokey movies. – Virginia Taylor

Phil: Is Virginia right?  Will men only read a book written by a man?

The publishing industry certainly thinks so. It’s why Jo Rowling became JK Rowling. George Elliot also suffered the same way many years earlier.

I’d like to think we have moved on, even in Australia. I’ve no problem with the sex of an author but then perhaps this isn’t really the issue. It’s more to do with the look of the book and the genre it is published in.

I’d suspect that while they might not mind the content, most men wouldn’t be comfortable with the pink and frilly covers wrapped around the contents. I’ve certainly been there!

Sadly though, Ms Taylor is arguing for separate male and female literary competitions and here I think she is wrong. In a competition, the judges should be adult enough to ignore the writers gender. Ideally, they shouldn’t know the name at all so the decision is made entirely on the plot and story.

We both hope to be judged on our writing merits. While we’re going to sit on the fertile, and crowded, chick-lit shelves, let’s hope that once his wife or girlfriend has finished chuckling along to our plot, the macho man can put down the mammoth he has single-handedly brought home from the hunt, turn down the testosterone and just enjoy a good, funny, read.

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