giandujakiss: (Default)
giandujakiss ([personal profile] giandujakiss) wrote2010-01-12 10:17 am
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I'm not into science fiction, I know nothing about publishing, and I've never read Realms of Fantasy

But that doesn't stop me from having an opinion.

So I gather there's a thing going on about how Realms of Fantasy announced it was doing an issue devoted to women writers, and immediately found itself in an imbroglio by announcing the submission guidelines in patronizing terms.

After skimming through the above-linked linkspam, this well-meaning post caught my eye:
The announcement by Realms of Fantasy it wil do a ‘Women in Fantasy” issue has opened up another round of discussion about how the under-representation of female writers in some short fiction markets can be addressed. The announcement that their August 2011 issue will feature fiction, non-fiction and art by female writers has set off a fairly wide-ranging discussion.

There’s not a lot of great data on this out there but I suspect some of the under-representation problem - though far from all - is a flow-through issue. Part of the reason female writers are under-represented in various anthologies and magazines may be that they are under-represented in the number of submissions.

And this is where I’m mostly interested in - and supportive of - the move from Realms. Announcing the issue so far in advance should encourage more female writers to submit. Hopefully that might go beyond just one issue but only time will tell.
This is a fairly common response to accusations of gender disparity in ... well, anything. It's always that women don't apply, women aren't interested, qualified women aren't in the pool.

And I know nothing about publishing in general or science fiction publishing in particular, but as we saw recently with respect to the Eclipse anthology, it's a fair bet that it's not immune to the forces that govern ... well, every other aspect of life. Namely, the "pool" you're picking from is a biased one. People publish their friends; people solicit stories from their friends. People mention to their friends what they're looking for, and remind them of deadlines. And when the editors are male, their author-friends will be, too.

So I don't really have a lot of faith in the knee-jerk response of "but there were no women to choose from!" Because it implies that reaching out to women authors is necessary to get women interested, or something, instead of necessary to counterbalance the existing outreach that is directed only to men, except that it's called networking, not male outreach.
cee_m: (Default)

[personal profile] cee_m 2010-01-12 03:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Honestly, so many of the gender issue things in publishing make me insane. I know this is random, but why couldn't Harry Potter have been a girl? Because then boys won't read the book... bleh.

Anyhoozer, I agree. I know more female writers than male by far and I don't see how anyone could say that they aren't qualified or talented enough to be accepted into an anthology. Think outside your own tiny little box, people!
cofax7: climbing on an abbey wall  (Default)

[personal profile] cofax7 2010-01-12 04:56 pm (UTC)(link)
What complicates the matter even more is that RoF, for all its problems (oh, the covers), regularly publishes plenty of women. Women are not underrepresented in fantasy publishing (although I hear rumors that they are having trouble getting published in epic fantasy). The hard SF side of the field, however, is less evenly distributed, gender-wise.

So RoF doing a women writers only issue doesn't really serve much function in the greater scheme of things--they're unlikely to find new talent or break down any glass ceilings. Claiming they're being Oh So Progressive is just disengenuous.

yhlee: wax seal (clue spork)

[personal profile] yhlee 2010-01-12 07:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Although I obviously don't have access to slush pile stats (I've slushed for a speculative fiction semiprozine, but that was years ago), I really, really, REALLY do not believe that women are underrepresented in the slush pile in fantasy. (I'd believe it of hard sf, as [personal profile] cofax7 mentions.) If Realms of Fantasy wants to (continue to) encourage submissions from female writers, this is not the way to do it.

(spork for their approach, not for you)
coffeeandink: (Default)

[personal profile] coffeeandink 2010-01-12 11:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Their assistant editor (and the person responsible for the submissions guidelines) has been notably hostile to discussions of institutional sexism online and has been accused of demonstrating sexist bias. I didn't include it in the write-up because I didn't have time to find the links for it. But it's possibly a PR move. It's also possibly a desperation move to entice more female readers -- I assume RoF is in shape as scary as the rest of publishing, and one of the more recent brouhahas was about the gender bias in their covers.
linkspam_mod: A metal chain (Default)

[personal profile] linkspam_mod 2010-01-13 06:12 pm (UTC)(link)
This post has been added to a Linkspam round-up.