Posted by: chobhi | September 16, 2010

Comment on Slate article

The recent article by Megan O’Rourke in Slate ,about sidelining women writers by the mainstream media, makes my blood boil. Like Megan says, I do not wish to whine and moan about how the gender gap is alive and kicking, but this is ridiculous. Actually it is more than ridiculous, it is a crying shame that there is not enough mention about good women writers in mainstream publications. It feels like we are still in the 19th century when women writers like Mary Cross changed her name to George Eliot so she could be published. (“Middlemarch” is one of my favorite books of hers that is written with such flair and insight.)
I do not wish to give a list of names to make my point. But I will mention a few who have made me pause before I sit to write, women like George Eliot,Toni Morrisson, Victoria Butler, Anne Tyler ,Edwidge Dandicat and Barbara Kingsolver.  They have written soul searching, searing works that sometimes make me wonder if I could live up to their examples.

I need to point out that I have nothing against the body of great writing by men. I read a lot of writers who are men and some are so incredibly talented, like Ian Mc Ewan, Charles Dickens , Wally Lamb and of course Leo Tolstoy to name a few. But they probably had the women do the typing, cleaning ,cooking and other chores while they typed / wrote their way to fame.

This is how I am going to deal with the ignorance and arrogance of mostly white men out there deciding who is a good writer. I will continue to read and write thinking of those fabulous women out there who blazed a trail for unknowns like me to continue writing. I am going to continue to talk about groups like Janesstories Press Foundation that will be there to especially encourage emerging women writers. So who cares what a bunch of mostly white men decide what is good literature? We, as women, must continue our work and make ourselves heard.


  1. Shobha, I completely agree–but I am even more enflamed by women who sideline other women writers! Publishers Weekly is actually running a seminar in October on increasing diversity in the publishing business, which, they claim, is very white and very female.

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