Authors: Male vs Female

Sharon Bakar has posted up a fascinating piece she wrote for Chrome magazine in January 2006, which struck me not because of its truth (the publishing industry is well aware of the stigma surrounding female authors) but the quotes from some of her readers.

For the uninitiated, her article is about how men prefer to read male authors, opting out of reading prose written by the fairer sex. Listen to this:

… (a) blogger, Amir, felt that “prose written by a lot of female authors tends to be, how do you say it? Delicate? Detailed? Ditzy?”.

“I don’t think women can write like Marquez, Nabokov or Gunther Grass,” wrote one blogger known as Greenbottle, “to me these guys write as though with p*nis instead of pen, full of masculine animal energy.” He felt that many women writers, on the other hand, tended to produce “saccharine, wimpy or effeminate writing”.

If that was the case I would’ve never read The Age Of Innocence – one of my absolute favourites. Nothing like heart rending, heart stopping dialogue as a warmup.

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Category: Meta · Publishing
  • Duane Poncy

    Women’s writing effeminate? Now doesn’t that comment say a lot about the macho idiot who wrote it?

    All of my life my favorite authors have been women. There are many fine male writers, but give me Doris Lessing or Arandhati Roy or Toni Morrison over Ernest Hemingway and Norman Mailer any day.

    Wimpy? I don’t think so.

  • bibliobibuli

    at least those guys admitted their prejudice! more dangerous by far are those who pay lip-service to the importance of women writers and then recommend only books written by blokes.

    this is a lovely blog, full of articles that interst me very much … was so surprised to learn that you are a Malaysian blogger writing about writing and about blooks (which fascinates me) and i hadn’t realised it before. must link you.

    now where are you blogging YOUR fiction?

  • Eli James

    @Duane, I agree with you. It is usually wrong to make generalizations, as these do. I must say that I don’t really understand these prejudices, though – to me good writing is good writing, regardless the gender.

    @Bibliobibuli, thanks for the comment! Whew … I’m starting to wonder when my next bout of writer’s block hits. And yeah, you did ask the one question nobody has yet to ask.


    I’ve 7 more chapters before Janus is finished. Will post up the link then. But I don’t think I’ll be proud of it. I started it 3 years ago, so you can imagine there has to be some cringe worthy parts. >.< Anyway, thanks for the link up!

  • CrazyDreamer

    All generalizations are false.