Sunday, October 07, 2007

I am a sexist pig

I just found out an editor I've been dealing with off and on for some time is a woman. She has one of those gender neutral names, and without thinking, I assumed she was a he. I was doubly surprised because this editor publishes a goodly amount of what I consider male-oriented fiction.

And no, I won't go into any specifics about this editor or her publication here on this blog. I already sound enough like a pig.

But this has got me to thinking. I really don't consider myself a sexist, but I am male, so I'm sure I do jump the gun sometimes toward the masculine in some forms of my thinking and even writing. I think this is natural, not sexist. I would hazard a guess that females also have a female-oriented thinking process. Now, whether this is because of nature or nurture, I won't argue; personally I think it's a little of both. But again, I think all of this is natural. If you wanted to break people down in other fashions, by race or religion or nationality or whatever, I'm sure there would be some similarities in the way people in any given group or culture think and view the world. Yet again, I find that natural.

But there is something I need to work on, just maybe. While thinking about this gender issue, it has dawned on me that when I am shopping around a story or novel, I almost always bypass women editors, agents and publishers. Why? Because I take it for granted that most women are not going to be interested in most of the fiction I write.

Okay, you can start screaming sexist pig again.

I'm not going to make excuses. But I am going to give thought to giving women more consideration when I'm shopping around stories.

I think part of my feelings about the whole gender issue when it comes to editors has been the chick lit and paranormal romance genres that have been doing pretty well the last few years. Most guy writers probably won't admit this, but I will ... yeah, I feel threatened by it.

I grew up reading books by men, usually about men doing manly stuff. For the most part, that's the kind of stuff I want to keep reading. So when I see that every bookstore I go into seems to be taken over by chick lit or kids' fiction, yeah, I feel threatened by it.

I'm not saying there are not great female writers, and that they are not worthy of an audience. I in no way mean to demean women as writers, and I don't mean to slam their audience.

Call it jealousy. I just wish what I felt was my audience was getting as much attention. And I don't necessarily mean an all-male audience, just an audience that read the manly stuff I was talking about.

One could easily argue that a male-dominated audience had things pretty good for a long time, and now the market has entered another phase. Okay, I can buy that. The majority of book readers are usually females, at least according to every publishing survey I've ever seen.

I guess part of the problem is that males just aren't reading novels and short stories like they used to. Everything's the Internet and/or video games and DVDs nowadays.

Okay, I've rambled enough about a topic that will probably just get me in trouble.

Go ahead. Say it. I'm a sexist pig.


cyn said...

great post, ty. i hope you consider submitting to more female editors in the future, because it doesn't hurt to try. i wonder if men are just moving away from fantasy? perhaps they are all reading king and grishm and ludlum now?
but you are still finding a market for your short stories, which is great.
yeah, i worry that guys won't like to read my novel. but we write what we write.

Howard von Darkmoor said...

guys will never leave fantasy. the penthouse letters are quoted every day in 1000s of bars, clubs, warehouses, pool halls, garages, arenas, trucks, farmyards, etc. each day.

ty is just a sexist pig.

I, on the other hand, am a lover of women! An idolizer of feminine beauty! A horny bastard! A Lothario of epic proportions! At all times and in all circumstances, a complete respecter of all that is female!