Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Author Gender and SFF Review Blogs

Lady Business has done a study of author gender and SFF review blogs again for 2012, as she did for 2011, though this time her sampling methods are more statistically robust and should paint a more representative picture of the state of things. The results are not surprising or mind boggling - if you are a male reviewer, you almost certainly review way more books authored by men then women. If you are a female reviewer, you are more likely to review a near equal number or more women authors than male authors. The numbers are striking and telling. Unfortunately it's the same old story.
And, yes, my blog was included in the study, and yes, my blog mirrors the overall trends. According to her numbers, 35% of the authors I reviewed were female (which is at least better than the average of 25% percent female authors for male reviewers). And just as a general FYI, for the 7+-year life of this blog - I've only reviewed about 20% female authors versus 80% male (so, the numbers show that my awareness of the issue is leading to change - which is good).

Anyway, I suggest that you read her post and think on it. It's an important issue and she does a great job of showing why. Especially if you are a male reader/reviewer - think on it.


redhead said...

my stats were similar to yours. approx 1/3 the books I reviewed last year were by women, and approx 2/3 were by men.

it's a great study that LadyBusiness is doing, and I hope she continues to do it next year and the year after. I know it's a ton of work, but i'd love to see results from a larger number of blogs.

Aarti said...

Lady Business is actually run by a group of bloggers, not just one,

It would be interesting to know if, after reading the post, you plan to change your reading and reviewing habits- are you going to be more pro-active about reading books by females now? One of my goals for the year is to read more books by people of clog or, and I have found that I have to be very active in doing that, but I like to think it makes a difference.

Neth said...


The simple answer is that I'm not going to change my reading habits. A few years ago I changed my habits and I now actively seek out a greater diversity in the authors I read - whether that diversity comes from race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, culture, etc. It's always a challenge to attain a sort of balance, and I'm certainly still a work in progress. But I find that being aware and informed regarding my decisions makes a big diffence in my mindset, though it doesn't always show up in statistical breakdown on the demographis of the authors I read.

But my biggest challenge is simply life. A few years ago I easily read 50+ books in a year. Now, I'm closer to 20. That makes finding a balance tough.

Though, after seeing all this, I can see that from the last few books I've read, it's time to be a bit more aware of my next choice.

Anonymous said...

I find the attitude of making an issue out of male reviews reading and reviewing more male writers annoying. It's not their fault if they tend to associate more easily with male writer. It doesn't show they are less open-minded or anything.

I myself, don't really care whether the writer is male or female but I tend to associate myself more easily with male writers or male characters simply because I'm a man and I can related more easily to them or the way they display their emotions. Is it wrong to not read a book from a female writer because she's a women? Yes
Is it wrong to read more stuff written by men, than women? No, it doesn't mean we are closed and mysogynistic.

I love reading stuff by different gender or ethnics writer for the diversity of ideas and position, and think it's important to do so, but I go more easily for male writer because I will more than often respond more easily to their writing because I'm a man myself and I understand perfectly the emotions and ideas.

I'm not saying their is no problem in the publishing world and there's no sexism, but implying male reviewers are misogynist because they read more male writers is just ridiculous. Saying it's a problem is ridiculous.

I totally agree with the position of gender blindness though. Dismissing the idea of genders or races is blinding ourselves to our differences and what or who we are.

Pabkins said...

Hmm I don't know if I fit the trend I will have to take a look. But honestly I think I read about equal, that might be optimistic huh? I guess I will only know if I take a look at the past year or two huh. That's pretty interesting thing to think about!


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