Looks like a post of mine is making the rounds outside the usual channels and is starting to be misconstrued, so I just wanted to let any new visitors know that I am 1) very vocally feminist and 2) the post was 100% sarcastic and in response to some stuff from earlier today, which you can find back a little ways.
About all that “books by men are more successfull” stuff that’s coming up on my dash… I want to share a few thoughts. (If I write something wrong, I’m really sorry, but I think the thought behind this post is valid nontheless.)
So. I work in publishing (in YA publishing) in Brazil, and have been in the market for almost 8 years now. I work exclusively with YA. I buy YA, I study YA. I’m telling you this because I want you to know I’m not taking this off my ass. I see this happening A LOT. Not once, not twice. A LOT.
Let’s start with something very basic. Even in the publishing industry, notoriously rich in women, the top jobs are still mostly occupied by men. I’m talking CEOs, I’m talking heads of departments from marketing to design to comercial etc etc etc. So, there’s a good book. A good book written by a male author, with a male protagonist. Even if the editorial department boss likes it because of its intrinsec qualities, those other bosses are most likely NOT (I repeat, because I know most people won’t believe it), they are NOT going to read the book before deciding if it will get marketing money, if they are gonna print 3000 or 3000000 copies of the book. They will decide those things based on the “sales pitch” done by the editorial department and on their “instinct”.
I’m not saying those people have bad gut feelings, or that they will purposely put down books by women, or by people or color, or by lgbta+authors. What I’m saying is that most bosses at those crucial departments are white, cis, heterosexual males. And they think with that in mind. So they see a book by a woman of color (and/or with a girl of color as a protagonist) and think: “this will not appeal to a large audience; that will only appeal to black girls.” On the other hand, when they see a book by a white male (and/or with a white male protagonist), they think: “this has a universal appeal. Girls and boys will read it. It will reach a lot of readers.”
That’s (part of) the reason books by white male authors (or with white male main characters) usually receive more marketing money. Why they get more reviews in newspapers. Why they get six kinds of cover arts in a small period of time. Because we live in a world that considers the white heterossexual male the default and we buy books published by an industry that is mostly run by white hetero men.
It does not mean those books aren’t good. They are, most of the time. But it does mean those books start their lives with much more auspicious prospects.
This is such an important piece of the puzzle, and a big part of why we TALK a lot ~diversity~, but seeing real action is a whole other ballgame. When the people involved at decision-making levels are mainly representative of a certain type of person, their filters skew their view. No one is completely immune to this. We HAVE to have other viewpoints present everywhere.
orphans-and-animals replied to your post “I mean, super weird that women are on the bestseller list because…”
"Their raw, manly charisma and relevance means that I read these things DESPITE their being YA. Man, those men write women so well, why is the pink cover brigade even trying?"
*screams into the night*
I mean, super weird that women are on the bestseller list because other women and girls are stupid airheads that buy stupid airhead crap, but bestsellers by men are there because they’re GOOD.
It is admittedly strange to me that people get SO EXCITED about discovering underground musicians, lesser known artists, cult movies, etc., like to the point of creating entire identities based on how much “good” stuff they discover before it gets popular… even identities based on liking things because they’re NOT popular.
But if a book isn’t on the bestseller list, it’s because that book is terrible. Obviously that’s the only answer.
Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why is one of the top selling YA novels and it's for a reason! And John Green would beat out ANY of the women on your lists, half of them I've never even HEARD of. You sound like you're just jealous that your book didn't break into Amazon's top 500.
well for one i don’t have any books out so i don’t think that’s true.
but also, if you’d read ALL OF my posts, you’d have seen where i noted that i choose to recommend books by authors who need those recommendations.
you not having heard of them? pretty much why i recommend them in the first place. if you had been following this blog, or my old YA book review blog (which is now defunct RIP), i rarely jumped on reviewing or recommending books that were getting a ton of press. my biggest joy was reviewing backlist and books that got very little publicity. there are tons of popular blogs and people who do nothing but talk about the same 15 up ‘n coming books and i wasn’t interested in it.
maybe i just really like books and authors and like to encourage people to read more than what everyone else is reading?
POINTING OUT, CRITIQUING AND QUESTIONING A SYSTEM OF PRIVILEGE IN YA is not an attack on your fav male ya authors. Pointing out that your fav male YA authors BENEFIT from that system of privilege is not an attack on their talents or their hard work. Stop derailing the conversation. Also maybe start looking into how the whole marketing machine works too because it’s not as simple as “a good book finds a wide audience no matter who writes it, you’re just not writing good enough books.” If that was the case, you would have heard of A LOT more of the authors on aprihop's original list.
Great response to male privilege in YA lit and why it’s important to recommend and acknowledge that books on the NYTimes bestseller list aren’t the only ones worth reading.
I’m just gonna leave this here.
Because it’s always a good time for Jen Lynn O’Clock, but it also talks about why the books you’ve heard about… are the books you’ve heard about.
Hint: it is not because the books you’ve ‘never even heard of’ are bad.
God I hate everything today, but this commentary is wonderful.
I keep reblogging these because the attitude anon is displaying is VERY common and I hear it ALL THE TIME, but for some reason certain people need “evidence” to believe it happens.
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I get what you're saying about all this, but you don't have to throw male authors under the bus just to make a point about female authors.
there’s nowhere in this recent conversation that i do anything like that. in my initial list, i gave one (1) recommendation written by a man. because that book came to mind, because i found out memorable.
it’s not throwing men under the bus to talk about women first. it’s not throwing men under the bus to give recommendations that don’t include them.
are you wondering “but what about the men???” good. because i’ve been wondering “what about the women?” my whole fucking life.
So easy to be anonymous on the internet. But you don’t get respect that way.
I’ve written like six replies to this and deleted them all, so I’ll just reblog.