DIVERSITY & SEXISM

  • Sexism and diversity are not one sided. Diversity is meant to open our eyes to more than one story, whether that is a female or male story.
  • Within our industry, diversity is found in many ways including: author diversity,company diversity,genre diversity,publication diversity, and award diversity.
    • Author Diversity
      • Author diversity is not solely up to publishing houses.Authors have their own responsibility in creating diverse books by diverse authors.
        •  “creating diverse books is about creating multidimensional characters with many characteristics and aspects, whether rooted in age, race, religion, sex, or gender, which allow them to relate to many different readers who are a part of many different groups. It has to be thoughtful and meaningful.”
        • Responsibility in representation of diverse characters is very important so that diverse books do not do more harm than good.
        • Diverse authors mean distinct books, which means reaching the greatest amount of readers and the most diverse population of readers. Diverse books must be genuine and written with an accuracy that blurs the line between fiction and real life, creating books that speak to their readers’ everyday lives.
    • Gender Gap and Pay Diversity
      • Diversity, and more so gender, affects authors’ ability to be signed and find equality in compensation and representation.
      • Joanne Harris Interview
        • “When I was signed, it was alongside another then unknown male author, whose advance was four-times the sum of mine. My book went number one in the bestseller chart; His book never charted at all. Nevertheless, his promotion budgets were always significantly higher than mine, and his media profile was always high whereas media reactions to my success were mostly on the lines of ‘woman’s author’s Cinderella story.”
      • Ten Tweets series
        • Harris, with the help of Kat Brown at The Telegraph, released ten tweets from her #TenTweets series in which she focuses ten messages on a theme about the industry to spark conversation
        • Such occurrences revealed include: only being spoken to on a radio show when the female presenter was available, a rejection due to “lack of visual appeal”, men at academic parties quoted as never reading books by women, female writing being solely compared to Fifty Shades of Grey, and lastly the ever focus of women body image and motherhood.
    • Company Diversity
      • What does it mean to have company diversity?
        • “the dearth of minority employees directly affects the types of books published.”
    • Genre and Canon Diversity
      • What does literary canon mean?
        • any reference to literary canon will refer to the collection of works by which other works are measured in terms of skill and value.
        • When thinking about the literary canon, think about what you read in high school and what you read in college in your English classes. What was considered “literary” or “scholarly” work?
      • “We do live in a patriarchy and that means that the “classic” novels that are assigned reading from elementary school through college are written mostly by men (Jane Austen being the main exception). These books star mostly male characters with female minor characters.”-Mette Ivie Harrison
      • “Books by women, about women (and all variations of diversity) need to get as much exposure as books about men, by men.”
    • Reading List and Course Diversity
      • “Yale English students call for end of focus on white male writers.”
      • Yale undergraduate course offerings
        • expected vs unexpected authors
    • Review and Award Diversity
      • of the six female authors to win a Pulitzer Prize between 2000 and 2015, half wrote primarily from the perspective of a male character.
      • “between 2000 and 2015, not a single book length fiction work from a woman’s perspective or about a woman was considered worthy of a Pulitzer Prize.”
    • Topic Diversity
      • Men need to be writing fiction about women and about men, but more importantly they need to be reading fiction by women and men. They need to be able to write from a female point of view as successfully as they are writing from a male point of view.
      • The divide is still prevalent when a male protagonist story is labeled fiction, yet a story written by a female about a female protagonist is labeled as “women’s fiction.”
      • “Authors who write about their own gender use their internal experience and speak from the inside out. When they write about the opposite sex, their perspectives have to shift – from the outside in. Neither is necessarily better, but rather, they try different points of view. I think most writers see capturing the opposite sex as an ultimate goal and triumph.”
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