“There are less Wikipedia articles on women poets than pornographic actresses.”
The above quotation is derived from Wikipedia’s Women Problem written by James Gleick at the New York Review of Books made during this last week. It interests me as it is embedded in article about the sub-categorisation of American women novelists, an ongoing row about editorial habits that infect androcentric working environments. I have had some experience of these environments, which I consigned to their rightful place when I began blogging about poetry and poets.
Many discussions about resolving this issue have emerged online in recent days and none of them are fit to purpose. Imagine a scenario where a woman has spent some years writing about the American woman novelist, the woman poet, the woman editor or translator for Wikipedia – only to find that sleight of hand had consigned this work to some irrational sub-category based on an ephemeral and subjective desire to tidy-up ?
One can address the issue in a number of ways : subvert the categorisation, appoint editors to recategorise, or assert one’s independence and transcend the necessity of endless and pointless plea-bargaining on the subject of poetry and novels by women writers. I chose the latter route over five years ago and I am sticking to it in the face of reports from VIDA about the invisibility of women writers in the canon.There was the 100% men issue of The New Yorker (April 29th 2013).
There is a turbulence inherent in unearthing a viewpoint that asserts that there is a difficulty in our value system that relegates women’s views on every subject to the amateurs section including but not limited to issues of rape, torture, birthing (or not). There are even awards to those men who put words into the mouths of women historical figures.
The muse has become a tattered prostitute framed by the self-importance of the male writer. I wouldn’t go to the bother of redressing this imbalance via traditional publication routes.