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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

From Rose Fox at Genreville:
I’ve been putting together the program for Readercon, and I was entirely shocked when two women we invited told me they don’t feel smart enough to be on our panels. I’ve never heard anything like that from a man. [EDIT: A woman has emailed me to say she heard a man once say "Readercon is where I go to feel stupid"--though I wouldn't classify that the same way as withdrawing from the program.]

I’m also pretty sure I received more “may I be on your program?” requests from men than from women (I’ll try to remember to keep statistics next year). It’s pretty well known that that sort of behavior is socially gendered.

I would not be at all surprised if female authors are more likely to self-sabotage by saying “I’m not good enough to be in this anthology” or “I don’t have anything that works for this” or “I can’t write in that genre”, while men might be more likely to send in a story that’s a little off-topic, or send something unsolicited even if the anthology is supposedly closed to submissions.
This particular discussion involves the world of science fiction, and its awards and anthologies. The situation is probably different in other literary genres; as one example, as Fox quotes Liz Williams, “in urban fantasy…women do seem to be on strong ground.” (According to Library Journal in 2008, “Contemporary urban fantasy started as an offshoot of horror fiction rather than sf/fantasy but has blended with other genres, most notably romance and mystery.”)

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