Writers have less respect. His books are less reviewed than those written by men, and they win less awards. Even fictional characters are inferior; stories centered on male protagonists are more praised.
Half of the Pulitzer Prize-winning books between 2000 and 2015 were written by men and had men as their main characters, and another 25% were written by women, but were about men.
In the Man Booker Prize, the disparity is even greater.
But calm down!
There's even more: according to an informal survey conducted by a publisher, 22% of the authors who inspire today's authors are women - the remaining 78% are men.
The publishing sector may be better off than others in terms of gender parity. In cinema, for example, the challenge is greater, if Oscar serves as an indication. And publishers' teams are disproportionately female - though mostly white.
The world of literature deserves close examination, as it is often the source of the stories we disseminate. Four of the eight films nominated for this year's Oscar for Best Picture were book adaptations - five if you tell Mad Max, an adaptation of a comic book.
A disproportionately large number of books centered on men can mean a disproportionately large number of films - and proportionately less talk about women's experiences. All of this to say: it is a problem that deserves to be discussed.
And this discussion is going on. There are blogs dedicated to books about women; i write one of them.
Others, very eloquent, speak of avoiding misogynistic authors. And now?
In On Pandering, Claire Vaye Watkins offers some suggestions. The most vague and strongest: "Let's burn this fucking system and build something better".
It is a call that has generated many responses, and with mixed results. Amy Collier did what many determined women would do: launched a campaign on Kickstarter.
Facing the sexist chasm that separates authors authors, she asked campaign participants to support her cause: read a novel by Jonathan Franzen, but only if she got paid for it.
Let's look closely at this issue and fix the way that privilege manifests itself in institutions.
Paying women to read the terrible male canon instead of waiting for us to do it for free and with intellectual gratitude.
"It's a joke and it's not," she explains.
“Reading a book takes a long time. You spend a tiny but measurable part of your life doing it. You get into the psychology of the book, even if it's not in your hands or in your eyes. So, how much would it cost me to read a book that I really don't want to read, that takes away my strength and that of other women? ”
The playful campaign raised more than $ 1,000 before being suspended by Kickstarter. Asked about it, a company spokesman explained in an email shared by Jezebel:
“Every project needs a plan to create something and share that creation as a world. At some point, the creator must be able to say: ‘It’s ready. Here's what we create. Have fun!".
Fair enough - but those same rules didn't stop a guy's campaign to make a potato salad go through. Further proof that an issue as insidious as sexism, intangible, is easy to overlook - at least with respect to crowdfunding campaigns.
Other intangible responses to intangible issues of gender inequality in the publishing world have generated reactions. Commenting on the excess of personal texts on book lists for women, Jia Tolentino wrote on Jezebel:
“We know that male authors dominate much of literary attention; the solution is not to put everyone else in a glass of social justice syrup and drink it all at once. ”
Instead of campaigning for change, she suggests buying, reading and debating a diverse range of voices. Unlike a personal text, a good book is a strong agent of change. It can be a home voices absent the choir can be heard. It is a primary resource. You can hold it in your hands.