Five Stereotypes About Female Authors That Need To Be Permanently Erased

By Kevin Nelson

It might sound surprising to some of us but a different attitude towards male and female writing still exists, and it affects publishing more than some of us imagine. Despite having so many successful female writers these days, simply being a woman makes it harder to receive a response from a publishing house.

One of the most well-known examples worth mentioning is J.K. Rowling, who was recommended to use initials because the publishers worried that boys would not read her books. The less common yet stunning example is that of Catherine Nichols.

Nichols had initially submitted her manuscript to 50 agents under her own name but only got two manuscript requests. But, when she sent out the same essay under a male pseudonym to the 50 agents, she found out that it brought positive responses, as her manuscript was requested 17 times. Nichols, like many female writers, was forced to hide her identity and take up a male name in order to combat prejudice and sexism which has dominated the literary world.

Here are some of the myths surrounding female writing that ought to be dispelled:

1. Gender Does Not Matter Anymore

This argument ignores the deeply rooted sexism that still exists in the literary world. Although it may sound commendable to some, it is in fact an abdication of responsibilities. It ignores the deeply rooted sexism that still exists in the literary world. Prejudice and sexism should be acknowledged and not hidden in the guise of “equality”.

On average, female writers are under-marketed or underestimated. This just proves that the literary world is biased against women. Female writers are more likely to be sold to female readers under the section of “women’s fiction” that’s mostly assumed to contain poorly written work. Gender in literature is relevant and there is no point in pretending otherwise. Female authors should receive the same treatment as their male counterparts.

2. Female Writing Is Too Emotional

On the contrary, we have emotional works from both male and female authors. Female writing has been depicted as too emotional or romantic as compared to the males’. Nearly all male-authored books contain romantic story lines, and that is perfectly acceptable. However, in a female’s book, the same focus is often frowned upon and is sometimes considered as repulsive. It is horrifying for females to be faced with such blatant sexual stereotypes for their written materials.

Readers most often unaware of it, still read fiction by women authors with preconceptions and prejudice. Female readers who drive the market have also been affected by this since they are being sold the idea that female authors chose to write about emotions and therefore, mean less than male authors.

3. Women Write Love Stories and Teenage Books Mostly

Female writers have dominated the young adult market. Some of the biggest YA books such as Harry Potter or Twilight have been penned down by female authors. In 2012, more than 62% of teen fiction books that made the top 100 were written by female authors. This has led to the assumption that all female writing is teen fiction or romance. However, this is mostly not the case as there are many female writers who have defied this assumption.

Writers like Gillian Flynn, Donna Tart, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and many others have written award-winning books that are worth reading. Women are entitled to write about whatever they want and their target audience is not limited to teenagers.

4. Women Cannot Write Male Characters Well

Writing from a male’s point of view is challenging and demanding but most female writers have become quite the experts. Writing from a male’s point of view is challenging and demanding but most female writers have become quite the experts. Gillian Flynn in Gone Girl holds nothing back in portraying Nick Dunne’s point of view which was essential to the success of the narrative.

Regardless of the gender voice, Flynn created fully fleshed out entities for each of her characters which made the story even more compelling. Therefore, the myth that female writers cannot write plausible male characters needs to be dispelled. Women are capable of crossing gender lines and writing the best stories.

5. Female Writing is Less Powerful

Writers like Maya Angelou have used power of the written word to effect change. Jodi Picoult an American author who has so far written 23 novels based on a wide range of subjects such as mercy killings and school shootings has had her work criticized and categorized as “chick-lit”.

This term is belittling and dismissive and does not even relate to what the novels are about. Sadly, female-authored books are comparatively less respected and considered less powerful. However, female writers have had their fair share of powerful works with the likes of Maya Angelou who used the power of the written word to effect change.

Women writers have been trying to draw attention to the issues that they face in the publishing industry since Virginia Woolf’s era. Francine Prose in Scents of a Woman’s Ink tried to highlight some of this issues. Despite her logical arguments, Prose’s article did not generate the response she expected and up to this day, only a few female authors get published.

An analysis of the literary glass ceiling done by Ruth Franklin at The New Republic revealed that 33% of books reviewed were written by women. However, the eco-system of female writers is multi-layered and diverse and needs to be embraced, not stereotyped.

 

 

 

 

Kevin is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer for various blogs about higher education, entertainment, social media & blogging. During his off time, Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter, Linkedin & Google+.

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer for various blogs about higher education, entertainment, social media & blogging. Currently, Kevin works as a part-time writer for www.EssayWriterSite.com. During his off time, Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking. Feel free to connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin & Google+.

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