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Tue Mar-14-06 02:08 PM

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"Confessions of an Unwitting Literary Sexist"



This is not meant as a boast, but I have close to 2,000 books in my personal collection. They range from novels to collections of poetry and essays to plays to biographies to volumes on history, art, culture, politics, sports, reference and everything in between.

So last night while bored I decided to get a handle on all of my books and better organize them, as there are random stacks of books spread out all over my apartment causing what can best be described as utterly unmanageable clutter.

While I was organizing the books by subject category, a startling truth revealed itself to me. It turns out that of the nearly 2,000 books in my collection, only a handful (literally 5 books) were authored by women.

Until that epiphany, I had never been consciously aware that I’ve been reading male authors more or less exclusively. And right now, thinking about it, I’m still not sure what it means. I don’t consider myself a sexist and I’m sure my sister, mother, and fiancee would agree. So WTF?

Perhaps this means that I am a “literary” sexist, if such a thing exists. Perhaps not. Perhaps it just means that I am subconsciously drawn more to the male voice, as its more familiar to me and I can relate to it more. Perhaps it means that the types of books I like to read are, more often than not, penned by male writers. I really don’t know. All I know is that with the exception of 5 books, I’ve spent the last 15 years or so reading male authors exclusively.

The ones I recall seeing last night are:

The Collected Poems of Marianne Moore
Jane Leavy’s biography of Sandy Koufax
Ursula K. LeGuin’s “The Left Hand of Darkness”
Mary McKay Maynard’s “My Faraway Home” (A book I edited)
Tracey McFarlane-Mirande’s “Championship Swimming” (Also edited by yours truly)

To take this a step further, a cursory look through my record collection reveals a similar bias. With the exception of a few Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin records, my collection is 100% male.

So, fellas. Am I alone in this? And ladies, do you find the opposite bias in your own collections?

Please share your experiences and opinions below.


Did I mention that I met Kareem?:

Hot to Trotsky:


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Confessions of an Unwitting Literary Sexist [View all] , TurkeylegJenkins, Tue Mar-14-06 02:08 PM
Subject Author Message Date ID
I have a good deal more lit by women than you
Mar 14th 2006
Do you think I'm a sexist?
Mar 14th 2006
      Well, frankly, if you are, I am too.
Mar 14th 2006
           RE: Well, frankly, if you are, I am too.
Mar 14th 2006
                this might be getting into a chicken vs. egg debate :
Mar 14th 2006
                     beat me to it.
Mar 14th 2006
                          Is it really that simple, though?
Mar 14th 2006
                               well when you put it that way
Mar 14th 2006
                               Ok, then:
Mar 22nd 2006
                                    he can't write characters that aren't white men
Mar 22nd 2006
                               this is what kills me about feminists attacking Hemingway, Fitzgerald
Mar 22nd 2006
Beverly Cleary don't count, son
Mar 14th 2006
Believe it or not, you've raised a valid point
Mar 14th 2006
      I'm sayin, Superfudge was about a boy, tho
Mar 14th 2006
yeah, me too
Mar 14th 2006
The Last Samurai, dude!
Mar 14th 2006
      yeah, I STILL need to get it
Mar 14th 2006
RE: Confessions of an Unwitting Literary Sexist
Mar 14th 2006
Sure, why not?
Mar 14th 2006
      RE: Sure, why not?
Mar 14th 2006
      I like the Joan Didion and Iris Murdoch that I've read too
Mar 14th 2006
      There's also
Mar 14th 2006
           Read "Beloved" back in college
Mar 14th 2006
                Song of Solomon is the best
Mar 14th 2006
      I can't cosign on roy's fiction or rand at ALL
Mar 14th 2006
           yeah, not sure if I've read Roy or not
Mar 14th 2006
           You know who blew my little mind with her short stories?
Mar 14th 2006
Mar 14th 2006
           ha, i meant to sign non-fiction
Mar 22nd 2006
           ha, i meant to sign non-fiction
Mar 22nd 2006
      get some Flannery
Mar 14th 2006
           she can do the genderless voice too
Mar 14th 2006
And that Koufax bio stunk, too.
Mar 14th 2006
It wasn't very good
Mar 14th 2006
      she's a pretty strong writer...
Mar 14th 2006
I'm in about the same boat
Mar 14th 2006
No Margaret Atwood. You disgust me.
Mar 14th 2006
Atwood is great
Mar 14th 2006
5 is a BIT extreme
Mar 22nd 2006
most of my books are by women
Mar 22nd 2006
My girlfriend accuses me of this, because with films, music, and books
Mar 22nd 2006
it is a very interesting topic
Mar 22nd 2006
      I think part of the deal for Mr. TL Jenkins is
Mar 22nd 2006
I don't have much either
Mar 23rd 2006
i tend to agree-- check elaine brown's a taste of power
Mar 25th 2006
No Harry Potter?
Mar 25th 2006

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