Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Writers Anonymous

The discussion we had today about gender and writing and whether the author's sex makes a difference on the impact of the writing got me thinking. Whenever I choose a book to read the first thing I look at is the title of the book to get a sense of what the book might be about. Then I read the back cover or the inside covers of the book to get a brief summary. Unless the author is one that I obviously know well, I do not give a thought about the author's name. Likewise I don't go searching on Wikipedia for a biography of the author either. The point is it does not matter what kind of person the author is. It does not affect what I choose to read. I read for content, so when someone mentioned that if a male wrote Twilight it would be a different experience, I was surprised. But that's just me; I'm sure there are different opinions. I just do not believe in putting limits on what people can accomplish just because they are not expected to know certain things.


  1. This is exactly what I do. I don't usually take notice of the author's name and gender. I read the title, the reviews, and the back summary. It's usually not until I recommend the book to a friend do I have to remember or find out the name of the author. In the past, the gender was important in that men were the only credible authors. Women weren't taken seriously and thought they weren't to be writing. Now I don't think many people take notice of the author until after they read the book.

  2. I also agree that most people don't really check what the gender of the author is. However, gender roles are very ingrained into our societey. So a story about a young woman falling in love with a "sexy" male vampire is not something we expect a man to write about. I think this is why most people expected that "Twilight" would be written by a woman. The fact that it is not considered a great book has nothing to do with the gender of the author. Look at the "Da Vinci Code". I'm sure most people would expect it to be written by a man. and it is also considered a crappy book.

  3. I agree that the gender of an author should not make a difference on how to view the book. I have read some pretty good romance novels written by men and I'm sure a woman can write an action novel just as well as a man can. I do not think Twilight being written by a man would have any different effect. I think the teenie boppers would still be crazy about it. =]

  4. Second to reading the title, I always look at the author. I am not checking for the gender but instead to see if I have heard of the author. If I haven't, I usually google their name for background.

    But has our views changed toward women writing? I do think we have come a long way but I think over the last few years it has gotten masked. In our current age, the idea of targeting audiences for higher profit has created the illusion of gender equality. Yes women write and are recognized, but when books are being sold, a specific audience is always considered. I think this idea of a targeted audience is interesting in connection to gender inequality.

    Has audience targeting helped or hurt gender equality?

  5. i pretty much do the same thing Nhan does when picking a book to read. I read the title, read the back or inside cover and then read a page somewhere in the book just to see what it's going to be about and the style of the writing. Much of the time I won't even look at the author right away for the sole fact that if after reading the cover and a page in the book I'm still interested, then whether I know the author or not is of little importance. After I read the first Twilight book and realize how mugh I truly disliked it, I didn't attribute the poor writing of it to a specific gender. Had a man written it, that would have made no impact on my assesment of the book and at the same rate it's not like I'm going to look at the author, realize it's a woman and somehow excuse her for writting such a, in my opinion, bad book simply because it was written by a woman.


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