Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Against Gendered Culture

Blogs
by Carrie Rickey
April 3, 2012 12:09 PM
2 Comments
  • |

Meg Wolitzer, the gifted novelist of "This is Your Life" and "The Position," wrestles with these questions in today’s New York Times Book Review. Her piece comes on the heels of the 2012 VIDA report tracking the lopsided coverage of male and female writers in magazines. (The VIDA Report was released a month after the Celluloid Ceiling figures that the percentage of women directors — five percent — had dipped to the lowest level in 13 years.) Wolitzer discusses the semiotics of book covers, how books written by men have bolder typefaces and universal symbols: the wedding ring on the cover of Jeffrey Eugenides’ "The Marriage Plot" is not attached to a female hand as it might be if it were written by a female author. By telegraphing with images of stiletto heels and pink lipstick that “this is girls’ stuff,” marketing departments bear some of the responsibility for gendered culture. But not all of it.

Is it a paradox that literature and movies by women are devalued at a time when the most profitable franchises in bookstores and at the multiplex are by women? J.K. Rowling created "Harry Potter," Stephenie Meyer "Twilight" and Suzanne Collins "The Hunger Games." When it comes to Young Adult fiction and movies, women get taken seriously. (Director Catherine Hardwicke established the "Twilight" franchise onscreen, the rare female filmmaker entrusted with the job.) "Gone With the Wind," the most successful movie in Hollywood history, was based on publishing’s most successful young-adult novel — written by Margaret Mitchell. Something must happen when female authors deal with grownups. Because when it comes to adult commercial fiction and literature, women are marginalized in the pink ghetto.

2 Comments

  • Brian | April 4, 2012 1:47 PMReply

    Just for the record, my grown daughter, an aspiring writer, agrees with the "devalued" premise and singled out the romance industry as one that gets no love. When I tried to explain why I thought that was the case, I got a "You are so f---ing wrong," the first time she's ever cursed at me like that. So don't ask why I thought that was the case. I'm zipping my lips.

  • Brian | April 4, 2012 10:46 AMReply

    Why is this short piece split up into three pages? It would have all easily fit on one page.

    Also, this is the first time I've heard "Gone with the Wind" described as a YA novel.

    And what does it mean that "literature and movies by women are devalued at a time when the most profitable franchises in bookstores and at the multiplex are by women?" Doesn't that statement contradict itself? Devalued by whom? Certainly not by the readers and moviegoers, the ones who count the most.

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Sony Counters Bad Press with 'Spider-Man' ...
  • PBS Preview: Six New 'Makers' Documentaries ...
  • Toronto Film Festival Global Summit ...
  • Trailers From Hell Loves 'All That ...
  • Which World Premieres Did Venice La ...
  • Parker Posey and Jamie Blackley Will ...
  • Get Tied Down With First Trailer for ...
  • Not Into 'Hercules'? Here Are 6 Alternatives ...
  • Comic-Con Movie Preview: Warner Bros., ...
  • Not So Fast: David Lynch Says No New ...