The Year of Women: October 2012 to October 2013

Several weeks ago I noticed that my reading was too dominated by dudes and the books they write. It’s a noted problem┬áthat most of American letters – both past and present – is driven by testosterone. Men, particularly white men, still run the show even though women buy more books and get more MFAs (e.g. write more). And while there’s nothing I can do to change the purchasing habits of the American habits or the publishing habits of the industry, I can change my own habits of attention. Seeing as I consider myself a feminist and progressive thinker, I probably should.

So for this year, no more dudes. Some exceptions: blog posts and one-off articles. No long-form creative non-fiction essays or fiction or poems, unless I know the dude in question personally.

This resolution was complicated when my boyfriend gave me the first thirty issues of McSweeney’s for my birthday. While that’s a fabulous gift and I now feel like the hippest writer/lit-blogger/whatever-I-am-in-Madison, most lit mags don’t have the best track record when it comes to publishing equal numbers of men and women. So I’ll be doing my own VIDA work with McSweeney’s starting at the beginning, with issue 1. Each issue I write about will also include a count of the number of women published, as well as the number of women published with unambiguously female names.

For the more visual, this is my reading list for the next year, subject to some variation:

Shelf 1: Issues 1-30 of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern. Shelf 2: novels and books by women.