Women Writers

Chasing down information on the (new) New Republic website, I was sidetracked by links to articles about the VIDA survey of women writers and their publication histories, links I want to reproduce below, because I found both pertinent follow-ups to what for women is a searing question: why do women writers continue to be underrepresented in major media? A year or so ago, after the first VIDA survey, there was also a good article in Slate, which, as I recall, asked the taboo question (of any underrepresented group): Aren't we as good?

The links: Ruth Franklin in a recent New RepublicMeg Wolitzer in a recent NYTimes Book Review; and from 2011, Meghan O'Rourke in Slate.

Aren't we as good? nags. But both 2012 articles raise the question of why men aren't interested in reading writing by women, the way women are / have learned to read and respect men's writing. Boys at a prep school may not find Dickinson and Austen on their reading lists; girls routinely read Mark Twain. And so on. I jump on such articles, when I come across them, in the Times, for instance; my husband jumps them.

Once I told husband and son it would take them 3000 years to learn to do the dishes properly; now they are both far more persnicketty than I am, with their hot and cold water rinsing systems. So how come, a hundred years after A Room of Her Own, there's still a problem with the writing? 

Aren't we as good?