My take is this: when I see a magazine or many magazines who publish much more work from male-identified authors than female-identified authors, I assume that it is because it is the best work out there to be had. I assume the editors looked at everything they could get their hands on and chose what they thought was best. If that means more male-identified writers than the other, so be it.What's even more frightening is that a couple of people immediately chimed in to agree.
And if that pattern occurs in aggregate and over years, than the only logical assumption I can make–giving everyone the benefit of the doubt–is that there is more good writing out there done by men, or–alternately–that women are not trying hard enough to put their work out there. And if that pattern continues over decades, then it becomes clear that women simply aren’t as ambitious, as talented, and/or as committed to writing as men are.
Now, of course, there may be specific breaks to this pattern. Exceptions that, as they say, prove the rule: Dickinson, Bishop perhaps. But, it’s actually very simple, isn’t it? Magazine editors are out there to put out the best product they can–and what does culture or content or modes of existing in the actual world have to do with good language?
And the minute we attempt to tie the judgment of literature to something like a body or to a political consideration like gender or race or any of the isms, is the minute we lose the possibility to transcend the body and produce truly great work… true reflections of what is best in humanity… the universal… the sublime. I for one do not wish to lower my standards.
I tell you, this whole discussion is making me fear for my sons… what kind of an uphill battle they may face if they should choose to excel as poets. It’s truly disturbing. The kind of wrath they may face if and when they choose simply to become great–the jealousy, the complaints of mediocre women writers who envy them.
I’m sick about it, I tell you. Sick.
Of course, this isn't a failure of Kirsten's rhetoric. It's a failure on the part of readers to see the fallacy in this conservative logic.
To whom it may concern: Sexism isn't okay. It's as bad as racism. It's as bad as gay bashing. It's discrimination and it's hateful. Go read some of the comments in that thread and imagine they were written in response to a gay man or a black man expressing fair and civil concerns. Would you be so flippant and dismissive then? Would you tell them to stop their vague bitching and build their own empires?