Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Missing Men

Where are all the male writers?

A check of the Novel Racers membership, past and present, reveals that only four out of fifty-four (7%) are male. This got me thinking about whether that's typical or atypical for a collection of writers. Looking at my blog list, there are only a handful out of 54 personal blogs* I read that are by male authors. Adding to this, my experiences of two visits to the Writers' Holiday at Caerleon, suggests that the world of writers is massively dominated by females**.

Or have I missed something? Are there hoards of male writers out there that are somehow hidden from view? Is it due to the "circles I move in" being more specialised or atypical than I'd realised? Is it related to genre in some way? Are we effected, perhaps unwittingly, by stereotyping?

I know this isn't a new issue. Sheepish brought up some very similar things in her recent coffee break article and we covered many ideas that might lie behind the imbalance. I'd very much like to revisit the subject here, as I'm sure many of you will have had some more thoughts on it in the mean time.

So lots of questions, but I guess the main ones are: What are your experiences/statistics of male to female ratios in the world of writing? And do you have any more plausible explanations for any polarisation?

* As opposed to shared group or resource blogs.
** Not that I'm complaining.


Colette McCormick said...

Apart from your good self dear Captain I only know one other male writer personally whereas I know probably forty or fifty female writers. I don't really know why that should be but I'd be interested to know if yoiu find out. Actually I'm lying to you, I've just thought of a third bloke.

Leatherdykeuk said...

I think it depends on the genre. The forum 'Cafe Doom', for example, has an 80% male membership, but then they generally write horror.

HelenMHunt said...

I haven't met many male writers on-line But the ones I have met have all been absolutely charming :)

Debs said...

I have to admit that I don't know many male writers at all.

Karen said...

I wonder if women are just better or more likely to join writing circles, blogs etc. whereas men are just getting on with writing and don't talk about it? I belonged to a writing group years ago, and there were only two men there then.

I don't know any male writers, I must admit - only one guy I used to work with who did some non-fiction stuff. Hmmm. Strange.

Anonymous said...

I know some of you answered via facebook but I thought I'd put all my responses here. All in all, I can't really conclude anything, as the sample is quite small. Perhaps I should do a bigger survey on facebook, or something.

Colette: They're about the same as my statistics.

Graeme: You might have something there. There may be an effect whereby more females tend to join blog groups. This in turn may lead to more female individuals joining the wider blog circle.

Rachel: I very strongly suspect that you're right, that genre plays a big part in this. Perhaps I should do another survey about genre.

Rowan: Your theory sounds like a variation on "blokes can't ask for directions". In which case it's anecdotally correct but not proven in this case. One thing that might count against this theory is that bloke also like to "blow their own trumpet", so you'd expect more blogging from them in that respect.

Helen: Thank you m'duck.

Debs: Your loss ;o)

Karen: You've echoed what Rowan said, which reinforces that theory.