10 of Flavorpill’s most sexist literary lists

10 essential books from the last 25 years includes only one book written by a woman, White Teeth by Zadie Smith.

Top 10 Sidekicks in Literature, one Hermione from Harry Potter, only mentioned in conduction with other male sidekick.

10 authors against adjectives. Women apparently have no feelings about adjectives.

Surprisingly, women actually garner four spots in a Flavorpill list. Sadly, its in the Literatures 10 best-dressed authors. Women also garner 3 spots in another list, Literatures 10 best-dressed characters.

Of the 10 of the best summer novels, three of them are penned by woman. Its pathetic that when I see three women in a list of ten I think the list isnt too bad. But you know what? Well, I cant find a stat on the ratio of men to women in MFA creative writing programs. Damn. But I can tell you, circumstantially, that Ive taken classes at The Loft (a well-regarded literary center) on and off since 2003 and without a doubt the majority of my classmates have been women. Such an overwhelming majority are female that I would even venture to guess its something like 2 women for every one man.

Five women actually make the list for 10 essential illness memoirs.

It seems that according to Flavorpill women are good at writing about their fragility and fashion.

10 Seminal Books for world travelers, only one is written by a woman (Isabella L. Bird).

8 authors you should read before college, and according to the sexist list maker the only woman you need bother with is Sylvia Plath. Spend the rest of the time reading the dudes.

10 classic stories of suburban ennui includes only one woman, A.M. Homes.

Though Flavorpill claims there are 10 women writers we love you cant really tell that from their literary lists, can you?

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7 Comments

  1. travis 10.Nov.10 at 2:56 pm

    Not that there is not a problem, but the criticism of these lists would be more persuasive if you listed some of the titles penned by women that ought to be there.

    I look over these lists and I’m not sure I disagree with them. I don’t know that Flavorpill ought to be including lesser works because we, society as a whole, have a problem. Aren’t the categories themselves making a rigged game? It’s not that Flavorpill erred by not including enough women sidekicks but instead that the list topic itself is a gendered one.

    Reply
  2. Jodi 10.Nov.10 at 3:09 pm

    Travis, your comment assumes that the works of women are lesser simply because they are excluded. I’m not making the argument that these books aren’t worthy of being included on these lists, only that there are many books by women that are just as worthy (and in some cases more worthy) of inclusion.

    Do you really think only one book penned by a woman since 1985 can be considered essential?

    Reply
  3. Placemat 10.Nov.10 at 3:20 pm

    I’m not really sure what the author’s gender has to do with anything, male or female.
    A good book is a good book.

    Reply
  4. Polly 10.Nov.10 at 10:36 pm

    FYI – all of these links are currently broken for me. Not sure if it’s just me. I get 404d on all the ones I clicked.

    Reply
  5. Jodi 10.Nov.10 at 10:45 pm

    Damn curly quotes! I fixed the links they should work now. Thanks for telling me, Polly.

    Reply
  6. travis 12.Nov.10 at 12:15 pm

    The question is should only one of the Essential books be written by a woman.

    I want the answer to be no, but it’s not. I look at that list and am unable to think of a book written by a woman that deserves to be there more than something already there.

    Here’s the difference. I agree there is an issue about gender and authorship, but it is not Flavorpill’s fault. Looking to Flavorpill (I now use Flavorpill as a place holder for individuals and groups making calculated decisions) is a red herring. Rather, the problem is larger and structural.

    Reply
  7. Jodi 12.Nov.10 at 12:56 pm

    First I would argue there are many books that could easily take the place of the ones already there.

    Off the top of my head books by woman that are just as worthy (and in some cases more worthy): Geek Love by Katherine Dunn; The Giant’s House by Elizabeth McCracken; Beloved by Toni Morrison; Veronica by Mary Gaitskill; Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson; and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

    I would also argue that listmakers, book reviewers, and readers themselves are part of the larger, structural problem. It’s not that women aren’t writing books that are worthy of inclusion on this list (and many others) its that the men who make these lists (or write reviews or buy books) cannot seem to acknowledge their own sexism.

    Reply

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