I was clued in today to a post on Strange Horizons detailing the gender breakdown of SFF reviews and reviewers. Considering the rabid cesspit of racism and misogyny that is geekdom, it comes as no surprise that everything skews male. The numbers made me wonder about Two Dudes and how we measure up here. I assumed that things would be pretty heavily male here also, considering that that I (Pep) do most of the posting and my core reading is done in Hard SF. Of all the genres and subgenres of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Hard SF is the most traditionally male, except for perhaps right wing military SF. Obviously the posts on here are 100% written by men, but that is mainly because I can’t find any women who will write for free. Neither Dude has any objections to women writing for Two Dudes (despite the name) and would actually love the contrasting views. In terms of review subjects though, we have no such constraints. This is the 151st post on the site, with the following numbers:
Male authors: 105
Female authors: 17
Misc. posts, movies, announcements, etc.: 29
This is a bit of a shock. I knew that I read more books by men, but I thought that women would make up more than 15% of the reviews here. I don’t personally care much who writes my books, but numbers like this imply that I am indeed favoring the masculine side of SFF, however unconscious it may be. I don’t think of myself as part of the problem of misogyny in the SFF community, but I may not be part of the solution either. I try to bring up gender issues in my posts, encourage my daughter to explore science, and fight back against stupidity when I see it, but if I’m not supporting the women writing SFF by reading it and talking about it, I fear I’m not helping enough.
I’m not sure what to do about this. Without looking, I would guess that the majority of my 2013 Must Read List is also male. It may be time for a bit of self-reflection, a second look at my reading plans for the coming months, and some thinking time about how my underlying assumptions of SFF may be helping or hurting the rest of the community.