Wednesday, August 5, 2015

IWSG - A rose by any other name would be 13% less awesome

This month's IWSG is co hosted by Nancy Gideon, Bob R Milne, Doreen McGettigan, Chrys Fey, Bish Denham, and Pat Garcia.

OF course, you should always hop on by the Ninja Captain's secret camp and jump on the linky. 

Right on to the main event. 

I don't know if anyone else saw this, but here it is. This article makes me want to cry. 

Go ahead, go read it. 

A lot of people are saying that it doesn't mean anything. A lot of people are saying that it just means that agents are nicer to men because they figure women can handle the truth but men need to be coddled. 

I'm afraid it does mean something. It's the truth. In academia, they did a similar experiment with applicants to work in science labs across the country and found that male applicants were seen as 13 percent more competent when the only difference in their resume was whether it was a girl's name or a boy's name. 13 percent. The author of this article quotes much higher numbers, ~ 33%, but it's the bias that is important to understand. It's important to note that the lab technician experiment had exactly the same bias across both sexes. Well respected, women scientists rated the boy's application higher than the girl's and the only difference was the name.

I've struggled with sexism in my writing before. It is so pervasive that the first comments out of people's mouths when I pitched a particular book with a woman protag who needed to go save the world was "but who's going to watch her kids?"

No really, that was the feedback I got. Nevermind that the mom is going out to SAVE the World and therefore HER KIDS! Everyone wanted to make sure she was raising those kids right. Oddly, when I changed the pitch to make sure that the kids were responsibly being watched, they feedback was, "but how can she leave her kids to go fight a war?"

This always upset me. Women leave their kids to go fight wars. They have always done so. In recent days, they have done so in the US Armed Forces. And we don't have a lot of fiction that captures how they feel absolutely torn inside about how they want to be the ones tucking their kids into bed at night, but someone has to protect and serve our nation. 

No one asks Superman who's watching his kids, he just has to save the world. This sort of sexism and bias has hurt me in many ways, probably ways I'll never realize, so this article about a woman changing her name makes me want to stop fighting. It makes me want to close down my blog, delete my FB and twitter accounts and set up shop as Guy Fasseless. 

So, I'm insecure because I already know that just having my name on the book means it's already seen as at least 13% not as good as if I wrote as Robert Rocford. 

Thoughts? Comments? 

(also, I totally reserve the right to delete comments that are just nasty, as this is my blog and all)


  1. Similarly, there was a tweet from the English Football Association after the women's team were knocked out in the semi-final saying "now they can go back to being wives and mothers" (or something along those lines.) The tweet was deleted, and they apologised, but someone wrote it!

  2. I don't see why it matters. It shouldn't.
    And yes, I know a lot of women in the military who have to leave their children to go TDY.

  3. I absolutely hate that this happens, and that it's so ingrained that most people giving preferential treatment to someone with a male name probably don't even realize they're doing it. "Keep trying, you'll find the right person to rep your work" rings pretty hollow when there's the chance that someone might only rep you if you meet some guideline that has nothing to do with your actual work. Gah. >_<

  4. How did I not make it here for IWSG?

    I've heard that it's the same when querying--that men get taken more seriously than women. I've debated using my male pen name just to see, and very shortly when I shoot off some of my adult fiction, I will. Heck, I need that extra 13%. (Don't we all?)


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