#IWSG: Do Men Write Book Reviews?

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INSECURE WRITERS SUPPORT GROUP, IWSG

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

March 1 Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I did a couple of short, short stories many years ago. Then after a couple of computer changes, those documents were lost. I’ve always wanted to redo them but hesitate. It would feel like trying to copy an original. I’ve never liked singers who try to redo the original masterpiece. It’s never the same, not as good as the first piece. But, those two do haunt me. Perhaps …..

The awesome co-hosts for the March 1 posting of the IWSG are

Tamara Narayan, Patsy Collins, M.J. Fifield, and Nicohle Christopherson!

During Forbidden’s recent book launch, I noted that the majority of the people who responded to my ads were men. Their location was largely in the Middle East region so I assumed I had attracted the attention of US military personnel. I was pleased – at first. One of my goals was to entice both men and women to be Forbidden’s target audience. And, of course, given the popularity of Forbidden during the Amazon FREE promo, all those happy readers would write a review. Double good.

Please Write a Review.
Please Write a Review.

Well, then a second thought dashed those hopes. Do men write reviews? If so, are their opinions valued equal to women?

Here’s an article by VIDA: Women read more than men—by a particularly wide margin when it comes to fiction. So why is it that male voices, both as authors and as critics, continue to be given way more authority in the world of book reviewing? A new study out by VIDA, a group dedicated to improving women’s representation in the literary world, shows that while things are improving slowly, men are still way overrepresented when it comes to book reviewing. Hannah Ellis-Petersen at the Guardian reports:

Apparently, according to VIDA, men’s reviews are taken more seriously then reviews written by women (rolling my eyes). But if a man reads a book , I’m thinking they are probably less inclined to write reviews than women. What is your experience with respect to men writing book reviews?

 

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14 thoughts on “#IWSG: Do Men Write Book Reviews?

  1. I don’t really have a concrete opinion about men and women writing reviews. I tend to read a review regardless of the gender of the person and purchase or not purchase it based on how impressed I was from the review. I can say that both men and women read my reviews and and have taken my advice concerning a book.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat

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  2. I suppose I’m the exception in my family as I read more than my finance, sister, or mother. Being in no way affiliated with the industry, and so have no idea about the disparity of female authors, but I can say that 4 of the last 5 books I’ve read have been by female authors:

    Ancillary Sword – Ann Leckie
    Ancillary Justice – Ann Leckie
    Paladin of Souls – Lois McMaster Bujold
    Kushiel’s Dart – Jacqueline Corey
    Redshirts – John Scazli

    I do read mostly SF/F, especially fantasy, so maybe there is more representation in these genres?

    I have noticed that most of my fellow book reviewers have been women (perhaps because as you point out more women read than men) so you might have something there. I wouldn’t say they are given less weight however. At least of the reviewers I follow the women tend to have far more professional, and helpful reviews than my own. Their blogs are also far more presentable, and all are more awesome as well! When I look for a blog to follow the main thing I look for is are they reading the types of books I want to read myself. The blogger’s sex never comes into it for me.

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  3. As far as reviews, mostly, negative. But not all. Most claim the ‘love’ story turns them off, but read their stories and you’ll see plenty of, well, maybe I should just call it attraction???

    Still, I’ve seen it in person at book signings. The male authors are surrounded by readers, the female authors, grasping for stragglers. Go figure?
    The lousy part, most of those readers are women – are we all just looking for a little flirt time? Seriously ladies, he’s not even good looking! LOL

    I don’t have an answer, but the readers are mostly women and yet, it’s the men who get the attention – is it because the publishing world is still controlled by mostly men? Do we as women, give less support to our own, if so, why?

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  4. Interesting. I knew that women generally read more than men, and also that paradoxically men are overrepresented in publishing. I wasn’t aware of this issue with reviews.

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  5. One factor for your question: patriarchy. Men’s opinions are valued over women’s in many areas beyond books. There is still divisiveness in workforces; look at recent headlines for Uber. The very existence of Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In shows how uneven men and women are treated–and behave–in the workforce. If only women would speak up more, be more aggressive in meetings etc… so in other words, if only women would act more like men (in a stereotypical way–obviously this does not account for every single person ever or for non-gender conforming individuals; I’m speaking broadly).

    Romance writers are leaders in the industry, but given romance books are in industry primarily written by women and for women, it is frequently mocked, shamed, and devalued. Sometimes this happens from other women. These books are never literary enough, they are dismissed as trash and guilty pleasures, as if the very stories of women have no value and must be hidden. I think the perceptive is changing, slowly, as news outlets like NPR and Jezebel have shined light on romance in a positive light. But every February, you still get the posts with photos of Fabio where the article author questions the validity of romance as real fiction. Typically these articles do not reference any romance from the past 10 years with exception of 50 Shades of Gray. I liken this to myself writing an article about the state of the NFL and only referencing Joe Montana and the ’86 Chicago Bears.

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    1. I wasn’t aware that male reviewers tend to be taken more seriously, but I’d say that I agree with this sadly. Looking down on romance fiction is part of a broader trend of looking down on traditionally feminine activities – Emma Watson’s modelling shots being a current example.

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  6. Hmm, an interesting question. My books are decidedly girlish, so it’s not surprising I don’t have many reviews by men. How irritating that their reviews are considered to weigh heavier than those by women.

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  7. Hmmmm! I never thought of it. When I was writing Western romances, I had a lot of male readers who’d comment in person but few that left a reviews. I think sharing may be more of a female thing (not trying to sound sexiest here) or maybe it’s just the slant of the venue for reviews.

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  8. A minuscule of my readers are men. I guess that may be related to writing romance, but it seems like so many more women read than men. I think men are missing out! I called one male reviewer out on Goodreads for disparaging chick lit.

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