Going back to one of my previous posts, “Writing in Competition,” here is a list of my top ten competitors:
- Stephen King
- Shirley Jackson
- Joe Hill
- Anne McCaffrey
- H.P. Lovecraft
- J.K. Rowling
- Rick Riordan
- Kevin Hearne
- George R.R. Martin
- Mary Shelley
As you can see, the majority of the authors I consider my top competitors are men. Coming from a woman who considers herself a feminist, this might seem strange. I should be reading and drawing inspiration from the likes of Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Gertrude Stein, or other famously feminist writers (some of which can be found here).
Well, the answer lies in genre. I read and write what the pretentious call “speculative fiction” – horror, fantasy, science fiction, and their various subgenres. These genres, especially horror and science fiction, have historically been dominated by men, as is the case with most literature.
Many would argue that this is why it’s important to read more women writers. And to an extent, this is true. We do need to be paying attention to women writers, and giving more of them a platform. This is why I write under an iteration of my own name, rather than under a male sounding pseudonym It won’t get any easier for women to publish “speculative fiction” unless more women start trying to publish under those genres. Yes, that means I’m going to have to work harder than I would otherwise, but that is a whole other blog post.
But as important as it is to read women writers, it is also important not to ignore male writers who have done and are doing important things in the genre. Just because it’s easier for a man to publish a horror novel than it is for a woman, doesn’t mean his work is subpar (though there are some who would argue that that is the case for Stephen King; they would, for the most part, be wrong).
Being a feminist, I do believe that all genders should have equal rights and opportunities. However, that does not mean we should ignore the accomplishments and works of individuals from the dominant gender. To do so is just another form of sexism.