Artistic Sexism

18 May, 2010 | Written WordTdp

Where are all the female writers and directors? raises some interesting questions and not just the one in the title. Why are there fewer female artisans? Is it purely a perception issue: they are out there but we haven't heard of them? Is it because there are fewer? Is it because they are not recognised or don't shout as loud as their male colleagues? I don't know.

One thing that did strike me as odd what the founding of the Orange Prize for Fiction. A prize only open to women founded in response to none being nominated in 1991's Booker Prize shortlist. Surely it would be better to fight for recognition for women in the existing prizes, for demanding an equal playing field rather than just wandering off and making up your own prize which then sweeps the issue under the rug? It even gives whoever decides on the Booker Prize an out, they can argue that a female writer will be up for the Orange prize anyway so no need to put them in the Booker.

The argument is it has helped recognition of female writers, even in the Booker. Whether it has or is merely coincidence is a question that is hard to answer.