Friday, 3 August 2012

Go Girls!

Perlentaucher took me to Deutschlandfunk, where they report on an academic conference by the name of Fiktionen und Realitäten - Schiftstellerinnen im deutschsprachigen Literaturbetrieb. It sounds like it must have been absolutely fascinating, looking at women writers and "performance", how women writers are marketed (more emphasis on autobiographical details and family) and what women earn in the literary arena. This is my favourite part:
The annual average income in the "Word" section (of the artists' social insurance scheme) for men is 19,523 euro, for women 14,604 euro – women who write thus earn an average of 4,919 euro less than their male counterparts.
Fourteen and a half thousand euros. Per year. As they point out, most of them have another job to keep afloat. And they also say that women writers still feel discriminated against, citing a short piece by the very successful Julia Franck. As I've noted (and puzzled over) in the past, women's writing is also less frequently translated into English than men's books. And think of all those women who still write under gender-neutral initials rather than their first names - although that's not the case in German-speaking countries, as far as I'm aware.

At least, or at least for the time being, women writers aren't being called "girls" any more. If there's one thing that gets my goat it's the infantilisation of women by means of patronising labels like "Mädchenwunder" and ridiculous headlines like "Go Girls!" when referring to grown adults.

Women write good books. Get over it - and pay them equal respect and equal fees.

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