A couple of things related to a previous post about gender and book-blogging caught our attention recently, so we thought we'd take a moment to consider what, if any, help they might be.
First, Ed Champion, in breaking down Michiko Kakutani's apparent distaste for fiction, provided a list of the most negative (mainstream) book reviewers working today. That discussion is interesting in itself, but what we noticed was the gender-spread, or rather, the relative lack of one; of the sixteen reviewers listed, ten are men.
Along the same lines, we came across More Intelligent Life's 2008 list of best book reviewers. Of the ten reviewers mentioned, eight are men. It also seems worth noting that one of the female reviewers was Jessica Crispin of Bookslut, who works primarily online. (The other, not surprisingly, is Kakutani).
We noted these the gender paradigms of these lists but were having a hard time relating it to the dominance of women in book blogging circles until Girl from the Ghetto made a remark in a discussion the Ape started on the Book Blog Ning: "Niche bloggers aka male (and all other kinds) bloggers don't fit into the existing molds. I believe until someone breaks the book blogging mold, it is going to stay exactly the same."
Though her astute remark was about book blogging, it came to us that we might consider the make-up of book bloggers as being itself a reaction to the male-dominated mainstream book reviewing establishment. Here's what we wrote in respose: "I mean, can it be a coincidence that the most books most discussed online (YA/romance/chick lit/scifi/paranormal) are precisely the kinds of books that would have a damn near impossible time being included in the NY Times, The Washington Post, etc? This might help explain why so few men blog about books--male-oriented book discussion already HAS a venue."
Does it seem reasonable to think that as mainstream reviewing is more and more an online practice that the gender disparity among book bloggers will change? Or has the die for book blogging largely been cast?