Gender, Reading, and The Writing Life

In the Poetry/Fiction workshop yesterday, we had a discussion about gender and how it does/doesn’t affect, well, a bunch of things: the creative process, reading habits, etc. I wanted to follow-up with some source material because we — especially I — were throwing around some unsubstantiated hypotheses.

  • First, here’s a link to an NPR article on whether (and why) women read more than men. Their conclusion? Yes, especially fiction. No hard and fast answers as to why but some interesting hypotheses, mostly substantiated ones.
  • Then here’s an interesting link to an article in The Guardian (UK) about how (as opposed to how much) men and women read.

All of this is simply food for thought. As I said yesterday, hard and fast concepts of gender are probably more limiting than they are enlightening, especially in today’s day and age. My main goal is for as many of you as possible to keep writing and reading throughout your lives. The fact is, most of you are young women. If the pursuit of a writing life is somehow different for you, I think it’s useful for all of us to know why. I’m willing to entertain the idea that there are social forces that make that pursuit  different for men and women. I’m more nervous about buying into the idea that biological differences also factor in, though I do accept that as a possibility. 

The main point is, however, that regardless of the social and biological fact of gender, by virtue of the fact that you’re at ASFA, in this department, you all have the tools to be successful writers. It’s up to you to figure out what “successful” means — and maybe that’s where gender plays its biggest role in this whole discussion. 

Feel free to continue the discussion in the comments section…

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