This is why we need women only book prizes…

Hands up those who get sick of explaining why we still need feminism? 664392

It doesn’t seem to matter what statistics say about the gender pay gap, occupational segregation, family violence, women in leadership, poverty, misogyny in mainstream and social media etcetera – some remain unconvinced.

Hands up those who get sick of explaining why we still need women only book prizes?  

‘Gynobibliophobia’*?

Last week the Guardian published a piece on the Stella Prize: Stella prize 2016 announces longlist of 12 books by Australian women‘. For my across-the-waters-friends who may not have heard of it, the Stella Prize celebrates Australian women writers’ contribution to literature and aims to bring more readers to books by women.

What was interesting, other than the tantalising list of books itself, was the article’s comments section.  Nothing is more likely to rile commentators than when women point out sexism and then, in particular, have the temerity to try to address it. So I read the comments with my fingers, figuratively, covering my eyes.

May We Be Forgiven, by A. M. Homes

‘Flippant’ is a word forever associated in my mind with The Great Gatsby. As our year 7 substitute teacher valiantly catalogued the virtues of The Great Gatsby, she used the word ‘flippant’ one too many times.  It was a small error, but one that we couldn’t forgive; it alienated the class from her and us from the book.

Flippant is the first word that also comes to mind with May We Be Forgiven. Although, that’s where the associations with Gatsby come to an end.  The Scott Fitzgerald novel conveys big themes of class, mortality, isolation etcetera etcetera whereas May We Be Forgiven does none of this and ultimately for me, boils down lots of snide banter.