I am trying, yet once again to get back on the blogging wagon. Now that I don't have mandatory readings, I hope to try and share my opinions on books.
I personally believe that Booklikes can be a forum to discuss issues that go beyond book reviews, into talking about the publishing industry, academic analysis of literature and other similar subjects.
It appears that in a recent interview Professor David Gilmour confidently stated
I’m not interested in teaching books by women. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys.Real guy-guys. Unfortunately, none of those happen to be Chinese, or women. Except for Virginia Woolf. And when I tried to teach Virginia Woolf, she’s too sophisticated, even for a third-year class. What I teach is guys. Serious heterosexual guys. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chekhov, Tolstoy. Real guy-guys. Henry Miller. Philip Roth.
The blatant misogyny, homophobia and sexism in the statement is not the only problem; rather, stories and storytelling are essential in humanizing people who would otherwise remain in a group characterized as 'the other'. And the rob young people of the opportunity to understand issues through different lenses is nothing less than to perpetuate the oppression of the privileged over the less privileged. Oh and failing to see the issue with only teaching about white, european/european descendent, middle class men, reeks privilege.
There is a big woman problem in literature as it stands and to have a professor (and a novelist on top of that!) so irresponsibly uphold the barriers that women writers face-- well it makes my blood boil. Keep in mind that these days the majority of readers are... women!
I'm sorry that I cannot make any argument which is more coherent about why I feel Gilmour's statement is wrong. Instead I wish to invite readers to comment and to consult the following resources:
Problems in American Literature
"Why are some themes (courtship, family life) or forms (the short story) typically regarded as less significant than others (war, adventure, the epic novel)? How is it that purportedly lightweight themes suddenly become momentous in critics’ eyes when the novelist who takes them up is a man (Jonathan Franzen, Jeffrey Eugenides)?"
Read article here.
Roxane Gay's response and suggested reading list. Click here.
And of course Maureen Johnson!
"My college reading was 90% male.. In high school, I took four years of English, including advanced classes. I can only remember reading two works by women in all of high school, and they were both poems. One was by Anne Bradstreet (1612-1672) and the other by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886). And I went to an all-girls school, where catering to the reading tastes and styles of boys wasn’t even an issue. Later, my reading lists were full of people like Norman Mailer, Phillip Roth, David Mamet, and John Updike. Which is fine and good, I guess, but do you know how much I read about aging men and their penises and their lust for younger women and their hatred of their castrating wives? I read enough stories about male writing professors having midlife crises and lusting after young students to last me seven lifetimes"
Full post here.
Ok, peeps, I think I gave you plenty of extra reading. Let me know your opinions or don't. It is fine with me. xox, S.