Feminist Boot Camp #7

One of the dirty little secrets about the whole women complaining about lack of representation in the book reviewing business is the fact that many women won’t review.

Why won’t they?

The generous response I give often has to do with a fear of confrontation, a fear of mastery, an unwillingness to take a fixed position (I might change my mind…) and argue, a general level of discomfort with all things public.

There’s another bit that people don’t want to talk about. It’s got to do with the fact of reviewing being hard work, for one, and yes, part of why women might shy away from that is they have children and domestic responsibilities on top of career responsibilities….but their are also many women who feel that it’s dirty work.

Reviewing is somehow a dirty business. It weakens the poet profile. I’ve heard this strand of conversation at many a dining table at Banff, for example. Don’t dirty your public profile with opinions of others work. It will come back to haunt you.


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