Why Are Female Fantasy Authors Pushed To The Back Of The Bus?

I think it’s valuable to spread the word about topics that are important to writers everywhere, such as this one. Gender bias is just unfair in that it makes undue assumptions about groups of people. I say prove it, or start treating people equally, or based on individual merit.

Leona's Blog of Shadows

There was an interesting thread on reddit /r/Fantasy

where I learned some rather disturbing facts about the publishing industry. The person who opened the thread was wondering why women prefer writing teen romance centered Urban Fantasy and YA Fantasy and why there are too few female epic fantasy authors.

I have to shamefully admit I had the same misconception myself since this is the pattern I see in the best seller lists, book blogs and the word on the street. Big shot female authors who write fantasy write YA and UF centered on romance. Hardly any female names pop up in epic fantasy category. There is Robin Hobb, but she is where she is today because Robin Hobb is a gender neutral pseudonym. I had no idea she was a woman until last year. I know I am not alone in this, I talked to a number of her readers who thought she was…

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5 thoughts on “Why Are Female Fantasy Authors Pushed To The Back Of The Bus?”

    1. You know, I’m willing to admit that, as an author, I do sometimes deliberately make use of this stereotype. Seriously – I sometimes use it. I’m a guy. I write epic fantasy, thrillers and kids books (out soon :p) but I know my strengths and (many) weaknesses. If I want to figure out how to write more realistic, believable interpersonal relationships which my female audience will appreciate, I find a few indie, YA or similar books with romancy cover art, buy them on amazon.com and read them.

      Is this bad? Everyone? Is it wrong? Are these female YA, indie authors even really females? :p Maybe there’s a qualitative difference between using BS stereotypes to hold people down and using the very same BS stereotypes to lift them up? Is that just chauvinistic BS too?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have a fairly good reason for this. Girls are brought up playing wirh dolls, pink, teddy bears and fashion accessories while boys have guns, hot wheels, lego blocks and video games.
    It is not their fault what has been imprinted into their brains since childhood. That’s why girls are always biased towards love stories and UF. You are also right in saying that the SF world is biased against female authors. But they have brought this upon themselves.

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    1. I watched a documentary about this a while ago. Apparently girls and boys have similar/identical approaches to risk until about ago 4. This is seen as a good indicator for what we’re talking about here… I think they said. After that, boys grow less risk-averse while girls go the opposite direction. It’s still an open question if it’s biology or culture that’s driving the change. 3 points about it though.

      1) These kids are 4yo, so it’s not reasonable to assign blame to them and say things like “they have brought it on themselves”.

      2) It seems likely (to me at least) that a lot of the difference you mentioned could be biological, which makes all sorts of blame irrelevant and unfair.

      3) None of this says anything about who can write good sci-fi.

      I have to believe that your main point is correct though, and it basically says “culture did it”, or to put it like a teenager would, “my parents made me this way”. Still not the author’s fault but a lot easier to remedy.

      I have a 12yo step-daughter. 1 of her friends has suddenly started wearing all pink and is steering herself very much towards all of that stereotypical ‘girlie’ stuff, and they’re all at exactly “that” age for it. I’ve met her parents. They seem like normal, well-adjusted people. Not “pink-wearers” at all. Well, maybe a smidgen. This is a change the 12yo is initiating, and I can’t spot an obvious external source. Her other friend is cutting, shaving and dying her hair black and red, getting nose, ear, etc rings, wearing black clothing with alcohol logos on it and all that. 3 best friends, all with reasonably normal families, all going different directions. You could claim 1 of the friends is becoming a bimbo while the other is now emo. If they were authors, I would expect romance from pinkie and either slasher poetry or shifter pron from emo girl. Those are the cultural stereotypes, and based on their reading habits, probably true. I have no idea what it all means or where it comes from. Neither of them is even slightly interested in sci-f until Hollywood tells them to like it. But by then Divergent is a romance for them, I guess.

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      1. They once showed it on Discovery why girls tend to be “girly”. The study said girls look at everything with them included in it. For example if they think about a dark cave with monsters, they imagine themselves right in the cave with them. For the boys, everything comes in a 3rd person perspective. They have the ability to think things completely irrelevant to them.
        I don’t exactly remember what is the reason for this, but this explains things about SF. Girls have a limited imagination as compared to boys. Their instinct of including themselves into everything they think about constricts them.

        And when it comes to “Pink” or “goth”, I once heard about a crazy lady who brought up her son as a daughter till the age of twelve. He remained girlish with for the rest of his life.

        All I am saying is that girls’ thinking or conditioning or biology or anything you might like; restricts them from a certain aspect of life and a few areas of imagination. That is why they are a little different and flourish in romance rather than sci-fi like boys.
        And I read fiction written by female author myself, and maybe 1% or so of them are epic, but you cannot use an exception as an example.

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