A question of Gender
If you found a book that interested you, and you read it cover to cover and liked it, would it matter to you who the author was? Would knowing the author’s name change whether or not you liked the book? Would the author’s gender matter to you?
My answer to all of those questions is no.
It might be of interest to me that a particular book was written by a man or a woman, in that “huh, that’s cool”, kind of way, but would I be upset to find out that an author was (or identified) as one particular gender or another? No way. As with everything in life, someone’s gender (or gender identity) has nothing to do with their talent, their intelligence, or their creative soul. Their gender has nothing to do with whether they are able to write a good story, and it certainly has nothing to do with whether they ought to be writing in any genre.
Another question for you. If an author has a gender-ambiguous pen name, does that mean they are being disingenuous? If they are female and write under a traditionally male name does that mean they are ashamed of who they are?
Certainly not. A person may write under any pen name they choose. Authors that write under pen names have important reasons for doing so, and I assure you that the use of pen names is about privacy, not about shame or deceit. And, yes, and author is entitled to their privacy. A reader is not entitled to know everything there is to know about an author. Authors are not required to have a public face; they are not required to blog, or to make public appearances, sign books, or any of those things. And the simple fact is that not every author can do those things anyway. A lot of us (yours truly included) have day jobs and families and other committments. If a writer chooses to appear in public in person or on the internet it’s generally because they want to meet their readers and other authors, and they want to market their work.
And my final point is that no one should ever make accusations without getting their facts straight. Bear in mind that the internet is often not the place to turn to for dependable information.
My points are these:
1. An author’s work speaks for itself. Just as we’re told we should never judge a book by it’s cover, never judge an author by their gender representation (or lack thereof). Read, and judge them fairly.
2. Authors are people, too. Human beings with lives, family, stress, adversity, and bills to pay just like everyone else. Real people with real feelings. Think twice before you treat them otherwise.
Thank you for reading.
Posted in musings