I haven't read Maureen Dowd's Are Men Necessary?
but I did read her touted article in the NY Times
. Generally, I very much admire Dowd and her style, but her attributing her partnerless status to men not wanting to settle down with smart and ambitious women rubbed me the wrong way. I must agree with Wonkette's snipe, "Thank God we aren't as smart as she is or else we'd never have found a husband."
That aside, I've always respected that she pursued her career on her own terms. She doesn't try to mimic the other male columnists. She doesn't try to meet their standards. She meets her own. When I read her columns or watch her on Meet the Press
I never for a second forget that she's a woman. So often we're led to believe that to succeed we need to mask being a woman or at the very least, not put it out front and center.
But do men ever get so distracted or so impressed that they forget we're women? When it comes to our art or our careers, should we take one second to consider "how will this play to the men?" That seems awfully distracting.
Perhaps it should be a consideration if we work in certain sections of advertising.
A couple months after I launched No Tell Motel
, I noticed that we were accepting a lot of work from women. This surprised me because the majority of literary journals publish a majority of men. I like a lot of male poets. I even assumed I preferred male poets. I had read a lot more men. I mentioned this to my friend and he said, "That's because men aren't sending to No Tell
. The design. All that pink! What man would want his poems there?"
This worried me. I wondered if by simply being myself was I alienating/turning off potential male contributors?
I have some anecdotal experiences that suggest that might be the case in some instances.
But let's do the man thing and look at the numbers. As of tonight, No Tell
has published (or agreed to publish) 31 men (46%) and 36 women (54%).
A noticeable lean towards women. Compared to many other poetry magazines we're practically the Lifetime
But my friend was wrong. Apparently many men want do want their poems to be surrounded by sweet girlie pinkiness. 55% of our submissions have been sent by men while only 40% are from women. I am not sure about 5% -- the authors either used initials or have gender neutral names.
When I read a poetry magazine, I never start counting women. If it's a 60/40 ratio (either way), I'm probably not going to notice. But when it's around 80% male, I do notice. How could I not? It's the same way when I walk into a room. If there's 20 people in a room and only 4 are women, it's a sausage party.
I'm writing that matter-of-factly. That doesn't upset me. There are lots of reasons why publications lean certains ways. Most of these reasons aren't nearly as insidious as some might suggest. I guess I could spend a bunch of time pointing out why this is and what they should do to change and make themselves more open or representative or do something they're not doing.
But who am I to tell you how to do your job? I don't want you to tell me how to do my job. I don't want my job to be pointing out everything that's wrong with your job.
I'll just show you how it's supposed to be done and you can either appreciate what I'm doing or you can find reasons to dismiss or ignore the job I'm doing.
It's OK. I don't want to conquer the world. I want to co-exist.
And be worshipped.