Goose and Gander

So, the Spec Fic world is drawing up the battle lines again, as a bunch of anthologies are hitting the shelves with very little (or no) representation from people who are not A) white, B) male, and C) straight.  The old “best is best, regardless of chromosomal pairings and sexual orientation” argument vs. “people who aren’t straight white men are writing incredible fiction, so where the hell is it?” one.  I’ve always wondered something, and if you’ve got an opinion I’d love to hear it!

Some female authors have used male pen names to get published in a male dominated industry.  With (some) publishers now much more aware of maintaining a better sexual balance on their Tables of Contents, is it acceptable for a male author to use a female pen name to “break in” as well?  Why or why not?


3 responses to “Goose and Gander

  • Thoraiya

    It’s been done in the romance genre, as I understand it.

    Acceptable? Until women authors are getting parity everywhere from SF awards lists to SFWA membership, taking the place of a real woman in a deliberately balanced TOC would be a bit like an able-bodied person parking in a handicapped spot.

    But plenty of people do that, when they’re desperate enough for a park. So it depends on what kind of person you are and how desperate you are to break in.

    But I really think it would be a wasted effort that would not pay off at all, if the thinking is that the womens’ stories don’t have to be as good, when often they have to be much better 🙂


  • christophergreen

    My opinion is that women using male pen names is/was acceptable (at least to me) because it is/was a weapon against the status quo, whereas a male author who did the reverse would be supporting it. And, as we all know, the status is NOT quo… 🙂

    I had a witty comment about your analogy, but i ditched it. Hell, the reaility is I’m not a woman and don’t know what it’s like to be one. I don’t know how to fix the issue and yet I don’t want to divorce myself from it.

  • Thoraiya

    Yeah…I don’t know what it’s like to be a man, but I know what it’s like to feel guilty about an unequal status quo that you had no part in creating.

    You don’t write sexist stories! That’s what you’re doing to fix the issue, and thanks, that is plenty enough for me.


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