I’m all for this kind of transparency and for conscious and unconscious biases against certain categories of writers–whether it be women or whatever–not being perpetuated. The post is in response to this post, but doesn’t in any way mention some of the stats mentioned there about the percentages in prior Talebones issues.
But I also have to say that the statistics cited in Tempest’s post mean absolutely nothing without (1) knowing how many women versus men submitted to these publications and (2) what the quality of those rejected submissions was (by some objective criteria that weeds out the obviously unpublishable). The same for the Talebones stats.
If you really wanted to be attentive to detail, you’d also break down those stories as to which perpetuate gender stereotypes and cliches, and then which of those types of stories are by men or by women. (But that would be madness, because a certain level of subjectiveness enters into all of this.)
Otherwise, again, those numbers mean nothing. I know Ann, for example, who is definitely left-leaning and feminist, is publishing more stories by men than by women in Weird Tales. What exactly does this tell us? What should it tell us? Does it mean anything at all?
And: What would happen if most magazines had writers submit their stories blind through some submission form, where the editors wouldn’t know the gender of the person submitting? It’d be interesting, that’s for sure. In addition to possible changes in the gender percentages of published stories, you would MOST DEFINITELY see a rise in the rate of rejected submissions by “established” writers.
Please note that the post includes this “stabilizing” statement, although I’m not sure who the “we” is since as far as I know the person posting is not speaking in any formal sense for any particular organization or group: “(And let me point out again: we have not asked them to publish stories JUST because they were written by women, or to not publish stories JUST because they were written by men.)”
So let me include this “stabilizing” statement, purely on my own behalf: posting questions about this issue does not in any way indicate I’m unsympathetic to a level playing field or think in any way that this is not a serious issue.