On the heels of the recent SheKilda crime festival, best-selling author Tara Moss posted a story on her blog on the under-representation of women in the literary world.
In “Are our Sisters In Crime (still) fighting against a male-dominated literary world?”, she states that women are still dealing with many of the same issues of bias as they did a quarter of a century ago when Sisters of Crime was first established in the US.
In response, The Age arts critic Cameron Woodhead, said on Moss’ blog: “I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but this is the kind of privileged whining that annoys the crap out of me. What about the book-based stats that actually fundamentally affect people’s quality of life?”
Moss responded with: “I’m sorry that these types of discussions irk you so. It is not ‘privileged whining’ to point out statistics relevant to gender bias in the literary world.”
“That your column has highlighted talented female authors for the past four weeks does not cancel out the statistics above… Denying that an imbalance remains doesn’t help anyone.”
After some heated debate, Woodhead claimed it was “beneath his dignity to argue with children”.
“And you seem to be inventing things I didn’t say just so you can argue with them. That is the habit of a child. Arguing with children is beneath my dignity, and it’s beneath yours to imitate one.”
Reader Sean said: “You know what annoys the crap out of me? It is the inevitable privileged whining from a man on a post about gender bias against women – with ‘look here, men are disadvantaged too’ and a defensive ‘look at me I judge works on their merit, not the gender of their authors’ comments.”
And, somewhere in the mellee, reader Malcolm said: “I came for a spirited debate.. and all I got was the privileged whining of Mr Woodhead.. twitter let me down.”
After Woodhead called PM Newton “a bit slow”, Moss responded with: “I guess I’m a bit slow as well, Cameron.”
“I confess I have found your reaction(s) to this blog fascinating. You seem to have said that gender bias isn’t a problem because you don’t do it, then that there is a bias, but it’s still ‘privileged whining’ to point it out because there are more important issues.”
Here’s Moss’ original blog post. Judge for yourself:
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