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Women's Literature and Women in Literature

Amy Leibowitz lesbian books lesbian fiction lgbtqia books queer women women women who love women

This past week, we took in the last of the submissions for our upcoming anthology, Upstaged! Queer Women in Performing Arts. Official acceptance and rejection letters were sent, and we're good to go.

I'm particularly excited about this anthology because I want to see more stories that center women. In queer lit, there's no question that stories about men tend to dominate in every corner.

Over the past several years, I've observed this phenomenon, and it isn't a whole lot different from any other corner of the literary world. Men (particularly cisgender men) are the default.

While it's exciting to see gay books and films becoming more mainstream, lesbian media has yet to have the same success. This is despite the widespread belief that it's "easier" for women, largely because objectification is conflated with acceptance.

In reality, queer women are doing less well than their male counterparts. Women are more likely to be living in poverty, whether they are single, partnered, or parenting. It's true across all age groups, but the gap is even wider among the elderly.

There's a certain viewpoint that suggests if we can accept queer (cisgender) men, then everything else will fall into place. But trickle-down social justice doesn't work any more effectively than trickle-down economics has.

One thing I want to see is more media in which women are not an afterthought or the objects of the male gaze. We can't complain that there's not enough good literature about queer women and girls and then turn around and perpetuate the problem by exclusively reading or writing about men and boys.

There's a difference between women-centered stories and stories that have women in them. If men's experiences and feelings can be universal, why can't women's? Let's show the world that when it comes to media, there isn't a default gender.

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