The VIDA method

VIDA is an organization dedicated to discussing and promoting women in the literary arts. Every year, they do a little tally to see how some of the most influential literary magazines stack up when it comes to publishing content by women. Here’s an example:

In addition to the Atlantic, Vida graphed the track records of the London Review of Books, Harpers, Boston Review, Granta, and several others. Shockingly, women-authored pieces were outnumbered (badly) in most publication.

Fun game, right? There are three magazines in my house right now, TimeOut Chicago, The University of Chicago Magazine, and Vanity Fair. Just for kicks, let’s see how they stack up, shall we?

Quick note on methodology: I literally just counted bylines of everything with a byline. The “Unknowns” are people have either initials for names for which I couldn’t determine a gender (“Punch,” for example).

Obviously, it’s a ridiculously small samples size that would not pass any statistical measures. The point is to ask ourselves about the publications we read, and the people they choose to publish. That’s not to suggest every magazine should strive for a 50/50 split, only that such an overwhelming display of male bylines by the most prestigious literary magazines in the world should make us all raise an eyebrow. I think it’s particularly interesting to see progressive bastions (like The Nation) that devote immense and admirable page space to sexual equality with such demonstrably unequal bylines.

Related Post: Influence, who’s got it?

Related Post: The Vanity Fair Hollywood list.



Filed under Chicago, Gender, Media

3 responses to “The VIDA method

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