Thursday News: gender and book coverage, Nintendo, fatphobia in YA, and one-book wonders
New study shows gender gap narrowing in book coverage – VIDA’s latest study demonstrates that strides are being made in the representation of both men and women, although they are not consistently large or equally distributed across publications.
VIDA, otherwise known as Women in Literary Arts, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that The New Republic and Harper’s were among those showing notable increases in the representation of women in their book coverage. VIDA chair Amy King said the report showed some “upticks worth noting,” but also cautioned against possible backlash that “happens with increased awareness.”
“We see regular improvements, some large and some incremental, which makes us cautiously optimistic; however even great strides seem to also regularly take one or two steps back,” said King, noting, for instance, that men outnumbered women by 2-to-1 for The Paris Review’s book coverage in 2015. Two years earlier, the ratio was nearly even. – StarTribune (AP)
Nintendo Employee ‘Terminated’ After Smear Campaign Over Censorship, Company Denies Harassment Was Factor [UPDATED] – Alison Rapp, who worked for Nintendo’s Treehouse division, was fired by the company after enduring months and months of online harassment. This piece from Heavy has a detailed breakdown of the situation, as well. Rapp was accused of such contradictory things as supporting child pornography (based on a twisted reading of a college paper she wrote) and de-sexualizing Japanese games for the US market. Nintendo claimed she was “moonlighting” in contravention of company culture, but Rapp claims that Nintendo overtly supported such activities. Regardless of the reasons for her termination, Nintendo did nothing to support Rapp through the months of targeting.
Rapp had been a target at least since last fall, receiving so much online venom that she published a round-up of some of the worst of it. People had been calling her “cancerous” and a “feminazi face piercings bitch.” They dug through her online wish-lists to shame her, seeking anything to ruin her rep. That continued as Rapp remained on the bad end of cannon shots in gaming’s culture war. She was labelled a social justice warrior and blamed for what appeared to be Nintendo’s efforts to tone down sexualized elements in Western versions of games Nintendo had already published in Japan. . . .
We don’t know the full details of what happened, or what the conversations were like between Rapp and Nintendo. It’s possible that Nintendo truly was uncomfortable with Rapp’s college essay (despite it being publicly linked on her Linkedin page) or old Tweets about similar topics and decided to part ways with her.
But we do know this: Nintendo was publicly silent while one of their employees was harassed and smeared online over something she did not do. That’s a fact. It’s not in dispute. Nintendo watched Rapp become the center of a witch hunt and did nothing publicly to defend her. Despite my requests for comment, the company said nothing. As it turns out, maybe that silence said everything. – Kotaku
Kill the Fatphobia: Fat Girls in YA – I don’t read enough YA to be able to judge the claims made in this post on fatphobia in YA (with Kill the Boy Band as an example), but we continue to see a bias against larger women in Romance (or, more accurately, an idealization of women as on the thinner and/or fitter side, curvy but not “fat”), and we see this same bias in general society, so it’s hardly an extreme insight. Also, as Sarah Hollowell points out, it’s a bias that’s so culturally entrenched that it’s often not even noticed.
Because the talk has been so positive, many reacted with shock and confusion when I started tweeting about the fatphobia. Very few people knew about the offensive content. I kept getting the same question: How can so many people praise this book when it offers such awful representation?
At a time when so many in the YA community are passionate about diversity and positive representation, it should be surprising that something like this could slip through. But, the YA landscape is a sad one for fat girls, who have a very small number of positive representations—even fewer if you want fat girls of color, or queer fat girls, or fat girls along any intersections at all. – Women Write About Comics
8 famous authors who only wrote one book – AKA those lucky few who didn’t need a backlist to keep selling.
Wednesday marks the would-be birthday of Anna Sewell, a 19th century English novelist who penned only one book throughout her 58 years of life: the beloved Black Beauty. Fortunately for Sewell, it was an outstanding one that became one of the best-selling books of all time with more than 50 million copies sold. Sewell died only five months after its publication, but she lived to see its initial success. In honor of her legacy, here are eight authors — Sewell included — who wrote only one novel in their lifetimes, but they were excellent ones. – Entertainment Weekly
Unfortunately, that fatphobic book has now made the New York Times bestseller list, which is very disappointing.