Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Bookshop makes powerful statement about the gender gap in fiction

books reading.jpg

All hail Loganberry Books, an independent bookstore in Cleveland, US, that has been using its bookshelves to make an important statement about the gender gap in fiction.

Visitors who enter the store throughout March won’t fail to notice that the vast majority of books on the fiction shelves have been turned inwards, showing just their pages rather than their spines.

These inward books are the ones written by men, leaving the colourful spines of the minority of books – the ones written by women – standing out in a sea of white (below).

A sign in front of the display reads, “Illustrating the fiction gender gap… We’ve silenced male authors, leaving works of women in view.”

bookshop reading

It’s a bold – but brilliant – move from the store, whose staff wanted to do something a bit different to celebrate Women’s History Month, which falls in March.

“Thanks to staff & volunteers for assisting in our performance art project to demonstrate the lopsided ratio of male to female authors,” read a Facebook post shared by the bookstore, along with images of the reshuffled shelves.

“We shelved all the general fiction works by men backwards, leaving only women's works spine-out (and therefore legible). It’s a powerful statement.”

shop books reading

A powerful statement indeed – and also a necessary one.

There are many more published male authors compared to female authors, and the gender gap in literature doesn’t end there.


Read more: The most empowering feminist books


The annual VIDA Count, which examines the gender disparity in major literary publications and reviews, consistently finds that women are underrepresented. 

For example, the latest figures (for 2015) revealed The New York Review of Books featured 185 women compared to 702 men, The New Yorker featured 323 women compared to 551 men and The Times Literary Supplement featured 917 women compared to 2,221 men.

books reading

“Most people recognise that there is a gender disparity in publishing, as there is in most fields, and although it has improved in recent years, it still exists and the history of disparity is still noteworthy,” Harriet Logan, who works at the Loganberry books, told Metro.


Read more: Five beautiful poems to read when you need a good cry


“I wondered what that disparity would look like if we could glance at our bookshelves (30 columns, 9,000 books) and actually see it. We chose turning the books backwards as the least disruptive and most visually alluring method.”

“The ‘white out’ effect is both beautiful and nerve-wracking,” she added.

Here’s to more statements like this, and more women in books in the future.

Images: Facebook

Comments

More

UK publisher launches new imprint to address diversity in books

Fewer than 100 books written by non-white British authors were published last year

by Sarah Biddlecombe
16 May 2017

Emily Browning slams Twilight series as “emotionally abusive”

Aussie actor was Stephenie Meyer’s first pick to play Bella

by Joe Ellison
16 May 2017

Here’s how you can (legally) watch The Handmaid’s Tale in the UK

We finally have the answer

by Kayleigh Dray
16 May 2017

These are the books you need to read, according to female TED speakers

12 inspirational tomes to add to your reading list

by Sarah Biddlecombe
15 May 2017

Two brilliant word-of-mouth books to pop on your summer reading list

Load up your Kindle, pronto

by Anna Brech
10 May 2017

Book lovers, this is what your reading habits say about you

Good news for drama and romance fans

by Sarah Biddlecombe
09 May 2017

A second series of The Handmaid’s Tale has been confirmed

“It will be an interesting challenge, since I myself have never known what happened to Offred”

by Amy Swales
04 May 2017

Book-lovers, this intriguing new site will broaden your horizons

Lounge Books features "people-powered" recommendations

by Anna Brech
01 May 2017

How to turn your recipe collection into a bestselling book

You don’t have to be a qualified chef or TV star to clinch a cookbook deal in 2017

by Gemma Crisp
01 May 2017

Ruby Tandoh on how to support a friend with a mental health problem

You are not alone.

by Sarah Biddlecombe
28 Apr 2017