News Round Up: Heroes and Villains of the Summer

8th Sep 2013

good and bad news
The sun's gone, but before we bunker down for the winter with a cuppa and a cardie, we thought we'd relive the past few months by having a good old rant. Here are the heroes and villains of the summer.


The London Review of Books.
For repeatedly ignoring the numerous complaints made to them about the huge disparity between the genders on their pages, for sending us this dismissive email when we politely asked them some questions, and for not even quietly doing anything in the background to change: they’re still reviewing masses more books by  guys.

Peter Stothard
This fitty, editor of the TLS, gets a baddy badge for a spluttering interview to Woman’s Hour where he said that women didn’t get more TLS bylines was because “being a critic is a very difficult task”. That’s right: we’re just not up to it. HE’S OPEN TO OFFERS, LADIES.

Gender masking publishers
For pressuring women authors to neutralise or mask their gender – we shouldn’t need to dress up as boys to be allowed to play “their” games. JK Rowling’s psuedonym should not need to be male.

Michael Kantor, Todd McFarlane, Len Wein and Gerry Conway
For giving a ridiculously sexist response to questions put to them about women in comic books. There’s a great breakdown of the interview,  by our Comics and Graphic Novels contributor Holly Casio, here.

The BBC’s drama department
For ruining winter: the BBC’s autumn trailer is usually something we can all warm our cockles to. But there was a bit too much cock for our cockles this year: it’s a big feast of white men fighting and hugging each other, with about a dozen women who are either a)naked, b)about to be or c)crying in baths. Miriam O’Reilly and lots of the internet are dead cross about it. The BBC has responded by saying there’s a girly trailer coming soon.


Kathyrn Heyman
For bringing the LRB’s gender disparity to everyone’s attention, for being so brilliantly witty about the whole thing, and for being proactive too: she created a list of writers who the LRB might like to consider, just to make it easy for them.

Caroline Criado-Perez
Not just for succeeding in keeping a woman on our banknotes, but for being so brilliant and inspiring when dealing with the trolls and horrific threats. We love her, and think it’s outrageous that she’s had to leave Twitter to stop the threats.

These hilarious librarians
For giving us a right old laugh with their remake of the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage video – highlight when one of them has to restrain the other from beating up the book-thief. And also for doing such a brilliant, important job.

The Man Booker Prize the Guardian First Book Award, the Not the Booker Prize and the Dylan Thomas Prize
For creating longlists in which women writers either receive equal billing or dominance, completely disproving the idea perpetuated by the likes of the TLS and LRB that women can’t write proper fiction. We’ve got our fingers crossed that the shortlists are of a similar make-up.

All of our fellow feminist campaigners
No More Page 3, Everyday Sexism, The Women’s Room, Little Miss Geek, Let Toys Be Toys, Ending Victimisationand so many others – we love you, and think you’ve all done a stirling job, especially over the past few months. Here’s to the rest of 2013 and beyond. 

Image by mcw026, used under a Creative Commons license.