In the past few years the realities of gender disparity in literature and in North American culture at large have come to the forefront. Organizations like CWILA, Canadian Women in the Literary Arts have worked to calculate, illustrate, and disseminate the numbers regarding men and women in print and review, and have made it clear that men maintain a majority in almost all arenas. There are more male reviewers and editors resulting in more men reviewed and selected for publication. Though there has been some move towards equity in recent years the fact remains we as women have been navigating all our lives in a culture curated and dominated by the male view. The Bechdel Test, which is put to film to determine whether or not it meets the minimal requirements of positive representation of women, requires only that there be more than one named women in the film, that the women talk to one another, and that they talk to one another about something other than men. These are very low standards and in 2014, according to The Guardian, only 55.4% of films passed this test.
When I really think about the impact this disparity has had on my life and on my own creative voice I feel nearly devastated. I have read, watched, listened to the human experience through the lenses of men. I have seen myself and other women as objects and as people who would have to work hard to overcome the inherent limitations of their gender. It upsets me greatly that this was ever my reality and that in many ways remnants of its influence remain.
I created Minola Review, named after Katherine Minola, the shrew who is arguably broken by men in Taming of the Shrew, in an attempt to resuscitate that stifled voice. Minola Review features all women and is carefully curated for only the strongest, fiercest, most honest voices. Minola Review is a space for us to inhabit our full female selves, to be messy, real, goofy, angry, and bewildered without worrying about censoring for or pandering to the visions and opinions of men.
This is your space. What will you do with it?
Still curious about our origins? Read my piece, "Why I Founded a No-Boys-Allowed Literary Magazine" in Partisan Magazine