January 5th, 2011 / 4:00 pm

The New Yorker: No Girls Allowed?

Anne Hays reads The New Yorker and she recently noticed that most of the articles, stories, poetry and essays in the past two issues were written by men. She wrote an open letter to the magazine wherein she discussed her concerns. I did not notice the gender discrepancy in recent issues because, to be honest, I’m reading issues from like May 2010. It’s pretty stressful how that magazine keeps showing up in the mailbox every week. There is a lot of pressure to keep up.

In her open letter, Hays writes:

I have enclosed the January issue and expect a refund.  You may either extend our subscription by one month, or you can replace this issue with a back issue containing a more equitable ratio of male to female voices. I plan to return every issue that contains fewer than five women writers.  You tend to publish 13 to 15 writers in each issue; 5 women shouldn’t be that hard.

If the two issues in question are indicative of a larger trend, Hays could be returning quite a few issues.

Jezebel addressed this subscriber boycott and in their post on the matter, they also looked at recent issues of other major magazines. The results aren’t really surprising. Only The Believer has a (relatively) significant female presence in their pages. My thoughts on gender, equity, and publishing are pretty well known so I don’t really have anything to add. I also think we need to see data from a wider sample than two issues before we can draw any conclusions. I wonder what the data would show in looking at issues of The New Yorker over a year, five years and ten years.  I find the imbalance in the last two issues quite pronounced though I do not know if I would have noticed. I wonder what that says. I also find it frustrating that these issues keep coming up time and again. Meanwhile, Anne Hays is an army of one fighting a very big battle. I wonder if she will be able to effect change.


  1. Anonymous

      They should do a hermaphrodite only issue so everyone can finally shut the fuck up.

  2. jhon Baker

      I am all for equality and equal representation but not at the detriment of quality work. If the first thing you are doing is looking for the private parts of people you are reading then I think you may be doing your mind an injustice. Jereme said it best probably.

  3. Lincoln Michel

      It seems relevant to post this recent The Millions article on New Yorker fiction by the numbers:


      Of the 514 stories in the New Yorker from 2001 through 2010, 184 or 35.8% were penned by women. 2010 was 37% female.

      50% of the 20 under 40 writers were women this time around.

      Make of those numbers what you will.

  4. D.C. Dacey

      Don’t you have anything else to get agitated about? For example: the Pavilions down the street, where I do most of my day-to-day shopping for staples like Cracker Cuts, It’s It Ice Cream Sandwiches and Limeade, well, you see, they only hire, um, how do you say, mentally defecient (?) people, or convicts just recently released from one of the plethora of Penal institutions that litters the Central California landscape. Now I’m not saying that these types of people shouldn’t have jobs, but the jobs they getting at my market are like the best jobs, the cashiers. They make upwards of 20.00 an hour and they have full benefits. I could use a job like that. But they won’t hire me. Because there is nothing wrong with me, at least externally. Really gets my panties in a bunch, a tight bunch.

  5. Fictiony

      You should go kill somebody and then afterward take just enough painkillers not to kill yourself but to ruin your brain and then after you get out of jail you might try applying again. You will probably have much better luck then.

  6. Fictiony

      You should go kill somebody and then afterward take just enough painkillers not to kill yourself but to ruin your brain and then after you get out of jail you might try applying again. You will probably have much better luck then.

  7. Matthew Simmons

      Ah, c’mon. Sexism is over. Sarah Palin is going to be elected president in 2012.

  8. Gus

      WTFWTFWTFWTF. of course this matters. one half of all people. one half of all people. one half of all people. ONE HALF.

      calling them on their shit is not whining. the ability to make a funny joke about a thing on the internet is fucking up our willingness to fix broken shit.

      what is most interesting to me about this is her demand that the new yorker is good and she deserves it. she’s not content to just not-subscribe to the new yorker (which is what i do) because she insists that she deserves it. makes me feel called out. like i’m looking at a big table of food and thinking ‘cant believe they’re just going to let it spoil’ instead of volunteering to help with seran wrap and put some of that nice cake in the fridge.

  9. Gus

      ugh this right here. :::shakes fist, shoots pistol at moon:::

  10. Guest! (Dylan Nice)

      Since I’m not sexist, I find it hard to believe sexism exists.

  11. Ryan P

      I’m ignorant as to how a magazine as big as NYer is run, but I suspect, like Roxane mentioned, that two issues could be a somewhat unfair sample size. That said Hays sounds like a long-time reader of NYer, and I’m sure this a trend that’s angered her for some time now. (And my occasional readings of NYer don’t discredit the idea that the mag is a men’s club, certainly.)

      But as an editor I would feel kind of blindsided if someone totaled up the gender count from one or two issues of my magazine and accused me of unfairness. I suspect this will only increase hostility on both sides. I also don’t think there’s anything strictly wrong with a single issue of a mag that publishes 15 writers with, say, 10 of them being the same gender. Way too few data points to demand an “equitable ratio.” But the long-term split should approach 50/50, with reasonable room for noise in either direction.

  12. Ryan P

      “It’s pretty stressful how that magazine keeps showing up in the mailbox every week.”

      Can definitely relate. For the big periodical-readers out here, what sort of habits help you keep up? I find I’m very good at finding time for longform reading but am at a total loss as to how anyone ever keeps up with a frequently published periodical. Do you keep the back issues around and eat through them at your own pace? Or is the focus always on reading the currents issue, even if you don’t read all that you like of it? Or something entirely different?

  13. Elisa

      “Nice” comment, but it should more accurately be “Since I believe I’m not sexist, I find it hard to believe sexism exists. Also, feminists need to shut the fuck up so we can get back to talking about important stuff.”

  14. Nate

      Gender disparity shouldn’t be shrugged off as “unimportant” or “whatever.” It’s easy to make jokes about it, but it’s not something that is particularly funny in any way. Being in the “right” position, as Derrida would say, it is important for men to recognize the disparity, call it out, and do what we can to destroy the equation of men > women.

  15. Dawn.

      Well said, Nate.

      Roxane, I agree that two issues isn’t much of a sample size, but as Ryan P said, she sounds like a long-time reader who has been (reasonably) frustrated by this for some time. This is an ongoing problem (and not just re: The New Yorker, of course). The last two issues were probably her last two straws.

  16. Dawn.

      FYI: ‘hermaphrodite’ is considered to be a slur nowadays.

  17. Dreezer

      What’s the correct term now? Differently organed?

  18. Anonymous

      We were secretly thrilled when Willow Springs 66 ended up with a largely female writership. Unintentional, but awesome.

  19. Dawn.


  20. Roxane

      Thanks for sharing those numbers, Lincoln. Those numbers are definitely better than I thought. I will note, though, that Hays is talking about all the writing in TNY, not just the fiction. Hopefully someone will take the time to compile that data so we can know if the past two issues are an anomaly or a pattern.

  21. Lincoln Michel

      Word. I hope it didn’t seem like I was rebutting Hays, but read that The Millions article literary two days ago so figured I’d post it here.

  22. Roxane

      No, it didn’t seem like that at all. I’m glad for the information, myself.

  23. Mike Meginnis

      I will say that attempting to achieve something like gender equity in my own magazine has made me a little more sympathetic to editors who can’t manage it: we spent months soliciting nothing but female writers and they tended not to write back.

      Of course when you’re The New Yorker I bet they write back.

  24. Rachel Y.

      I am all for equality AND quality, which shouldn’t be the ideal. It should be the norm. It’s actually astonishing it isn’t the norm. Maybe the NYer’s author pool is a product of editorial laziness and lack of imagination more than anything else.

  25. Andrea Lawlor

      This is actually a really rude thing to say, just FYI.

  26. Guestofaguest

      I am with you, except I think the issue is a fair bit more complex than this. For one thing, even if there is, in a vague sense, an equal number of male and female writers that doesn’t mean they all write the type of work that a specific magazine publishes or try to get published in the same magazines. Likely some magazines get more female submissions than others and thus publish more. Likely some magazines lose women writers to higher paying gigs at other magazines and others lose male writers to higher paying gigs at others. Likely some types of writing attract more males and others attract more females. Etc.

      It should be the norm that the magazine industry publishes roughly equal numbers of men and women, but not necessarily that a specific magazine does. Just as we would hope that the book industry publishes as many men as women, but wouldn’t fret that an equal number of southern gothic short story collections by women are published as southern gothic short story collections by men and as many biographies of 18th century americans are published by men as women. etc.

      Furthermore, a huge issue that I’ve often seen female editors (and male editors) discuss is the lack of female submissions and female response to work requests. At all levels, this seems to be a huge issue. Now, this is an issue of sexism, but one of society as a whole. A society that tells women to be meek and deferential and men to be arrogant and bold. It is unfair and less productive to blame individual editors or magazines for this societal problem though.

  27. M. Kitchell

      why does this response to this problem happen here twice a fucking week.

  28. Matthew Simmons

      The complexity introduced in this comment, though, is for the most part simplified by the fact that we are discussing The New Yorker.

      They don’t take slush pile submissions seriously, so the “fewer submissions by women” argument doesn’t really stand up. The “higher paying gigs” argument doesn’t hold up because The New Yorker pays like The New Yorker. The “some types of writing attract more men” argument doesn’t stand up because The New Yorker is a general interest magazine. Politics, culture, humor, fiction, poetry, profiles, art criticism.

      And who the heck is ignoring a work request from The New Yorker?

  29. Matthew Simmons

      Well, where the heck is a small, poorly connected magazine like The New Yorker going to find quality work by a woman writer, Mike?

  30. Guestofaguest

      I’m not so sure. For example, are there really as many women writing prose humor pieces or comics as men? I would find that unlikely, looking at the comedy and comic worlds in general. Similarly, it would not surprise me if there are many more men writing about politics.

      There are sexist problems at that root of gender discrepancy in politics and comedy, to be sure, but they run much deeper than one magazine.

      Who is ignoring a work request form TNY? Probably no one. But that doesn’t solve things. Again, based on what I’ve read female editors say about this, women are more likely to take much longer on pieces, break deadlines, and in general take more care on their pieces. This means that a male writer may pitch and write many more pieces for the NYer in a year than an equally talented female writer.

  31. D.C. Dacey

      Thanks. I think I’ll try that.

  32. David

      Did Ms. Hays subscribe to the New Yorker having never read an issue before? Perhaps we should consider the power of the dollar *before* we spend it, before we vote “yes” with it, and *look* at what we’re buying.

      IF–and this is highly unlikely–the New Yorker has never before or only very rarely before published an issue with mostly or all male authors, and so is generally “balanced” (in a way that appeals to Ms. Hays), then her protest (she is NOT boycotting the magazine–they already have her money) is premature.

      In the future, if Ms. Hays is really concerned about supporting magazines that have a certain number of women in their masthead / table of contents, she should look at the magazine she’s buying before she buys it. There’s almost no magazine in the world she can’t investigate with the Internet. Surely there are other magazines should could have sent her money to. A struggling literary journal, perhaps?

  33. David

      Did Ms. Hays subscribe to the New Yorker having never read an issue before? Perhaps we should consider the power of the dollar *before* we spend it, before we vote “yes” with it, and *look* at what we’re buying.

      IF–and this is highly unlikely–the New Yorker has never before or only very rarely before published an issue with mostly or all male authors, and so is generally “balanced” (in a way that appeals to Ms. Hays), then her protest (she is NOT boycotting the magazine–they already have her money) is premature.

      In the future, if Ms. Hays is really concerned about supporting magazines that have a certain number of women in their masthead / table of contents, she should look at the magazine she’s buying before she buys it. There’s almost no magazine in the world she can’t investigate with the Internet. Surely there are other magazines should could have sent her money to. A struggling literary journal, perhaps?

  34. Guestofaguest

      Also, while the NYer is extremely prestigious, I would not assume at all that has the highest circulation or pays the most. According to this wikipedia, the New Yorker only has the 88th highest circulation.

      The NYer is probably the best place to place a piece of literary fiction, but not necessarily the best or highest paying place to place a piece on culture or politics.

  35. Djuna

      I’m sure that if you offered one of the convicts $10, he or she could untangle your panties for you in a half hour or less. Win-win.

  36. Djuna

      Sorry–still new to this Internet commenting thing. That last comment was supposed to be a reply to D.C., not Roxane’s original post. I know nothing about the state of Ms. Gay’s underpants.

  37. Anonymous

      Dawn, Popular opinion of a word’s usage is not a concern I care to dwell on. The only connotation is my own. I personally didn’t use it as a slur, which is what matters to me.

      The only word in my original sentence meant as a slur was the word EVERYONE.

  38. Roxane

      This comment sort of doesn’t make sense. The New Yorker is The New Yorker. It is a fairly known quantity and spending the money on a subscription is not a risk. You’re basically blaming her for not doing a gender tally beforehand? Most people would assume that a magazine as esteemed as The New Yorker would not require such a gesture and as such would happily hand over their money.

  39. David

      Your making my point for me–perhaps more articulately than I did. The New Yorker *is* “known.” Why would anyone assume that “a fairly known quantity” would not be gender biased?

      If Ms. Hays–if you, if all of us reading this blog–really care about gender equality in magazines, it would behoove us to investigate the magazines that interest us before we spend our money.

      And then to put our money toward the magazines that we would one day like to see as successful as the New Yorker.

  40. Matt Cozart

      he’s replying to jhon baker…

  41. Guest! (Dylan Nice)

      let my ignorance be revealing to others.

  42. Dawn.

      So if I call women “bitches” and don’t personally mean it as a slur, any woman who has a problem with it can just fuck off because I don’t care to dwell on how they feel about what I call them? No dice. Just because you weren’t aware/don’t care that it’s a slur doesn’t mean it’s not a bigoted thing to say. Sorry but I just personally prefer to avoiding calling people names they explicitly do not wish to be called.

  43. Dawn.


  44. Anonymous

      Andrea, I guess it could be considered rude if the infrastructure of your mind is made of twigs and the size of a prescription bottle.

      Complaining about 2 issues being unfair to a certain gender is a knee jerk. This entire thread reads like what it is: the privileged bitching about a minor instance of perceived injustice.

      TNY is not a government institution. It exists solely to make money. How they do so is up to them, regardless of what I think of their actions.

      Taking Ms. Hays seriously isn’t easy for me. Her response to the perceived injustice stinks of a spiteful child trapped in the mind of an adult. I would be behind the sentiment if there was a call from women to hammer TNY mailbox until they relent.

      I am also curious to know how many times Ms. Hays has been rejected by TNY.

      Roxane’s post is incendiary at least. The graphic is bullshit. Clearly, it is not a case of NO GIRLS ALLOWED, but few girls. There is a fucking difference.

      I am absolutely a proponent of fighting discrimination, racism, etc. but that doesn’t mean I am going to rattle my sword every time I read an article pushing a certain agenda.

      I am not saying stop whining because sexism isn’t important. What bothers me is that this shit always resembles a loop.

      My solution to the problem is for people to spend more time learning how to unconditionally accept themselves. Stuff like this wouldn’t matter anymore but aggressive acts of discrimination would.

      Just this weekend I was attacked by a skinhead for wearing a Rastafarian shirt with the Star of David on it. I am neither a rasta or a jew but I fought for both groups. I will continue to do so when the fight is warranted.

      Griping about minor exclusions is fucking pathetic. Get over it. All of you.

      But I’ll be your rude jesus. Go ahead and crucify me.

      I don’t mind.

  45. Anonymous

      What a dramatic and self-serving reading of what was said Elisa!

  46. Anonymous

      Dawn, yes and no. I would treat a hermaphrodite the same way I treat my transvestite/transgendered friends: discuss the connotation of my usage.

      I treat an individual as an individual. Meaning if a hermaphrodite expresses he/she takes umbrage with the term, then I wouldn’t apply it to them.

      I am not going to live in terror over how a million people interpret a word a billion different ways. That sounds like a horrible life. The issue isn’t the word.

      It’s perception of the word, something I cannot control.

      How am I supposed to be responsible for the way others think? That’s just fucking silly.

  47. deadgod

      how do you address people who take umbrage at being addressed respectfully?

  48. Dawn.

      I will agree to disagree on this one. I understand your stance on usage, and objectively it is reasonable. I don’t feel “responsible” for the way others think at all and I definitely don’t live in “terror” over how anyone interprets a word. I’d like people to assume I don’t want to be called a “nigger” or a “bitch” or a “dyke,” whatever their usage means to them, and I extend the same assumption to others out of (hopefully mutual) respect.

  49. hail satan

      oh lil ron paul here is throwing a tantrum

  50. c2k

      I think I know the answer to this but I want to see how j_d responds.

  51. c2k

      I just looked at the original letter. It’s a tough read – and not for reasons stated or refuted above.

      To make matters more depressing, 22 out of the 23 illustrators for the magazine are men. Seriously!


      Anyway, am I the only one who thinks the New Yorker is not a very good magazine, particularly on the nonfiction side? Once it was perhaps, but no longer. I understand it’s the brass ring for fiction writers. And it could be a matter of taste, of course, but the magazine has changed a lot over these last dozen or so years. I rarely find something worth reading, issue to issue.

  52. M. Kitchell

      I think he knows this

  53. Guest! (Dylan Nice)

      how anyone would read either comment in earnest is baffling to me.

  54. John Minichillo

      For the past fifty years at least, TNY has literally made the writing careers of many many many women writers. Sometimes a first publication but otherwise generally introducing them to the world. I would guess they’ve done this for more women writers than Esquire, Paris Review, and Atlantic combined.

  55. deadgod

      Well, I’m one who thinks that the New Yorker is a very-good-indeed magazine particularly on the nonfiction side – by which I mean the journalism it publishes. Not that a one can stand (for long) for a heterogeneous many, but any birdcage liner that publishes Jane Mayer is in a different, and ‘better’, league than gossipweeklies (like Time), and is worth a weekly careful skim, as it were, at least.

      Fiction, less so, and cultural review, spotty.

      I don’t understand what their poetry criteria could be. Celebrity? – really?: that’s it??

      But the nonfiction articles are mostly at least good, and often quite strong, in my reading.

  56. Roxane

      I do like the New Yorker and find it pretty fantastic. I don’t read or enjoy every piece in every issue but I’ve never read an issue where I didn’t find a few things I loved.

  57. elizabeth ellen

      i saw this article linked to on a friend’s facebook page two days ago and was enraged all day. nothing makes me more pissed off than this stupid, petty counting of stories by women. the last time i checked, TNY had a female fiction editor, no? write a top-notch story, essay, humor piece, etc, and it’ll get published. quit fucking whining and quit trying to get publicity for yourself (anne hayes). or better yet, start your own magazine and dwell on gender day and night, if you like. personally i think it’s better to dwell on whether a story’s actually good. but, you know…to each their own.

  58. Justindtaylor

      Did anyone read the feature-length poetry article in the 1/3/11 issue? Granted, it was by acknowledged male Dan Chiasson, but it was about a book-length poem by known female C.D. Wright, published by independent press Copper Canyon. The subject of the poem is a biographical portrait of a lesser-known female hero of the civil rights movement, whom Wright was close with for many years. Just throwing that out there.

  59. c2k

      [in reply to Roxane and deadgod]

      Okay. I skim the magazine, too, and find the odd article of interest here and there (don’t subscribe but have access). I wonder, though, as we compare it to other magazines, like Time, or monthlies, although that’s not necessarily fair, if we see The New Yorker as being better than it actually is. I guess that was what I was getting at. Related: people who say the New York Times is still a great newspaper – yes, but compared to—?

      Also, in her letter to the editor, Anne Hays calls The New Yorker “the most prominent and respected literary magazine” (magazine that has an art/literature focus, I’m taking this to mean). That description might have been apt at a point in its history but despite the fact that The New Yorker publishes a short story and a few poems each week, it has moved to become a general-interest, mainstream publication. Making a lot of money along the way, no coincidence, for a magazine that was perennially a money-loser.

      I’d like to see a return to the former, with new ideas, and new writers, and if those writers happen to be mostly female, I’m all for it.

  60. els

      I didn’t see the article, but I read the book, One With Others, which is out-of-this-world good, like most everything I’ve read from Wright. Deepstep Come Shining is a masterpiece.

  61. c2k

      In the second part here, I’m referring to features/long-form, specifically. Which, from my perspective, skew political-economic-pop culture.

  62. Owen K.

      I read it for the comics.

      And even those are spotty.

  63. Lincoln Michel

      I dunno, I think the New Yorker is a pretty fantastic magazine (compared to magazines of similar scope and content) and the NYT is the best newspaper in America.

      I do agree that calling the New Yorker a “literary magazines” is not really accurate. A few pages worth of criticism and poetry plus one short story doesn’t really make you a literary magazine, in the sense you mean.

  64. c2k

      I think the New Yorker is a pretty fantastic magazine (compared to magazines of similar scope and content)

      I would agree. But that’s the thing: compared to—?

      These vaunted publications are now (almost) competing against themselves, because mag/newspaper publishing has changed so dramatically. And so, in my view, if they are to be judged preeminent, they should be judged not in comparison to other publications (to which they are clearly superior, although it’s more often than not an easy win) but rather to an historical standard, perhaps, which, yes, can seem arbitrary and argumentative, and a matter of opinion, even fanciful, understandably, and it can also be a generational matter (i.e. being able to remember when the competition was strong or at least stronger, or when this particular magazine was different), but I think maybe it is a better way to evaluate a magazine’s content, purely as a reader. But if it sells, it sells, as the bean-counters say. Hayes, after all, is “alarmed, baffled, outraged, saddened, and a bit depressed” by her own stats because of The New Yorker’s position or stature in the (my description) diluted marketplace. Nowhere does she mention quality. “The publishing industry is dominated by female editors…” (my emphasis). Not: women are as good at writing as men are. It’s really an odd letter/weak argument, on close reading.

  65. letters journal

      It’s hopeless. I try to catch every week on Saturday morning, but I usually just get to the LRB, maybe one or two in the NYRB, the NYer cartoons and reviews and maybe the short story, culture section of the Forward, and then I stare at Harper’s and feel bad for not reading all of it.

  66. Anonymous

      Deadgod, The same way you boil an ocean.

  67. Anonymous

      I feel ya Dawn. This is why communication is paramount. Once I know a person’s boundary, i will not cross it.

  68. Anonymous

      LOL, comparing me to a politician is about as insightful as trying to fist bump an amputee.

  69. Anonymous


  70. deadgod

      because the response is, in its limited way, rational, Mike

      I don’t think it’s a response to “this problem”, though. I think “this problem” remains unacknowledged, or disputed, by many of the commenters on this thread

      the argument for ‘affirmative action’ is not self-evident, and must be made again and again, patiently, directly, and with as little scorn as possible

      here; I will try:

      the first thing you are doing is looking for the private parts of people

      No, jhon; what Hays is doing is responding to empirically compelling evidence that someone else is already looking for the private parts of writers – that the private parts of writers is already a dominant criterion for, in this case, the selection of articles for publication at the New Yorker.

      If Hays’s sample is misleading, on account of its size or the slipshod nature of its analysis, that would short-circuit her claims into a puff of insulation-plastic smoke.

      (An example of how Hays’s methodology might be slipshod has been presented on this thread: women writers don’t submit their work as much or in the same way as men writers. If that’s true, Hays’s argument might obtain, but it would not be an argument with the New Yorker.)

      If Hays’s deduction of gender discrimination has led her to an absurd rectification, that rectification could be a) embraced for its satirical value; and b) discarded as an unmediated guide to further action.

      But if Hays is correct, and the New Yorker in fact won’t publish good articles by women because they were written by women – which, in perhaps uncomfortably bald terms, is what she’s saying – , then the identification of private parts by the New Yorker is a Bad Thing and should be addressed, perhaps in the way she recommends.

      myself, I have mixed feelings

      I am looking right now at the last two issues (1/3 and 1/10), and they do indeed reflect the bias Hays reports – many more male than female contributors

      the articles that I’ve read so far are good+, though; for example, buruma’s report of the coming (?) non-violent dissolution of belgium into flanders and wallonia – ‘you’re kidding, right? the french and the germans haven’t had enough of the intestine shock and furious close of civil butchery in the last couple of centuries??’. I don’t care if buruma has a penis or a vagina or both or neither, though if either of the latter two were true, that fact would begin to interest me anthropologically

      but I think the overriding discriminatory criterion should be one of taste: ‘which are the best-written, most interesting articles to publish?’

      I am not sophisticated enough to tell whether this last criterion was not in effect in the composition of just these two issues of the New Yorker

  71. deadgod

      I agree that the New Yorker is a “general-interest” magazine – Brown consciously moved it squarely into that category, didn’t she?

      But lookit: the fishwrap publishes 40+ new short stories each year, and 100+ new (short) poems. It reviews books most weeks, and every week has microreviews of more books. And that’s not counting special issues devoted to fiction and poetry.

      That’s as “literary” as most any literary magazine can afford to be, no?

  72. deadgod

      by triggering widespread submarine thermal vents? or detonating a star? hmm

      I was trying to fabricate a russell’s-paradox instruction

  73. c2k

      Yes. But its literariness seems to me to be more of a tack-on feature, significant as it may be for a popular mainstream mag such as itself. More likely, in fact, though oxymoronic, it is usefully vestigial™ —that’s a marketing concept and term I think I may well have just coined at this very moment (!). They are far removed from a publication produced with a distinctly lit/art point of view. Writers envy the rarified short-story slots, yes, but I’d guess that most readers ignore the fiction and poetry. I don’t quarrel with what they’re doing with their property, by the way. As you allude to: it’s almost certainly unrealistic to put together a weekly magazine, keep circ way way up, all the while collecting those lovely little clams in great big hairy bunches, and be a literary magazine, in 2011, sorry to say.

  74. Anonymous

      One cup at a time.

  75. Anonymous

      what the fuck is “equality”?

  76. Anonymous

      not sure why this posted as jereme even though i put in my name and email…

      (this is gena)

  77. Anonymous


  78. gena

      i guess i’m not good enough for disqus to allow me to post because i am a WOMAN.

  79. gena

      oh, now it posts as me? I CALLED IT OUT AND NOW IT “ACCEPTS” ME. WE ARE FINALLY EQUAL!

  80. Anonymous


  81. phmadore

      No, WOMAN, it’s all about the counting! Two tits = one acceptance OR ELSE.

  82. Owen K.

      What’s wrong with you?

  83. Anonymous

      the humor pony is not something you ride often, is it owen?

  84. Matthew Simmons

      I did.

  85. deadgod

      “equality” of what?

      equality of opportunity means everybody gets a chance, regardless of group identity

      of course, individual ability, diligence, interest, and so on all limit participation – indeed, they define participation

      but one’s ability to tell a story at all isn’t damaged or improved by one’s being of a particular ‘race’, gender, religion, body shape, sexuality, and so on

      hays is convinced that the New Yorker is discriminating against women story-tellers

      if I were convinced that she’s right, I wouldn’t bother with the rag, which – a boycott – seems to be what she’s recommending, in addition to a refund of her own spending on the thing

      hello, gena

  86. deadgod

      that’s a good puzzler, but it’s not a useful parallel (“[t]he same way”)

      completion of the ocean-boiling is not relevant while each cup of it is boiled; each person addressed is completely addressed ‘one person at a time’

      this is an adequate introduction to russell’s paradox: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_paradox

      if you’re polite to a person who wants rudeness, they’re irritated; if you’re obnoxious to a person who wants rudeness, they’re okay because you’re being irritating

      either way, because the action is defined self-contradictorily by that person, you’re interest in being respectful is circumvented

  87. Anonymous

      Math doesn’t play much in this discussion. We aren’t talking about a body of salt water, nor are we discussing a universal brain function.

      Each cup of ocean will contain salt water, organisms, debris, etc. separate from the rest. No cup will be the same.

      To keep it real, I would say that I follow what I learned from the “streets”: to get respect, you have to give respect.

      It all starts with a foundation of self-respect. If a person has no comprehension of (self-)respect then what outside force will provide that epiphany?

  88. deadgod

      I agree that action from respect is action with a better foundation than pretty much any other foundation.

      My original (attempted) logical puzzle had not to do with this (your) point about respect, but rather was an abstract (and phatic) digression.

      Boiling (or drinking) an ocean one cup at a time would be a gradual process, whereas greeting someone happens all at once; that’s my objection to your parallel.

  89. gena

      “‘equality’ of what?”

      exactly. i mean…obviously there are different types of “equality” and the term itself is open to individual interpretation. to be completely honest, i don’t believe that “equality” can be accomplished. why even worry about equality when you as an individual have your entire mind to explore and worry with?

      it seems to me that people are diverting their attention from themselves and their inability to accept themselves to just searching for things in the world that are unjust to the group of people that they identify with.

      also, why would hayes think that the new yorker is discriminatory against women story-tellers? do stories written by women have a certain quality that makes them inferior to the stories written by men? hayes must subconsciously believe that, or else why would she even bother making the ratio of men to women published an issue? it seems like she is just projecting her subconscious belief that women are inferior onto a well-known institution. she must have a problem with her identity if she goes searching for things that “discriminate” against the group of people she is a part of.

      i think a lot of people need to stop looking outward and look inward for a while. then maybe these trivial things won’t matter so much anymore.

      hey, you.

  90. Anonymous

      Well, if a person would rather be treated like shit then I would RESPECT their decision and treat them like shit. I have no problem doing that. Just like I don’t mind if my romantic partner wants to be mock raped, demeaned, whipped or .

      It is for her/his benefit. Not mine.

      But when it comes time to drain my balls and I want to cuddle, then we better fucking cuddle.

  91. Anonymous

      stupid html tags fucked up my comment and now I can’t edit it.

      Disqus is sort of pissing me off.

  92. Anonymous

      * insert immoral fetish here.

      is how it is supposed to read.

  93. Anonymous


  94. deadgod

      Perfect equality is as chimerical as the perfection of any other social good – perfect peace, perfect love, perfect understanding.

      The impossibility of the ideal is a great argument against dogmatic adherence to methods of achieving it – you could say: a perfect argument – .

      But it’s no argument at all against every movement towards the ideal – which, to me, is an unreasonably (and probably self-contradictorily) cynical dogmatism of its own.

      Here’s an analogy: A crime-free society is impossible. Therefore – no laws, not even norms; whatever you want and take and keep is yours for as long as you hold it. or Therefore – admitting that legality and punishment and guardianship will be flawed, nevertheless, we we make laws and appoint guardians of laws and suffer them to enforce those laws, even while we contest the rationales for those guardians, laws, and enforcements everywhere we ‘need’ to.

      Likewise with “equality”: we argue about what should and can be made ‘equal’ to what, we argue about terms like ‘opportunity’, we contest everything to do with “equality” constantly — but that imperfection of definition and application is no reason, in my view, to abandon the goal: in this case, a community where ‘everyone gets a shot’.

      I agree that much identity-political discourse is entitlement-grievance – definitively ‘whining’.

      I also think that if someone can demonstrate compellingly that there is “inequality of opportunity” (along identity-political lines), then Ah’m agin it.

      I’ve never noticed a misogynistic bias either on the New Yorker’s contributors’ page or in its articles. – I don’t think Hays is right about the magazine.

      I’m sure, though, that one can spot unfairness, even unfairness towards oneself, without being in the grip of an inferiority complex.

      Of course justice trips are also power trips – but, as with the unattainability of a perfectly just community, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an action-based difference between more and less justice.

  95. Looks & Books » Best of the Looks, Best of the Books 1/7/11

      […] Another discussion of the disparity between male and female writers in literary publications such as The New Yorker–an open letter from subscriber Anne Hays. […]

  96. Owen K.

      Jereme, I think you’d best get rid of the shovel.

  97. Owen K.


      humor pony?

      Seriously, Jereme?

  98. Anonymous


  99. Anonymous


  100. Donblue_usher

      Frank Kovarik thought the same thing and documented all fiction published by the NYer since 2003. If you want actual dats, not speculation, you can check it out (here) [http://www.themillions.com/2011/01/new-yorker-fiction-by-the-numbers-2.html]

      Since 2001 35.8% stories were penned by women.

      My opinion? I think the magazine just publishes what they like. The fact that most of those stories happen to be by men is irrelevant, consequential. There are publications that purposefully seek a gender balance as opposed to focusing on the story itself. If that’s what you’re into, support them. If not, let the New Yorker be.

  101. Anonymous


  102. Surrendertostrangeness

      i don’t like you jereme dean. i don’t like deadgod

  103. deadgod

      i like ‘-strangeness’ more than ‘-strangness’