Is The New Yorker Magazine sexist? I don’t want to believe it. I love The New Yorker. I’ve read it for years. But why don’t they hire more women writers? Why don’t they hire more women, period? I wrote the following piece a few months ago to deal with my grief.
My relationship with The New Yorker magazine has been like meeting an extremely handsome man wearing an expensive Italian suit. He dresses impeccably, knows all the great restaurants, the best shows to see and the goings on about town. He can have a conversation about almost anything, impressing everyone with what and who he knows.
It’s a heady, whirlwind romance at first. I can’t believe how clever he is, how charismatic. While with him, I meet people I never dreamed I’d meet and have front row seats in every venue. But then after a few weeks of dating, I begin to notice that he rarely opens the doors for women. In fact, he tends to leave the toilet seat up and is selfish in bed. He seems hesitant to embrace equality and in terms of balanced gender representation, he never fails to underwhelm. He only hires two to three women writers to contribute weekly for every ten to twelve men. Though he says this is more about talent than gender, I begin to suspect that it isn’t about talent at all, and that a qualified psychotherapist might diagnose him with mother issues.
Weeks pass and I begin to realize that he is quite elitist and drops names as often as he glances in the mirror. I start to wonder: Why didn’t I see this before? Why didn’t someone warn me? Like me, other women must have been lured in by the pretty face, the impressive pedigree. The glitz, the glamour. But not everything that glitters is gold, I remind myself, asking forgiveness for the cliché. His primary talent is looking good. He could use some emotional depth. What he lacks in humility, he makes up for in hubris. Not to mention, he doesn’t know how to admit when he’s wrong.
I decide that as a public service to other women, I will try to encourage them not to make the same mistake. He’s not worth it, I’ll say. He’s behind the times. He watches Madmen reruns, for heaven’s sake, and if he and Jonathan Franzen spend any more time together I half expect them to pick out a china pattern at Tiffany’s. (If so, I’d be happy to gift them a gravy boat.)
Then after two years of hoping he will change (think two year subscription), I decide to break off the relationship, grateful for the experience, yet also wishing I hadn’t spent quite so much time and money on him in the first place….
So what about you? Do you think The New Yorker magazine is sexist? Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Should I give him a second chance? As always, I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. If you’d like to contact The New Yorker magazine and ask them to give equal representation to women writers, go here.
My latest novel: The Secret Sense of Wildflower
“…astute observations and wonderfully turned phrases, with nary a cliché to be found. She could be an adolescent Scout Finch…A quietly powerful story, at times harrowing but ultimately a joy to read.“
– Kirkus Reviews (starred review) To read the entire Kirkus review go here.