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No Place for a Woman: Female Fiction

It’s International Woman’s Day. What do Charlotte Brontë, J.K. Rowling, and S.E. Hinton have in common? They’re all authors, all women, and were all told by the book industry to hide their femaleness by avoiding using their names. Rowling and Hinton opted for gender-neutral initials, while Brontë took the more drastic approach, along with her two writerly sisters Emily and Anne, of using a male pseudonym. The trio became Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell to the publishing world.

A century and a half since the Brontës’ decision, and how much has changed? According to countless members of the literati, not nearly enough. Recent outcry over the discrepancies between the regard of male writers and their female counterparts has the book world buzzing with controversy and debate. Readers don’t seem to be the problem, and there are certainly enough talented, brilliant female authors to change the tide. Why, when the literary world has so many bright, female minds to show, would there still be cause to disguise them?

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