They had a more "thought-provoking" idea to highlight women this March.
March is Women’s History Month, and with International Women’s Day on Wednesday being such a unifying and empowering time for most people, Loganberry Books in Cleveland decided to join in on the metaphorical festivities by conducting an experiment.
For the first two weeks of March, they decided to flip the male-authored books in their fiction section in order to “illustrate the gender gap in fiction” and focus the spotlight on books written by females. The 8 all-female employees spent 2 hours going through about 10,000 books in preparation for the event. The store usually spotlights female-authored books every March, but decided to go ahead with a more thought-provoking project this year. The books written by females made up only 37% of the fiction books in the room.
“Pictures are loud communicators,” Harriett Logan, the bookstore’s founder and owner, told Heat Street. “So we are in essence not just highlighting the disparity but bringing more focus to the women’s books now, because they’re the only ones legible on the shelf.”
In response to those that have said the “art piece” is sexist, Logan has said that the publishing industry itself has always been sexist and that this is a way to temporarily even the playing field by pushing more customers to purchase books from female authors.
Since Loganberry Books is deemed a feminist-learning bookstore that prides itself in educating others in women’s history and literature offerings, it’s no surprise that they would engage is such an experiment. The store sells new, old, and rare books, bringing in a vast array of customers everyday that are likely affected by this temporary move.
Logan admitted that she may have a role in the results of this experiment as well. She said, “I was truly shocked by the effects of this exercise, and it does make me curious about other genres in the store. I have been ― or thought I have been ― a conscientious book buyer and a supporter of women’s works. It’s hard to tell that from the shelves.”
She added, “If this exercise encourages people (myself included) to ask questions and to improve our habits, I think we have learned something and it is successful.”
It’s awesome that this bookstore is spotlighting female authors with such a simple gesture and doing their part to highlight disparity in an industry that often doesn’t receive attention for their sexist practices. This trickles down to readers, but hopefully spreading the word about this injustice will help bibliophiles to make more conscientious choices when selecting new books.
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