Daily Archives: September 30, 2014
This evening, the BBC broadcast the results of a short story prize. I heard some of the stories as they broadcast them last week, and they were indeed good. I missed the broadcast of the winning story, but I daresay it was well-deserving of its award.
Being the BBC, they didn’t just broadcast the stories and the award ceremony. They also broadcast a lot of discussion: of the award, the shortlisted candidates, the stories, of the short story form, of what works well with the form, authors and critics anecdotes, etc.
Never once in all that discussion did anyone remark on the fact that it was an all-female shortlist. Why should they? There’s nothing remarkable about it: it’s entirely reasonable (and in the long term statistically inevitable) that a fair and impartial shortlist should, from time to time, be all female.
— However —
This is the same BBC who, a couple of years ago, found itself with an all-male shortlist for another award. I don’t recollect the award itself, just the huge fuss they made of the absence of women on the shortlist. This is a huge misogynistic scandal, unacceptable sexism. How was this allowed to happen? Do heads need to roll? This must never be allowed to happen again!
Googling suggests the award in question was probably their “sports personality of the year” (for 2011), which would explain why I had no interest in the award itself and heard only the fuss. The mindless, blatantly sexist fuss, that is now revealed in the full glory of its hypocrisy by the contrast with today’s very civilised short story award.