Saturday, March 14, 2009

Men Are Sure Smart

So, last month, the new, redesigned Walrus appeared. Inspired by a listserv debate, I tallied male and female bylines in the new March 2009 Walrus. Of 14 articles, one was written by a woman. That didn’t seem right to me.

So I’m pleased to report that the April 2009 issue of the Walrus does a much better job of gender equality – roughly an equal number of male and female bylines. However, there are still some hiccups, as the Editor’s Note by John Macfarlane proves:

Last year, the American magazine Foreign Policy and the British magazine Prospect co- published a list of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals — men and women whose ideas have changed the world. It included … four Canadians: New Yorker staff writer and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell; human rights theorist and Liberal party leader Michael Ignatieff; Harvard linguist and experimental psychologist Steven Pinker; and political philosopher and Kyoto Prize winner Charles Taylor. In its year-end review, Prospect also nominated Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood, whose book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, was a 2008 bestseller; and social critic Naomi Klein, whose most recent book is The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.


Canada can claim, if not a hundred, then certainly more than six. Among others, and in addition to those already mentioned, the list would include Michael Adams, Maude Barlow, Conrad Black, Michael Bliss, Michael Byers, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Robert Fulford, David Frum, Jack Granatstein, Allan Gregg, Rudyard Griffiths, George Jonas, Tom Kent, James Laxer, Stephen Lewis, Irshad Manji, Roger Martin, John Polanyi, John Ralston Saul, Janice Gross Stein, David Suzuki, and Ronald Wright.

Not to mention Mark Kingwell,
who writes a dazzling essay in this issue on the leadership of Barack Obama.

Macfarlane lists 23 brainiacs, of which three (3) are female. To put that in perspective, there’s undoubtedly a better female to male ratio in the Oak Leaf Steam Baths.

I also like that the feature (The Other Porn Addiction: Why are ordinary women exposing themselves online?) is written by a dude. Call me crazy, but I thought Ariel Levy did a pretty job with the book Female Chauvinist Pigs. Levy, by the way, is now a staffer at the New Yorker, a magazine of ideas that includes many female writers. Just saying.