Announcing Electric Lit’s #ReadMoreWomen Campaign

It’s the easiest way to diversify your reading habits—plus, you can get this cool new tote bag about it

Unless you’re working hard at it, your reading list is probably too male, too Western, and too white. For mysterious reasons (?!?), those are the books our white-male-dominated culture values. They’re the books you’re assigned in school, the ones the men around you insist you listen to them talk about, the ones that show up on lists of “80 books every man should read” in which 79 are by men, the ones that influence our very idea of “literary value.”

Needless to say, you should be working hard to diversify your reading list. In fact, if we don’t elevate a wider range of books, we won’t be able to grow as a culture. The white male perspective we’re spoon-fed from birth is stultifying; if you don’t fit the profile, you’re led to feel like your voice isn’t important, and if you do, it’s easy to get the message that all you have to do is show up. It’s boring, it’s exclusionary, it’s self-perpetuating, and it’s bad for everyone. And the easiest no-brainer place to start, the place that barely even requires any extra effort and yet seems to be beyond many people, is by reading the 50-plus percent of the population that isn’t men.

So in honor of Women’s History Month (March) and International Women’s Day (March 8), and in service of literature in general, we’re launching a #ReadMoreWomen campaign. (The name is based on a tweet about Andy Weir, author of The Martian, whose “By the Book” interview in The New York Times revealed him to be one of those people for whom the minimal effort of reading non-men is too hard.) We challenge you to increase your consumption of women and nonbinary authors, and tweet at @ElectricLit with the hashtag #readmorewomen to tell us what you’re reading or recommend a book. And you can fashionably admonish others to do the same by becoming a founding member of our crowdfunding efforts on Drip, Kickstarter’s patronage site, which entitles you to one of our beautiful new Read More Women tote bags, designed by Stephanie Kubo. For the time being, the totes are not for sale anywhere else online! But fortunately for society, books by women are available wherever books are sold.

Becoming a patron doesn’t just get you the tote (although, again, it’s a really good tote and should probably be incentive enough. It’s holding like 20 books by women in the photo above!). It’s also a way for you to support Electric Literature’s efforts to make literature more exciting, accessible, and inclusive. We’ve collected some of our best recent essays by women about books by women, as relevant examples of the type of work you’ll help support by contributing to our Drip.

If you wait to be handed your books, well, you know what you’ll get. If you want something else, you’ll have to go and find it. We think you should.

Read more women — they’re half of all people, y’all. Read more nonbinary and trans authors. Read more queer authors. Read WAY more authors of color. (We could only make one tote bag at a time!) Read more women, but more importantly, read more widely. We all stand to benefit.

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