The best of 2021 according to Babelia: 50 best books with gender bias | Opinion



Last Saturday the book supplement Babelia published a special with the 50 best books of 2021 and immediately afterwards, Manuel García denounced on Twitter the fact that there was nothing less than zero! Spanish writers on the list. The tweeter, who is also a professor and researcher in journalism at the University of Malaga, has spent years studying together with two other colleagues, Bernardo Gómez (University of Malaga) and Juan García (University of California, Davis), the role of women in the best book listings to certify that it has always been, and continues to be, marginal.

“This year a man has won. The third is also a man. Among the top five men are 80%. In the first eight, 75%. Among the 25, 64%. There is only parity after 30… ”, he denounces. However, gender bias, according to the detailed study presented by this researcher, is not something that characterizes Babelia. On the contrary, this supplement is the one that has given the greatest visibility to women in the last 10 years. “Culture / s from The vanguard Y The Cultural from The world they don’t even know what that is, ”García tweets with a graph that shows how the representation of women in the lists of these other newspapers has not reached 30% most of the time, while in Babelia it becomes 50% most years (his study begins in 2010).

As a reader and writer, I had read the list with real interest before seeing the tweet and did not start to analyze the number or place of women in the ranking. I had not fallen into gender bias, but he had asked me some questions about the chosen ones. With what criteria are chosen the best? What do they mean? Who do they represent? Obviously, there is no objective judgment for their selection except the taste of the jury. The question then is, what does a jury reward when it chooses a book (or a movie or a song) as the best of the year? I suggest that you reward your vision of the world, the one that best represents your ideas. In this way, the one who chooses (or the one who chooses) also gets a medal: the best are those who imagine the world like me.

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In this sense, regardless of how many women are on the list or how many on the jury, we find that the imaginary of the world is still male. It is true that we are achieving a certain statistical parity, but that many prosper does not necessarily mean a shared worldview. In fact, the imaginary walk more slowly than the facts: it is one thing to move the names of a list and another to modify millenary images of the world.

We women have erupted. But the ideology that beats under the earth is older and more powerful than the red lava that many of us try to spit out from the guts of the world. Luckily, literature is here to open the doors of the imagination, although the imaginary continues to be predominantly white, male, heterosexual … Manuel García’s tweet calling for parity shows that structures are moving. But any numerical analysis silences the ambivalence that fits into any identity. It is precisely about this ambiguity that one of the 50 Babelia: Gabriela Wiener. Woman, brown, Peruvian. Spanish? His excellent novel deals with his complex identity, Huaco portrait. What I’m trying to say is that we write (and read) to break the imaginary with which lists are built, including those of the best.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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