A Howlround writer, Mya Kagen, has created a project where she submits all of her work under a male pseudonym to compare her success rates. She’s just started the project this month, so she’s still unsure of how the new name will be received over time.
I find it sad that a woman, or a person of any gender, feels compelled to do this. When people submit their work, there shouldn’t be a worry about whether their race, gender, sexuality, or any other identifier is the cause for their rejection. Humans deserve better than to be forced to play the guessing game of “Would my life be better if I was this?” or, “I wouldn’t be held back if it wasn’t for this.”
I’m excited to see how the project continues. I hope there is no difference. I hope her work acceptance stays exactly the same. However, if it is shown that she is received significantly more, then this will be a good moment for theatre artists to reflect on how the form is hurting its participants who aren’t male.
I don’t believe in ignoring gender. That behavior comes with its own complications and opportunities for oppressive behavior as well. What I do believe in is allowing for gender to be an informative entry point into a piece of work. Key word entry. As in, ENTER THE THE PLAY! Don’t disregard work, because the history of the author distracts you from the work at hand.
I’m sure this project will create a great space for discussion of gender equality.
Best of luck Mya Kagen! I’m exciting to hear your story.