• Laura Zigman
  • "Why Isn't Jennifer Weiner Complaining More? (Even Though We Usually Complain That She Complains...
"Why Isn't Jennifer Weiner Complaining More? (Even Though We Usually Complain That She Complains Too Much!)"
Written by
Laura Zigman
November 2011
Written by
Laura Zigman
November 2011

Well, I was trying to decide which video I'd post here this week, but clearly the most relevant of the movies I've made to date is the one I posted on YouTube and my own site today: it's about what happened yesterday on Twitter between a few book bloggers and Jennifer Weiner. As most of you know, Jennifer Weiner has been trying to raise awareness of the huge discrepancy between the number of male authors vs. female authors reviewed in major publications. I confess that, at first, I didn't really understand why she was making an issue out of it -- I assumed the numbers were fairly even and fair enough. But her claims were justified and the research validated her message: there wasn't just a small gap between the two numbers, there was a huge gap. What started out as a funny Twitter Hashtag -- FranzenFreude -- about what she saw as the "over-coverage" of Franzen's last novel, Freedom, became something much more than that: an effort to see that women writers of all genres get more coverage by major publications. Here's a great short piece by "Evil Wylie" (a.k.a. Andrew Shaffer) that says it all.


Here's the Xtranormal.com video I made -- the furor yesterday on Twitter seemed to be pre-scripted for my needs! 


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  • Evalyn Lee

    So glad you procrastinated to make this film! Funny and it makes you think.  Thank you.

  • Regina Y. Swint

    @Laura...It seems that anything new has a long time in coming to receive any amount of respect, credibility or distinction. While your movies are very light-hearted, they are pretty thought-provoking. I'll preface my next comment by admitting that I'm not among those who's ever known the difference between high art, low art or no art, and I'm not sure that I care, since my tastes in so many things, art, literature, music, etc., is pretty eclectic.
    At one time, self-published authors were (many still are) among those at whom the literary elite/enlightened/purists looked down their noses. It's interesting to find that the same seems to be the case with authors who write outside of the rigidly defined literary fiction genre, as if to say, "Awww. Aren't you cute? You wrote a book. You published a book. People read it. And liked it. That's great. But no one who matters will ever take you seriously. Not really."
    All of that is kind of a shame, but it is the way of the world, in all things.

  • Laura Zigman

    You know, that's what the argument sounded like at first -- why doesn't Chick Lit get reviewed in "serious" publications? But that's not what's it's really about -- click on the links in the "Evil Reads" piece -- I believe it links to Salon and/or HuffPost -- and Google the VIDA study: it's about sheer numbers of male/female review attention, regardless of genre. Very important distinction, in my opinion.

  • Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

    Truthfully, Jonathan Franzen writes the great American novel. Ann Tyler has always gotten her due although her work is in a lighter vein. Jennifer Weiner does write chick-lit and we love her for it, bu it isn't high art. It isn't going to be studied in universities except in a course of pop culture.

  • B. Lynn Goodwin

    Love it!

  • Laura Zigman

    Hey all of you! Thanks for the great comments! I've been meaning to answer each one but basically we're all on the same page here: Jennifer Weiner has really done a great job bringing this issue to the fore. It sometimes makes her unpopular out there (on Twitter), which means she should get an extra gold star of appreciation. As for making these movies, they're TOO MUCH FUN. Try it yourself. A good way to procrastinate and you'll be able to tell yourself that you're "practicing writing dialogue."  #winning!!!

  • Regina Y. Swint

    I LOVE THIS!  I was waiting around for you to post your next movie, and I'm so glad I caught this one.  I probably shouldn't admit this, but I'm steadily becoming a fan of the frenemy guy.  He has grown on me and my "writer feelings" a little bit.  By the way, my sister and I loved the Someone Like You movie.  I also read Jennifer Weiner's In Her Shoes (before the movie) and I loved that movie, too.  I'm going to go look for her on Twitter, too.

  • Melody Fuller

    Very funny!

    Very sad, too...

  • Joanne Tombrakos

    I really love these movies! You are inspiring me to create some of my own. 

    As for the review disparity, may I add being self-published AND a woman take the challenge of getting attention and reviews up another few notches!!

  • Celine Keating

    Wonderful.  I'm off to tweet in support of Jennifer Weiner.

  • Alex Iwashyna

    That is hilarious and sad. PS. I loved the attention Jennifer Weiner brought to the book review gender discrepancy. Yay her!

  • Lisa Bertrand


  • Rochelle Jewel Shapiro

    This is HYSTERICAL. Thank you for it!

  • Kelli Swearingen

    Hey can you fill me in on what they're saying? The closed captioning doesn't work on this one. Sorry to ask.

  • Serena Schreiber

    HiLARious and uncomfortablely near the truth. The perferct procrastination station during #SheWriMo