Missing the point?

<p>Accusations of misogyny were raised against genre fiction twice recently. With the British Fantasy Society <a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/97844-horror-publishers-deny-sexism-ch... an anthology of horror </a>which featured no women writers and literary critic Jessica Mann resigning over the prevalence of &quot;<a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/100913-reviewer-quits-over-sadistic-mi... misogyny&quot;</a> in crime fiction, is it true to say that genre fiction is awash with bigots?&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>
<p>Perhaps horror publishing houses are governed by little boys' clubs who just want to smoke their cigars and read the <i>Telegraph</i> in peace? I don&rsquo;t know, and I don&rsquo;t know for sure how many female horror fiction writers there are, published or not. I do, however, profoundly believe that genres such as horror are not mono-gendered in both the audience they appeal to and those that wish to write in that niche. So it does seem curious that there exist houses and best of lists that only feature male writers. Having said this, as a publisher of pulp fiction, I am having an extreme struggle to find women writers to write violent revenge fiction for me, and if there are any out there, do not hesitate to get in touch.</p>
<p>In regards to crime fiction, maybe it&rsquo;s an aspect of conditioning but a female victim is a sure-fire plot device that&rsquo;ll have the reader rooting for the protagonist&mdash;more often that not, an alcoholic divorcee&mdash;and baying for justice against the perpetrator. An alternative option would be a child.</p>
<p>To do this and achieve the gratuitousness that a lot of crime fiction fans pay their &pound;7.99 for is an almost unimaginable task in this day and age. The key thing is that the victim has to have a vulnerability that we sympathise with and a horrific/criminal act that embodies injustice. This is a hard nut to crack if the victim is an oafish man. Isn&rsquo;t it true, for those of us who read crime fiction, that these acts against women are themselves misogynistic in nature, and we keep reading in the hope that righteous comeuppance is visited upon the antagonist?</p>
<p>Perhaps this not a cerebral pursuit, but crime fiction is usually about entertainment through the medium of literature, a bit of escapism, rather than a discussion on gender issues.</p>
<p>The key thing is that misogyny, like love and hate, is a strong word that should not be flung around without consideration. By doing so, we run the risk of taking the power out of such an important noun to describe the truly guilty and in doing so also provide fuel for the &ldquo;political correctness gone mad&rdquo; brigade. <br />