Are Women Really Better Writers Than Men?

In a recent poll, 59 percent of people asked said they believe women are, generally, better writers. (We like those people.)
Publish date:
September 22, 2014
sexism, books, reading, men, authors, women, gender, bylines

I've always been a girls' girl, the exact opposite of those annoying women who say they mainly have dude friends because they just relate to them soooo much better because less drama and less artifice and less back-stabbing and less ugh, whatever, irritating. I've just always felt a stronger intrinsic kinship with women, because, duh, I am one.

What this lady-centric worldview also means for me is that I read, almost exclusively, books by women. Sure, I'm a raging feminist who wants to support lady artists however I can, but it also stems from a more selfish urge -- that aforementioned fact that I just get women better. I like understanding and I like feeling understood.

Plus, speaking generally, there's some universal stuff that lots of us women have been through -- professionally, personally, socially -- sexism, mental/physical/sexual violence, relationship pitfalls, as well as heaps of everyday offenses ranging from vile street harassers' jabs to nagging questions from distant cousins about our love lives. So yeah, like I said. Women writers and me are TIGHT LIKE THAT; in addition to being a lady writer myself, I also read tons of them. So many that it bothers me -- to the point of "dealbreaker" -- if a guy I'm scoping on OKCupid doesn't list at least one book by a female author as a favorite. Seriously, friend? You can't scrounge up one paltry woman? (And are you too dense to even consider the feminist points it would lend you?)

Maybe I'm reading into it too much, but I don't really think so. In a world where working women still earn only 77 percent of what their dude counterparts do (and in media, newspaper newsrooms are still 63 percent male, and men still get way more bylines than women do in major outlets), we women can use all the help we can get in supporting each others' work.

Aside from all this, though, I'd never really stopped to think about whether women were actually BETTER WRITERS than men. Not sure why; I guess I always figured, as mentioned above, that I liked them because of that kinship thing. But maybe I'm also more mystically pulled to them because they're just, like, more skilled. Huh!

At least that's what online grammar-checker Grammarly concluded in a recent poll they conducted (see infographic below) that sought to answer the perennially mind-boggling question: For Once and For All, Who Writes Better -- Men or Women?

The results were intriguing. For all those idiot brahs on OKC who seem to have never cracked a book by a female author, Grammarly turned up plenty of people (men included) who think we women write pretty damn well. In fact, overall, 59 percent of the 3,000 people polled (both men and women) said they believe women are better writers.

They also said they think women are better at character development and writing about people instead of things. About 75 percent of respondents claimed that women are more inclined to write "long, descriptive sentences" instead of "short, straightforward ones," which could be an insult or a compliment, depending on your taste and preferred writing style. But the overall takeaway, Grammarly notes, is that "women are generally regarded to be superior writers."

Fascinating, no? I mean, obviously this doesn't scientifically prove anything, or anything. It's just the opinion of some random people polled by a random website. But it's the opinion of a pretty decent number of people (3,000 isn't nothing) and it raises interesting questions. I also appreciate the focus it puts on women's writing in general -- we exist, and we're pretty awesome, and it would be great if our work could get celebrated more often (especially the writing of women of color, which, unacceptably, probably gets the least amount of love of all).

So. Are women really better writers? Who are your favorites?

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