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Haiku Maven: An Editor’s Gender Myth?

hm_logo Dear Haiku Maven, I know you have written on this subject before. But I believe my problem merits special attention. I am a well-known co-editor of a major online haiku journal. The other editor is a woman. We get many haiku submissions during each reading period. Sometimes one of us rejects a haiku with a thoughtful comment on how the haiku could be improved. In almost every case, we will get a comment or two in response from the submitter. My co-editor has pointed out to me that the more positive comments come from the women poets and the more negative comments come from the male poets. I have noticed one particular poet’s comments are sometimes nasty and insulting but don’t think that has anything to do with his gender. My co-editor says that if the poet’s name is gender neutral, she can predict with 100% accuracy the gender of the poet based solely on that poet’s response to our comments. I think this is a real gender myth. I’ve tried to discuss this with her but she won’t listen to reason. I have also checked in with one or two other male editors. Both told me they thought she was wrong. Is she?
Haiku Co-Editor

Dear Haiku Co-Editor Haiku Maven has read comments to editors from some very thoughtful poets, from both men and women. However, in Haiku Maven’s galaxy, which is not very far away, the few comments that verge on the vitriolic have come only from male poets. It may be that there are some “nasty and insulting” comments to haiku editors from poets who happen to be women. But Haiku Maven has never read one.

* With this issue Haiku Maven is taking a summer hiatus and will be returning on September 6.  In the meantime please continue to submit your questions and concerns about matters haiku. Haiku Maven offers advice about awkward situations involving haiku poets. The word maven comes from the Yiddish meyvn, meaning “one who understands.” Please use our Contact page to send a question. Haiku Maven will select a pseudonym for you based on your question. Click this link to see the Haiku Maven archive. Feel free to leave comments.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. You have to be joking; well known co-editor of a major online
    (is there such a thing?) haiku journal. Okay, pull up a chair and
    tell me all about it. Yeah, you guys too, gather around for a
    group huge.

  2. I think it has more to do with the upbringing and environment of the writer, whether or not they resort to intimidation… As well as their mental health. Words have long been used for intimidation and as long as their is violence in human nature you can be sure there will be violence in writing. Like Loren, I’d avoid such people like the plague.

  3. I’m with ‘Haiku Co-editor’ on this one. I don’t believe that insults or nastiness in emails to editors have anything to do with gender. And certainly the most vitriolic and insulting emails I’ve ever received as an editor were from a woman.

    Also, the most over-the-top, insulting, vitriolic emails I’ve ever had *from* an editor of an online journal was also from a woman (to whom I hadn’t even addressed the enquiry I’d made! ) I had to ask her co-editor to “call her off” as she continued sending me accusing, furious, nasty emails, whilst demanding that I did not reply to them! (Needless to say I have not had any involvement with that journal ever since, not even to visit the website)

    I don’t believe that in either case gender had anything to do with it. Bad temper and bad manners are not gender specific, after all. :-)

    Men or women, these people are the exceptions, I’m happy to say. The great majority of people in my haiku universe are pleasant and thoughtful, a delight to deal with. As an editor, I get as many positive and appreciative comments from men as I do from women.

    – Lorin

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