Success! Esquire Responds to the GenderAvenger Community, Creates New Book List

Esquire Magazine
What can we say? We messed up…

So begins Esquire Magazine’s recent apology and promise to do better in including women's voices!

GenderAvenger highlighted Esquire's "80 Books Men Must Read” list in our Hall of Shame in July of 2015. Out of 80 books, only one book on the list was written by a woman, Flannery O’Connor. The lack of women was so egregious that GenderAvenger supporters wondered if Esquire thought Flannery O’Connor was a man.


We asked our subscribers to tweet their frustration to Esquire with recommendations for women authors and books by women, and the GenderAvenger community flooded social media. Based on community suggestions, we created and published a list of 51 women authors and 56 books by women.

Many Tweets and Facebook posts later, we asked the community to do even more by going to Esquire's website and commenting on the article — a lot to ask in a world of mostly one-click responses.

After a week, almost a third of all the comments on the article were generated by the GenderAvenger community. While we awaited a response from Esquire, we were happy to see “80 Books Every Man Should Read” in the spotlight again with the publication of Rebecca Solnit’s Literary Hub piece "80 Books No Woman Should Read."

Esquire started 2016 with the publication of a response, “80 Books Every Person Should Read,” and issued its apology:

What can we say? We messed up. Our list of "80 Books Every Man Should Read," published several years ago, was rightfully called out for its lack of diversity in both authors and titles. So we invited eight female literary powerhouses, from Michiko Kakutani to Anna Holmes to Roxane Gay, to help us create a new list. Each participant made 10 picks. It's a new year, a new We're looking forward to reading and we hope you are, too.

At GenderAvenger, we start 2016 even stronger in our belief that change is possible when we raise our collective voice. Thanks to everyone who supported this initiative, and kudos to Esquire for its honest response! We look forward to what we can achieve together in 2016.

Let’s give Esquire kudos for a step in the right direction!

Share on Twitter and Facebook:
Kudos @Esquire for taking responsibility & creating a diverse book list that everyone can enjoy! #genderavenger