Suspicion

OK, if it’s blind review, then how does the reviewer know I’m a woman? It’s not gender studies, it’s not feminism, it’s not female writers, it isn’t an area where you can reasonably assume the author is female.

I do have a bit of a recognizable style, what’s with my overuse of utterly and entirely, my rants about neoliberalism and the nation-state, and my obsession with Zygmunt Bauman. So my question is whether the review is so positive because the reviewer knows me in person and likes me or because they recognize my work.

Hmm…..

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19 thoughts on “Suspicion”

    1. What I usually do in my reviews is avoid pronouns and refer to the author as “the author.”

      You are right, of course, but the review is suspiciously kind. Why are they so kind if they don’t know me in person?

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      1. “Why are they so kind if they don’t know me in person?”

        Perhaps because the reviewer thinks that your work is well-written. 🙂

        There doesn’t necessarily have to be any hidden motive.

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        1. It is, indeed, a very good article. But we always try to be nasty smart asses in reviews. I mean, last week, I suggested that an author “abstain from pseudo-analytical ramblings.”

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          1. “It is, indeed, a very good article.”

            Well, if the reviewer wanted to be snarky, he/she could point out that no one would accuse you of false modesty. 🙂

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      2. I also now have an obsessive feeling that I recognize the reviewer’s voice, too. There is this insistent and very assured use of the “I” in the review that makes me think I know who she is.

        This is what happens to people whose work entails sitting in a room alone for hours each day. We get a bit obsessive.

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      3. Did the reviewer refer to you as “she/her” in the review?

        “…the review is suspiciously kind. Why are they so kind if they don’t know me in person?”

        Some people just really like the work. I was occasion been blown away by the elegance or originality of the work I was reviewing, which was done by people I had never heard of. In that case, I was always more than happy to praise them effusively in my review (because God knows far too much work is boring and derivative).

        Having said that, I have read many times that there are differences in men’s and women’s writing, even in academic technical writing. For example, women tend to qualify their statements more.

        Several editors of short-fiction anthologies and special issues of magazines, who had read blind, said it’s amazing how accurately they could guess if something had been written by a man or a woman. There are these intangibles in how we relate to the world around us, what we see, what we allow ourselves to feel or say, and they seep into every creative endeavor.

        Congrats on receiving a great review!

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        1. “Did the reviewer refer to you as “she/her” in the review?”

          • Exactly.

          “Having said that, I have read many times that there are differences in men’s and women’s writing, even in academic technical writing. For example, women tend to qualify their statements more.”

          • In my culture, it’s the exact opposite and I’m the prime example. 🙂 But hey, I’m getting published, so who cares?

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          1. That’s right — eyes on the prize! 😀

            It could also be that the reviewer recently heard you speak at a conference and from the topic and discussion assumed that the author would likely be you.

            Finally, is double-blind review common in your field? In mine, it’s not. The reviewer always knows who the author is. So maybe your actually had the info on who you are in this particular case.

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    1. “Blind review isn’t very blind”

      The idea that someone is qualified enough to judge an article by Clarissa (and wouldn’t or couldn’t figure out who it was very quickly) is kind of ludicrous.

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      1. “The idea that someone is qualified enough to judge an article by Clarissa (and wouldn’t or couldn’t figure out who it was very quickly) is kind of ludicrous.”

        • Funny. 🙂 As I said, I do have a bit of a recognizable style. :-)))))

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      2. There’s that, but also — in my fields which have more people in them and when I was new, so not easily known — I got reviews where they knew me. One somehow knew what else I’d written and one knew my race / ethnicity.

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  1. Congratulations on acceptance!

    Is your review process blind or double-blind? In a blind review the reviewer knows who is the author, but not the other way around. In a double-blind neither knows the other. Most of my science journals have a blind review, only a few operate a double-blind one. Altough lately I have seen a trend of being asked to sign my review, I guess for better transparency and elimination of extremely nasty reviewing that sometimes happens.

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    1. Every review I have ever written, I never knew who the author was. It’s supposed to be strictly double-blind once it went to reviewers.

      “Altough lately I have seen a trend of being asked to sign my review, I guess for better transparency and elimination of extremely nasty reviewing that sometimes happens.”

      • That’s very disturbing. It’s total Facebookization of the process.

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