Huckleby wrote:are you arguing that men and women write the same way?
That's not even a well-constructed question. People are individuals, and write their own way.
Taken en masse, it's possible that there are semi-consistent differences between the ways that many but not all men write and the ways that many but not all women write. If such differences exist, my guess is they're due to a tangled mix of biology, socialization, and individuals' lived experiences. There will also be many exceptions to any generalization you can come up with.
If women write with the same sensibility as men, then why have a women's bookstore, or women's literature studies?
Some people would say there's no need for either. I think this might be the gist of Ralph Wiley's reply to Saul Bellow, who had sneered "Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus?" Wiley's response: "Tolstoy is the Tolstoy of the Zulus." Likewise, Shakespeare is the Shakespeare of women, and Austen is the Austen of men. Tolstoy's works belong to all humanity, not just those who shared his skin color. As a human being
, I claim Jane Austen as part of my cultural heritage, regardless of the difference in our gender.
Others would say that because women's voices have been historically devalued, there are many women authors whose works aren't as well known as they should be, and perhaps a bookstore or a college course focusing on those works will help bring them to the attention of people who might otherwise miss them.
I can see value in both of those views. I don't think either one is particularly relevant to the question of whether Naipaul's remarks are offensive or not. The existence of A Room of One's Own doesn't let Naipaul off the hook, giving him free license to be a misogynist!
On the other hand, If men and women are different, then why should we not expect some people to have a preference for one style or the other?
There's nothing wrong with having a preference for a certain voice or style of writing. Nobody's blaming him for that. Where he goes wrong is by lumping all women writers in together, dismissing them en masse, formulating absurd and nonsensical explanations to justify his dismissal, using adjectives like "feminine" as insults, ...