My first response to Numbers Trouble, is gratitude for someone bothering to check the assumptions and facts that were produced and recirculated through in Jennifer Ashton's piece that said that there is not need for feminism. From the research, fact checking, and survey information that we read in the piece by Spahr and Young, it is clear that feminism still has a place in poetry, in literature, and in society. It's clear that even artists who consider themselves educated and knowledgeable can make the huge mistake of underestimating the need for a consistent push for equal treatment and respectful consideration of "minority" groups. These sort of movements that are supported by a group or are done to secure rights for a group seem to me to exist in a sort of "watchdog" position for a lot of their existence. Just because a situation has been reconciled or is making progress toward fairness, doesn't mean that if that "policing" group were to retire or disband, that the fairness or progress would continue in its absence.
This is the connection that the authors were making when describing the function of feminist or female-author-centered anthologies or collections. it would be a fantastic idea to think that we may someday reach a point in a future society where these types of groups and themes in anthologies and other publications wouldn't be "needed," in a sense, to remind people of the existence of the work, but would be made in celebration and seen as just a collection around a certain topic, and not mostly as an artistically functional political statement, as has been the case for the last several decades.
Additionally, I think it is important to note that the area and the poets' experiences that are being discussed in this essay may differ from Ashton's focus in her article. The authors' desire here is to apply the findings in Ashton's piece to the experiences that they and other experimental/postmodern/avant-garde/innovative poets have witnessed and lived through. Here, I would like to propose that the same trend of male-dominance has been prevalent in similar or parallel movements in the other arts and in other experimental aspects of society. It seems that this may stem from the educational gap that has had such an impact on US society. just like any other instance of social under-representation, if younger generations of people don't see examples and role-models to look up to and high levels of capability, it takes longer for those talented, skilled, and capable individuals to rise to the top of their field and for others from that group to join them in noticeable amounts.
This has also been the case for other realms in education or occupational fields where education is necessary or preferred. The "shortage" of women in different fields of science and mathematics has been well addressed in US society through different programs in schools and universities. in my own personal experience, if I had been a student in another field of study there would have been more institutional support structures to guide me through to success in my selected industry if I had majored in engineering or been a pre-med student. Then again, this is also due to this specific university's undeniable overall focus on the sciences. If more of these types of institutional support systems were available for female writers from a younger age, we might see more accepting attitudes toward those that are present today since the problem would be more concrete and socially visible. As it stands today, the world of poetry, especially experimental/postmodern/avant-garde/innovative poetry is not easily accessed by the public, so problems within the genre are kept, whether purposefully or incidentally, from being detected or addressed within view of the rest of US literature and wider society.