more sfwa gaffery and the question of censorship

Ah, well, shit. You know, I wasn't going to go here. I was hoping it would go away. It's summertime. Flipflops and beers and cheeseburgers in paradise, man. But people keep reading and linking this post. By the way, you should read Chuck Wendig's posts on sexism when you get a chance.  I wasn't going to  mention anything about all this cuz, you know. What purpose does it serve my career? But the world keeps blowing up and I started wondering what purpose does my silence serve my daughter?

So here goes.

First, a story to illustrate the point that I am not a rabid feminist nor a liberal fascist, though this should prove it well enough. At Denver Comic Con I rocked the crimped hair. I happened to be on a panel with an older, very respected writer who I am friendly with but don't know well. He petted my hair on the panel, saying, "You don't get to wear hair like this without people wanting to touch it to see what it feels like." It got a good laugh--yes, from me, too. It was funny. My hair had been petted a few dozen times already. It was  entertaining to the crowd and kind of endearing. Do I think he'd do that to a guy with crimped hair? Probably not. Do I think he was being sexist? No. I give my peers a lot of leeway. We're SFF writers. We're in the entertainment industry. We have the fucking license on weird, damn it.

Not that it was flirting, but I've been flirted with plenty, and done some of my own. I certainly don't think flirting perpetuates rape culture. Though this sure as fuck does.

I've been around the block with sexism.  I've always been smaller than everyone else and younger looking than I am.  I know it when I see it. And I'm seeing it endorsed by one of my professional organizations.

Some people say calm down about it already. Okay. Lets calmly take some quotes completely out of context and switch 'em  up and see how they read? (Bold is my adjustments for effect)

A group of  younger writers and fans objects to the white guy in blackface on the cover of the Bulletin, and they're making quite a bit of noise about it. 
We addressed gay writers in the earlier issue, and gay editors and publishers in the later one. And we seem to have offended some members...  How? By having the temerity to mention that Famous Gay Editor...is attractive.


In my post on sexism over at the Night Bazaar, I discuss intent and action. I'll give you that some people are sexist without meaning to be (lack of intent, only action). But two wise, older men, scions of the SF community, writers with millions of words between them? These are people who think shit through. These are people who have learned how to express themselves. So I'm gonna go out on a limb here and call it:  there was intent behind their action.

On a panel at DCC I mentioned the book Twilight during a discussion of muggles who claim not to read Science Fiction or Fantasy. Collective groan, right? But I held up my hand. Wait, I said. Millions of readers can't be wrong.

And in this case, hundreds of people (consistent with ratios, considering the amount of us actually affected by what appears in the Bulletin; 2000 or so) are speaking out.

Hundreds of people can't be wrong.


Then there are the quotes that stand just fine on their own.

 I don't like the objections myself, and I find them offensive.  Barry Malzberg
...the Iron Curtain had been imposed upon the populace dictatorially. The liberal fascists are trying to do this to you and your relationship to the First Amendment...     Barry Malzberg

The answer is simple and straightforward: I don't think it's possible to overreact to thought control...      Mike Resnick

Loaded word and concept, censorship, and to no one more than a bunch of writers. Ditto thought control. Like I said, these people know their job of stringing words well.


Back to me not being a rabid feminist. I look around the world, and particularly the SF world that I love, and it's as if a veil is getting lifted from my eyes. In 4 out of 7 panels at DCC I was the only woman on the panel. Not an unusual ratio on SF/F panels (last WorldCon I was the only female on 3 out of 4 panels). Look around at the parties next time you're at WorldCon or World Fantasy. Typically males outnumber females something like 2-1 in my experience.

My point? Women are a literal, not just a figurative, minority in SF/F writing and editing. And as enlightened as we genre professionals think we are, we are also human. That means facts remain, like women making less money, like not being able to toss a rock without hitting a female of any age who has endured sexism (including my own 11 year old daughter),  like three things I can find in three minutes: here and here and here.

It's a problem. We write science fiction and fantasy, damn it.  We envision a better future and take past mistakes to task. We shouldn't be a part of the problem.


2 comments:

j.a. kazimer said...

All great points. Publishing certainly has it's problems and I'm glad you addressed this one.

Did you see ReaderCon had to add a written policy about 'bad' touching and how to interact physically at the con? That was when I realized how bad it can be for a woman in the Science Fiction/Fantasy community. Not that all Sci/Fantasy authors/readers have sexism issues, but it must be bad if a con needs to add a written policy.

See you tomorrow night!

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Ugh. We must have forgotten our kindergarten lessons. Sheesh.