Friday, June 7, 2013

Sexism and Feminism this week

And it's back! Another report about sexism in the geek and book world.  I just couldn't resist. Maybe I should make this a regular feature on my blog.

Sexism and Sci-fi: Strange Bedfellows

If you've been on twitter and follow any science fiction authors you've probably come across the SFWA drama.  If you haven't I'm here to give you links that'll get you in the loop.

There are so many posts and rebuttals and blogs commentating on it that I had trouble figuring out where the drama even began. It started with a SFWA bulletin cover, an essay about the sexed-up covers for SFWA, rebuttals about how the response essay was censorship  then chaos as everyone had an opinion.  Here is a pretty good synopsis (that is also fairly brief) for those wanting the basics. 

Ann Aguirre talked about some of the sexism she's seen in science fiction circles.  Her blog post is excellent and appalling in almost equal measure.  It's important for well-known authors to come out and say "This is what happened to me."
At that con, I watched a respected male SF author get sloppy drunk and make women uncomfortable, fans and writers alike. I was one of them. I watched a respected SF writer break an elderly female fan’s heart by refusing to spend a minute talking with her. He was everything brusque, self-important, and rude. I consoled her afterward. I had a respected SF writer call me “girlie” and demand that I get him a coffee, before the panel we were on TOGETHER. When he realized I was not, in fact, his coffee girl, he didn’t apologize. And once we got into the panel, he refused to let me (or anyone else) speak. He interrupted me. He talked over me. He responded to questions that the audience asked me, when they asked me, by name, and he wouldn’t respond to the moderator, who was also female.

Read it all here

And here is the tweet that won the internet this week for me, especially when it relates to bullshit like sexism in science fiction. Seriously, since the first science fiction book was written by a woman (a very young woman even) I think it's time we put the "sci-fi is for men" thing to rest.

Feminism and Young Adult aka Jezebel vs. Maureen Johnson

This is considerably LESS controversial.  It's good that we're talking about feminism and young adult fiction.  However, the conversation about this could be better, more aware of the existing works and  a lot less self-promotional.

Here is a questionable part of this "How to" aka Jezebel Readers Buy My Book piece:
As a so-called “young adult” (a marketing euphemism that somehow always reminds me of the various genteelly squeamish terms for pregnancy)...
First if you don't believe YA is a thing why are you writing it?  For me and many others, this reads as talking down to young adult readers and writers.  From reading her article a couple of times, it looks like she's read very minimal YA, just the required reading of Twilight and Hunger Games are referenced.

If we're going to talk about feminism in YA then actually talk about feminism in YA.  Don't pretend like you're Lewis and Clark going into brave new territory, but acknowledge the work of those who came before you.  Ask on twitter for recommendations for YA feminist books and I'm sure a few will come back.  Feminist YA writers isn't a new thing, unless you've only read the problematic paranormal books that we're trendy for awhile. There's a lot more to YA than sparkly vampires.  Talk about E. Lockhart (my favorite feminist YA writer, LOVE HER), Tamora Piece, Libba Bray, etc.  Talk about the writers who made me comfortable with the word feminism (Long story. The first feminist I met was not somebody I wanted to emulate).  Talk about all the great messages and variety of heroines represented by books that deserve more readers.  Don't just sell your book, sell that feminism is for young adults as well. Heck, I think teenagers need feminism and if I was ridiculously wealthy I'd be gifting every teenage girl the E. Lockhart collection because I think feminism belongs in YA literature.

If you want to read the whole Jezebel article here you go.

Okay this is my second sexism and feminism report on the blog.  Do you want me to try to make this a regular feature? 

No comments: