Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sexism & Feminism in Geekery 16

Sorry for the delay in writing this column.  You may wonder why it has taken me so long to write this edition of Sexism and Feminism. Well, frankly, there were so many explosions on this front that it was intimidating as hell to attempt to gather and organize the information into one cohesive piece.  Sometimes I like to wait till the dust settles in hopes of gaining some perspective.  But to hell with being cohesive!  Here is a spattering of links for you to analyze!

Everyone Has Thoughts About John Green

Y'all, this is probably the biggest reason for the delay.  Someone wrote an article about John Green and his impact on the success of women writer's in YA.  By the time I saw the link to the article, supposedly it'd already been changed and updated by the writer. Thus I found it difficult to get a grasp on what was actually said.  However, I did see some very interesting twitter conversations surrounding the article, so those are what I will share.

Sara Zarr also had an interesting storify on the conversation that's worth reading.  Here's the thing, I like John Green.  I was involved in Nerdfighteria before I was a book blogger or before I read John Green's books.  I've noticed through following Green on different mediums throughout the years that he tries to spread his success around.  When people try to crown him the High Priest of YA he points towards books that he considers better than his (many of which are by my favorite authors like Melina Marchetta and that I agree are better books).  Yes, John Green has influence in the YA community and he's a bit of a media darling because he's a bit of an oddity.

However, attributing a female author's success to him is problematic for a variety of reasons, mainly because it discredits the woman's work.  Does John Green champion books he loves? Yes.  But you know, I think the credit still goes to the author herself for writing a book worth championing.  That's not to say John Green's influence isn't weird and disconcerting at times but let's try not to discredit women in our attempts to understand the gender politics of publishing.  (Note: I feel bad for leaving out Maureen Johnson's tweets on this topic and other's. There was so much intelligent conversation around this topic that I cannot include it all).

John Green and Twilight (Is this whole column about him?)

So there was a second John Green incident.  One that was a little bit blown out of proportion in my opinion (mainly because I've seen others say the same thing).
In the past, I've linked articles that discuss how many of the "Twilight is terrible" conversations are misogynistic and how the world likes to shit on things that teenage girls like (See example here).  I've read even more articles than I've linked about how the levels of hatred for Twilight are worrisome.  Here's the thing, I hate Twilight for the same reason most feminists hate Twilight, i.e. the abusive relationship.  But I also hate the people who hate Twilight just because teenage girls love it and thus it's clearly worthless.  For the record, I read the Twilight books but a lot of people just love loathing without any knowledge of why. To be honest, I almost wrote a whole column about how you could complain about both but then John Green actually elaborated.
So I think we’re talking about two different kinds of criticism: The totally legitimate criticism we see in literary journals and feminist web sites about misogyny, and the demeaning and dismissive this-sucks-because-teen-girls-like-it-and-everyone-knows-that-teen-girls-are-not-fully-human criticism we see in popular culture.
THIS EXACTLY. This is the problem with a lot of the Twilight hate.  Read his full response here.

SFWA Petition WTF

So this one is SUPER SPECIAL.  A guy who isn't even in SFWA decided to create a petition in response to the accusations of sexism in the SFWA bulletin.
But you don’t get to claim marginalization when you’re at the center of a thing. You can’t endorse the efforts of bigots to establish a safe space for their bigotry, and then plausibly claim you’re not one of them. You don’t get to pretend that you’re in the demographic minority when you’re… not. And like I Tweeted yesterday before I had to go offline for some therapeutic Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer, you don’t get to pretend you’re being mistreated when really, you’re just being treated like your voice isn’t the only important one in the room anymore. 

N.K. Jemison gets to the heart of why the petition is problematic (read more). Radish Reviews has a nice summary here as well as a link to the original petition.  You can read the crazy facebook rant of the person who sent out the petition here.

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