Thursday, February 21, 2013

Who Let The Girls In?

Maybe I'm a little touchy about this due to the women's lit class I'm teaching these days, but wow, what an agglomeration of asshats are swarming the internets these days.

First this guy, over a t Strange Horizon, sighing with exasperation in the comments to Kelly Rose Pflug-Back's post-apocalyptic story, "The Clover Still Grows Wild in Wawanosh," that he is "tired of all these lesbian stories," (in what, while it contains a character which is a lesbian, is hardly what I would call a lesbian story -- whatever the fuck a lesbian story is, don't ask me).

Then this tool, the "fearsome pirate,' over at the Boarshead Tavern, mansplains to us about feminism, which he also mansplains is a lie, though he's not really clear what the lie part is.  As far as I can tell, the lie part is because wimmins don't tell him he's the bestests anymore.

When I say “feminism,” I’m referring to the spectrum of ideology running from websites like Jezebel to university Women’s Studies departments, whose fundamental tenet is that the difference between women and men is largely–or even entirely–artificial and socially constructed. If you affirm that the behavioral, social, and economic differences between men and women are largely due to causes much deeper than surface “social constructs” that can be reconstructed at will, I wouldn’t call you a feminist.
I run into this kind of feminism all the time. Those sports articles I linked, which complained that women’s sports aren’t as popular as men while ignoring or outright denying the elephant in the room (namely, that women’s sports are actually men’s sports being played by women at a much lower level of performance), are pretty good examples of it, or at least its influence. Other examples would be hand-wringing over the lack of prevalence of women in STEM fields, punishing boys for not behaving like girls in school, whining about “patriarchal social standards of beauty,” automatically fast-tracking young women for management to avoid EEOC lawsuits, wondering why older men like younger women but not vice-versa, etc.

Then over at SF Signal, after the Nebula Awards were announced, and the list was not, for once, 98% straight white male authors -- yeah, you guessed it -- some straight white males proceeded to have tantrums in the comments.  From Jim Hines' blogpost on the event:

Sure is a huge slant towards women and the non white male. If we don’t start counteracting all the relentless one sided articles soon. Then SF is going to look a lot like the Romance Genre. And the funny thing is there wasn’t even a fight.
Thats my Counterpoint Mirror to todays Half Truths(its the other half that will complete you)

What's exasperating about this isn't that Someone is Wrong on the Internet (although, yeah, that's annoying): what's exasperating is the blind male privilege that operates here.  You wonder how these guys -- I hesitate to call them men -- can think things like "a huge slant toward women and non-white males."  Or how they can write that schools punish boys for not behaving like girls, or that women are "automatically fast-tracked for management" for any reason, much less to avoid EEOC lawsuits.  Or how they can look at a couple of stories with a couple of gay characters and write something like "I'm tired of all these lesbian stories."

You think, "Don't they live in the actual world?  Can't they look around and see that 99% of fiction is actually -- really, in fact -- about heterosexual relationships?  That most prizes, publications, reviews and attention  do in fact going to white straight men? That it is mostly men who run the companies and the universities and the government?"

But no.  They do not see this.

It's like that experiment.  One woman talking on a panel, nine men talking. Each of them talks about the same amount. Polls are run.  Most of the men in the audience say, Jeez, that broad wouldn't shut up.

Because any time a woman speaks, any time we gain anything, that's too much for some men.

They see one prize list with some women on it and a few people of color.  They see some women doing well.  They see a tiny, tiny loss of their dominance.  That's too much for some men.

Or, as another commentor on SF signal said: "’s a very girly list for the most part. But looking back a few years, the Nebula’s been that way for quite some time.  Not much of interest here for my reading tastes. I read 346 books last year and my tastes are quite wide and roaming, but I do tend to stick to male authors."

Quite wide and long as, you know, they aren't girly.

Update: This comment, OTOH, cracks me up:

 Ken: I share the concern about the Nebula award being dominated by women and non-whites.
I want my sci-fi heroes to be named things like “Chip” and work in traditional naval-officer hierarchies. I am very concerned that if more women are encouraged to write, scenes of action and exploration will be replaced with delays for menstruation. Also, I find uteri to be unsettling and would not want to be pressured to read a book in which they become sentient and menace colonial outposts and possibly, if the girl writer is also non-white, eat spicy foods.
This is why Tom Clancy is my favorite science fiction writer. He should get the Nebula.


Anonymous said...

That comment is amazing, although my sentient uterus is now discouraged about finishing her SF novella, fearing the Patriarchs Will Not Approve.

delagar said...

Just don't write about menstruation or faijitas, you'll be cool!