Linkspam, 7/5/13 Edition – Part 2

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.

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July 5, 2013

 And then go home to your empty apartment.

This is part two of this week’s linkspam–part one is more general links, these are more focused.

First is a new discussion in the romance community about m/m romance about bi and trans* and female characters in books marketed as m/m romance.

And last–but certainly not least–are all the links I’ve collected since Monday on sexual harassment and sexism in the science fiction community. As before, this is not intended to be a comprehensive list and I am sure I’ve missed some posts. Feel free to drop links in comments!

And, finally, due to John Scalzi’s announcement around his convention harassment policy, Alyssa Rosenberg wrote a piece on ThinkProgress.  There are a few things I noticed right off the bat. First of all, she never mentions Elise Matthesen by name. She is, in Rosenberg’s article, merely a friend of John Scalzi’s. This is reductive and completely non-representative of Matthesen’s involvement in science fiction fandom. If she wanted to talk about spending social capital, she could have started by talking about the capital Matthesen used to have her post appear on not just one but on six popular blogs.

Additionally, Rosenberg decides that the proper context for this discussion is as a part of the problem in media fandom–which, while related to science fiction fandom, is a bit of a different beast because media fandom conventions are usually larger and run by and for corporate entities and science fiction conventions are usually much smaller and run by fans for fans.  While there is certainly overlap, by contextualizing Scalzi’s statement as an outgrowth of the media fandom conversation Rosenberg has in effect silenced all the women in science fiction fandom who have been talking about this.

When I raised these issues to Rosenberg on Twitter, I was told that I was setting up a “wild strawman” and that I was merely upset that she wasn’t sending traffic elsewhere–most of her post’s link go to pieces that Rosenberg wrote.  The way this conversation is framed is important and I was–and am–disappointed in her reaction to criticisms of her piece.  It would have cost Rosenberg so little to use Elise Matthesen’s name in her article and so little to contextualize the larger discussion around sexism in science fiction. And while I understand the being a professional blogger/journalist has its own set of constraints (the more internal links she can use, the better their “engagement”), still. It’s disingenuous and in this case reinforces the idea that something isn’t important until a man talks about it.

I am aware that Rosenberg linked to an article she wrote for Slate’s XX Factor that does provide some context; however, I have serious problems with how that article is framed as well.  While Rosenberg does mention some of the women involved, the issue is again presented as a problem that John Scalzi had to deal with, not as an ongoing and pernicious issue that women who have been dealing with since science fiction fandom came into existence.

I am well aware of the importance of allies in this fight for equality and safety, however it saddens me that the only relatively mainstream news article I’ve seen on this latest issue silences and marginalizes women’s voices in favor of that of a man.

And in closing, this excellent video (via)

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  1. Arachne Jericho

    “Wild strawmen” argument? I don’t that means what she thinks it means. I’m very disappointed too, though I know it’s not popular to be so.

    Thank you for the links. Sarah Hoyt is off my reading lists. As are quite a few other names. On the other hand, some names have definitely joined the reading lists, so, win some, lose some.

  2. Natalie Luhrs

    @Arachne Jericho: I was quite disappointed, too. I think it would have been so easy to make her piece more representative of the actual conversation and still have the intended audience be male allies.

    On the other hand, Sarah Hoyt never fails to disappoint. She’s utterly reliable in that respect.

  3. Cora

    @Natalie Luhrs: I’ve never come across a person who was so reliably wrong about everything as Sarah Hoyt. I sometimes think she is an escapee from bizarro universe, because that’s the only way her statements about those evil straw Communists everywhere make sense. And if anything, she’s gotten even worse after last year’s US election.

  4. Merrian

    The happy surrealness of that gothic video reminds me of the story by Shirley Jackson ‘The Lottery’ 🙂 Which then made me wonder if there is a parallel between JW and Mrs Hutchinson. Not Mrs H as scapegoat but Mrs H as artificial and hypocritical and so the target of her own fears.

  5. dichroic

    That the m/m romance discussion is even happening means they’re at least ahead of the het romance genre – how many people are arguing that it’s “disrespectful” to keep non-het sex out of those? Some are, I’m sure, and I can think of at least a couple of of authors of stuff with a lot of romance in it (I bet you can think of actual romance authors, I just don’t read much of the genre) who don’t shy away from same-sex pairings. But still there’s an awful lot that never acknowledge any other possibilities but m/f.

    (Hopefully, the only reason I think so is exactly because I’m not up on recent romance novels. I would like very much to be wrong here.)


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