I've been very concentrated on packing and finishing this draft of KoO, but I haven't had my head in the sand. Things that happen on the internet still garner my attention.
Firstly, let me give you some background:
I've grown up in institutionalised sexism. Around here, even if a woman can hold her own, and can sometimes beat the men, she's considered less than, just for being a woman.
Never mind any accomplishments by women, ever. It's the "good old boy" network around here, plain and simple.
The clichés about rednecks are epitomised by the people I live around every single day.
To this end, every time I've stood up and said "no thanks" to condescending "Here let me get that for you, pretty little woman" or had an opinion that differed from what any of the men around were expressing, I've been called frigid, loud mouthed bitch, and worse. (Those that read my personal blog will know there are exceptions to this, but they are friends for a reason.)
It's something I've lived with every single day.
There, that's my background, beyond saying that I am a woman.
As a woman, and someone who prefers fantasy to romance, I've noticed a trend in fantasy and sci-fi that's always been there, and hasn't changed in the last 50 years.
Seemingly, to the sci-fi/fantasy community, I do not exist. Ask any magazine, or novel marketer, and they will say they are attempting to reach a demographic of "12-25 year old males." Why? Because that's who the "good old boy" networks are familiar and comfortable with.
The "good old boys" know that age group, because they used to be part of it. And if any women want to join their "club" then they too need to cater to that group.
It makes no sense. If women are good enough to write sci-fi/fantasy (Marion Zimmer Bradley, CJ Cherryh, Mercedes Lackey, Tanya Huff, Anne McCaffrey) and be published multiple times over, not only in short stories, but in novels, then why are we not good enough to read it?
Now, you may ask why I wrote the above paragraph. It's because the genre is going through some radical changes right now. Changes that are stirring up a lot, and putting itching powder in the highly tailored suits of the "good old boys".
I said before that the market has always been directed at 12-25year old boys. It's simple to tell that is the truth, just by looking at chicks in chainmail
. That's just three small examples. Gleaned from Google. This one
also came up.
It's indicative of a trend that's been around a long time. (Most recently, WoW
) The fantasy genre uses objectified women to draw in their targeted demographic.
Except their targeted demographic isn't buying the magazines and the books. Women are. And if we never bought books with the art work, good women writers would never be bought either
. (Sara Douglass
, Marion Zimmer Bradley
, and more MZB
Recently, this subject was brought to a head, because Realms of Fantasy
, a rather prominent sci-fi/fantasy magazine just relaunched themselves, under new ownership/management. And someone asked "More man-butt please."
And, shockingly, the first cover of this newly relaunched magazine? Right back to the same old, same old.
No one's really shocked, but a more than a few are disappointed.
I, personally, write a lot of fantasy. I like playing in new worlds, and deciding all the little things that make a world real. But I have to say, if any of my female protagonists ever ended up looking like them? I'd laugh my head off.
Back to sexism: The real fail here is the fact that when it's brought up some people don't "get it" on an epic scale
. (My personal favourite is Clint Harris
. He's such a winner. But I have to give mad
props to Jim C Hines
, who linked me to all of this.)
The same old arguments are being rehashed. "Well, if she were more polite."
No. We're tired
of being polite. We've been polite, and all it's gotten us things like this
. (Although, to combat that THIS
is a thing of beauty.)
Polite hasn't gotten us anywhere. Now we're being loud. Are we willing to be patient, and wait to see the next cover of the magazine that started all this? Yes. We are. (Or at least I am. This cover has gone to print. Let's see what they do with the next one.) But there needs to be a shift in the way that the entire genre views not only the women in the stories, but the women in the real world that are actually buying
We exist, boys. Get over it.Edit:
Quick reminder: Jim Hines' auction to benefit NCADV ends at midnight EST July 23rd
. The bid's up over $100 meaning that the winner gets an extra book thrown in, and it's for a good cause!