piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i've been catching up on the latest SFWA debacle, and OMG, so much fail. i wouldn't know where to begin if i addressed the events in question, even though i am fuming about many of the things i've read. so i'll just talk about one thing.

what struck me is that so many people STILL do not get what's sexist when talking about women's looks in a professional context. the clueless comment: "but it's a nice compliment! it's not crass and demeaning! he didn't mention her tits!".

guess what? compliments should please the person at whom they are directed. they should not make that person uncomfortable. they should not objectify that person. they should be appropriate to the context in which you are talking to / about that person.

let's say Joe Random writes: "I once met this beautiful woman, Jane Doe, a really amazing fantasy writer at the World Science Fiction Convention".

what and to whom is he writing? email to me as a friend, recounting past crushes? or is he penning a piece on the accomplishments of female writers in an industry magazine?

the former is none of my beeswax -- my friend Joe Random can have a looks-based crush all he wants; its his private fantasy.

the latter is sexist. what Jane Doe looks like is irrelevant to her abilities as a writer. putting it as the very first attribute indicates that what matters most about Jane Doe is how she looks and that she looks good. it's not appropriate for an article talking about women's contributions to science fiction. whether any particular woman is fuckable in the writer's eyes (however nicely you dress that up) is not part of her achievements. it's not relevant to buying Jane Doe's books, or voting for her for an industry award. it is merely one more tired blow in the long, seemingly never-ending series of blows that reduce women to objects that matter only to the "male gaze".

i don't want to see it in an article on the accomplishments of female science fiction writers. it marks Joe Random as a person whose professional opinion i will now downgrade for sexism. (and that's not "censorship", for crying out loud.)

if this is what you grew up with as acceptable, wake up: the world has been changing and you have apparently managed to adjust to all the myriad other changes without quite as much defensiveness. blacks are no longer relegated to the backs of buses either. so deal already, dammit. no, just because some woman you know wasn't insulted by a similar compliment does not make it ok (chances are she didn't want to make a fuss, and grit her teeth and smiled instead of telling you off). you've grown old, now grow wise. yeah i know, it's a lot of work. me, i think making half the human race feel valued is worth it.


oh, and Russell Davis? your comments are closed, so i can't tell you personally: what an unholy mess of an article, complete with tone argument (let's all be calm and reasonable now). guess what? we are. nobody has formed an actual lynch mob; radical feminist hordes are not storming the offices of the SFWA, pitchforks in hand. while i agree that most of us are probably sexist now and then (we're deeply immersed in our culture and our culture is profoundly sexist), sexism is not "natural"; it did not come about because "we're human and we sort both our interactions and our memory by sense, type, preference/non-preference". yes, humans objectify as part of conceptualisation in general, but that does not inevitably result in sexism. Camille Paglia notwithstanding, sexism is socio-cultural; many gender stereotypes differ by culture.

final tip to science fiction writers: research matters. don't mansplain on the net about the "natural" cause of sexism if you don't even grasp the distinctions between "sex" and "gender".
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i just watched the pilot for caprica (the sorta-prequel for battlestar galactica, and i liked it.

now i am going to be slave to the darn television schedule.

the pilot was very good. if you want to watch it, do yourself a favour and do NOT read syfy's summary; it is very spoilery IMO (i read it afterwards, and was glad for that). i have read very little about the show, so i'll only be talking about my impressions, and try to do so without spoilers. read on )

the show is filmed in/near vancouver as was BSG, and it's fun again to spy buildings and settings i recognize -- and here they're not shot in grainy high key, but they have spiffy CG additions, as befits an empire before its fall. there are quite a few little nods to BSG fans, but it's a series that stands alone, one needn't have watched BSG, or know anything about it.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
from the worldcon programme:

Panel 2: Fri 8/25 5:30 PM, 60-90 minutes.
Title: WHY IS SCIENCE FICTION SO WHITE?
Participants: Elizabeth Bear(M)
James Frenkel
Ian McDonald
Fiona Patton
Alan Rodgers
[Precis: An exploration of minorities in Science Fiction, both the writers and their characters.]

if this were a regular con, i wouldn't say anything. but the worldcon concom couldn't find a single person of colour for this panel? is science fiction that white?

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piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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