I should be excited, muppet flailing around my house like a crazy person.
Instead, I am stuck in an endless loop of questioning what I’ve done in putting out a *gasp* Science Fiction Romance novel, alternating with being extremely angry at what I’ve been reading about the SF community lately.
First off, read this:
This is essentially what started a whole mess of me ranting a whole bunch of WTFs at my computer.
And then I read this:
Cue head explosion.
I just… I don’t know where to start with this total and complete bullshit. Yes, I knew going in that SF has been considered a “boy’s club” for longer than I’ve been alive. Yes, I am also aware that this is changing, but when you then read stuff like this:
Oh hell no. Hell. No.
Ann Aguirre, someone much more established as a writer than I am, is being treated this way? In places where she’s been invited as a guest? To speak as an equal alongside other keyboard jockeys (who happen to have boy parts)? And she’s getting hate email as a result of speaking up about it? What? What? What planet am I on? Did I suddenly go back in time fifty years? Is this real life???
I. Am. Angry. I am angry at those men for treating her that way and I am angry for what I, personally, have let slide in the past when it came to how I was treated by my “peers”. True, I have not experienced the level of what many women have (I consider myself a lucky anomaly in this), but I have experienced it and could tell you stories that would make you think a little differently about some publishing “professionals”, or just regular old joes on the street. This is not unique to Science Fiction and Fantasy people. It’s endemic in the whole of society. And it sucks.
Because of this, because of this “boy’s club”, I have to sit here wondering if I’m up for the battle ahead when it comes to Maven. I’ve actually been thinking about this issue a lot lately, and long before this recent hubbub started. What I’m facing is not a battle only on the Science Fiction side, but on the Romance side as well. In organizing my book blog tour for the end of June, I’m finding myself on the defensive. I have to convince Romance readers who may view SFR as “Science Fiction? Like with aliens? Pass.” that my book is something they would probably really enjoy given the chance. There are no aliens. There are no space ships. Yes, there is science, but it’s accessible, not some foreign language only rocket scientists and geneticists can understand. It’s for everyone. And then I have to turn around and convince SF readers that it’s not all “touchy feely girly things” as well. Add this ingrained misogyny to the mix and wow, do I have a fight on my hands!
But back to the assertion that “women” who read SFR don’t know their Phillip K. Dick from a hole in the ground, or that the only thing about Doctor Who they find appealing is David Tennant’s hair. To this, I say “you know nothing, Jon Snow”. I grew up reading Science Fiction and Fantasy. I consumed the movies and TV shows like they were the oxygen I needed to survive. I count everything Douglas Adams ever wrote as some of my all-time favorite books in the world (even the Dirk Gently series) and A Wrinkle in Time is required reading for my kids. I would rather rip my own tongue out with pliers than tell my girls to stay away from having interests in certain things because “that’s for boys”. I let my 3-year-old son play dress up with his sisters at the same time he hauls legos around in a toy dump truck, because why not? Encouraging these things will make them more well-rounded individuals and less likely to crap all over someone else’s love for whatever that might be later on down the road. So when some Old Boy from 1969 wants to tell me I can’t write SciFi because I have ovaries? Oh yes. You go right ahead and throw that gauntlet, sir. We can meet with lightsabers at dawn and I promise you it won’t be a hand you’re missing when I’m done.
It’s encouraging to see most of the comments on these posts and on Facebook and Twitter are as full of “WTF?” as I feel about all of this. Still, I can’t help but notice some of those commenters are ones I personally have felt turn up their noses at me or my work. They are possibly unaware of this, but some likely are. I’ve balked at calling them out on it because I didn’t want to cause problems in the communities I belong to, but they should know that as of right now, I will no longer grant such reprieves. If you want to bring your misogyny to my playground, you’d best be prepared for the consequences. I will not be trampled on and will not allow wonderful writers like Ann Aguirre to be trampled on any more. I will not be silent. You shouldn’t be either, dear reader. Because we need to be LOUD.