I’m angry today and I don’t have time to be angry. So I’ll blog about it and hope that will blow off some of the steam. Or blog off some of the steam. Whatever.
It’s 2013. And people are still trying to put women, and in particular to the points of this blog post, SF writers, in their place. Wherever that may be.
Item #1: prolific, talented fantasy and SF writer Seanan McGuire recently broke the record for the most Hugo nominations in one year. The woman has five. FIVE. Best Novel and Best Novella (under her psudonymn Mira Grant), Best Novelette (twice), and Best Fancast (the Squeecast, which won last year.)
I believe she also is the first person to get nominated for a self-published work, as one of her novelettes is from her blog.
So of course people are speculating about her skill, and whether she’s “really that good” and how she must have leveraged her fan base or self-promoted too much. The undercurrent is there is no way she earned all of those nominations, and she needs to be brought down to her place. I don’t even know how she is dealing with it (well, she blogged about it, but you know what I mean) – last year I was a gibbering mess whenever I saw a blog post stating how I was unworthy of the Campbell nomination. The thing is, I saw a lot of people, all of them men, doing lots of promotion for a Hugo nod. I did not see Seanan do that. But she is the one getting the shit.
I haven’t read her fantasy, but her SF is engrossing and fascinating and I’ve loved everything I’ve read by her. She’s got serious talent (she won the Campbell in ’11), and she’s prolific as hell.
And if you think just having a huge number of online fans is the clear track to awards, tell me why BoingBoing blogger Cory Doctorow hasn’t won a Hugo, or John Scalzi hasn’t been nominated for every book he’s written? Hell, I’ve got a larger online following than a lot of beginning writers and I came in 4th for the Campbell last year. So sure, Seanan has a lot of fans, but one needs more than that for awards.
(For the record, I think Cory and John are talented as hell, just saying that there’s a lot more to winning these things that just “lots of online fans.”)
Item #2: self-publishing sensation Hugh Howey recently had a blog post called “The Bitch from WorldCon.” (no, I’m not linking it.) This is a fascinating and bizarre blog post, seeing as how WorldCon was EIGHT MONTHS AGO. He tells a story about how a woman was rude to him when he said he self published. And I’ll agree, if the events happened the way he said, she was really rude. But his blog post is written so offensively that he ends up looking like the bad guy by the end. He uses misogynistic charged words like “bitch” and dreams of his Hugo speech where he tells the story of her rudeness, grabs his crotch, and ends the post with “suck it, bitch.”
Then he complains about the “PC Police” in the comments and claims he isn’t a sexist.
If you use these words to describe women, you are doing it to put yourself above them, imply their opinions and/or anger are irrelevant and to put them back in their place (which his blog post was dedicated to, essentially saying how awesome and successful he was and how stupid she was for a) thinking self-pub was pointless, and b) not knowing who he was).
The amazing thing was, he started out as the sympathetic person here! He did encounter a rude person at WorldCon! He did get dismissed by her when she found out he self-published! And yet, by bringing in her looks, calling her a bitch, and the obviously sexually degrading crotch grab fantasy and “suck it, bitch” comments at the end, he has presented himself as so much worse than she was.
The blog post went out on the 3rd, but today is when it exploded.
UPDATE: So, in the middle of me writing this, apparently he has apologized. Some think it’s good. Some think it’s bad. Me, I can’t read it because his site has crashed.
All of this shows how deeply sexism is ingrained. No man stood up and said, “Seanan McGuire is too uppity, she needs to be taken down a peg like a proper woman,” or “I’m going to call that woman who bothered me eight months ago a bitch just so I can make myself feel good” – well, I am betting the second thing happened. But the language here, the commentary, the fury in how dare she get five nominations/speak rudely to me? It needs to stop.
Women are here and we’re writing and we’re getting nominated for awards and we’re going to keep doing outrageous things like building fan bases and having opinions and perhaps even being rude at conventions or even WINNING awards. The thing to do when you’re angry? Call someone out on their rudeness, right there. Don’t nominate or vote for the works you don’t think are worthy. It’s that fucking simple.
And if that’s not really the problem, if the problem is that you truly think that women should know their place in SF, then, well, fuck it. I don’t have time for you.
Courtesy of The Oatmeal. It just makes me so happy. And I need a happy.