Now that I'm off deadline, and have the mental RAM for this conversation? I've been hoping to get a bead on where other people are on this topic.

What is your feeling about people who have been banned from a convention for harassment still attending other area conventions?

Discuss?
I don't often get the treatment other colleagues describe at SFF conventions.  It's been a good while since I was harassed.

I don't really know why.

I have theories.  I came into prodom somewhat protected -- always around a peer group that was very connected and very assertive.  I am, in public, quite reserved; to the point where I'm probably not that Friendly Nice Author being nice in public.  I'm six feet tall.  My face has never learned to hide the things it's thinking.  I have had long-standing troubles with people trying to violate my boundaries in the past, and now when someone does so, the thing my face thinks is murder.

Honestly, I have no fucking clue why I'm so rarely a target.  And why I've been able to deal with what comes my way, so far, quite handily the second the dial hits murder.  It gives me, I'm sure, a skewed perspective on the problem.

Because I know who many of the people who do this shit are.  Rene Walling took me flat by surprise, but Jim Frenkel was someone I've known not to be around for years.  I have a whole list in the back of my head, passed ear to ear and woman writer to woman writer.  Just in case.

#

Okay, no: wait.  There's one guy.

A local conrunner sort, who seemed to get a little mad at me back in 2004, when I was a baby writer and made politely clear I didn't need his creepy grandfatherly guidance to find my way around my own profession.  Every few years or so he makes public comments about my tits in professional spaces.  Or tries to kiss my hand, and when I take it away, calls me bitch. Or grabs my friend's ass in a convention hallway.  Or throws a full-on tantrum because he would like a book signed, and I am daring to spend a few minutes mid-conversation with another (woman) colleague.

And then I remind him with my face and my voice and my height: murder. And he kind of skitters behind a rock for the next few years, "punishing" me with his shunning, being gloriously not my problem again.  I've been telling myself for a while, since the last time, that the next time he makes a false move I am going to finally bring the hammer down on that asshole.

This is, I realize, a missing stair situation.  I know how to deal with this guy.  He's not, to me, a major problem.

He's not a major problem to me.

Mary Robinette Kowal posted today about not posting Jim Frenkel's name in connection to his sexual harassment of Elise Matthesen at Wiscon, and all the reasons she hesitated -- all the reasons people hesitate.  They hold true.  I have not made noise about this guy because I work at the bookstore, and the bookstore maintains itself as neutral space within the community, high above everyone's slapfights, for good or ill -- and I'm starting to think it ill.  I have not made noise because he's involved with an award, and I'm pretty sure that if/when I do say something, I shut myself off from that award forever, because petty people do petty, petty things.

I have not made noise because it has, to date, just not been enough of a problem for me.

(When he grabbed my friend's ass I came very, very close.  But it was her call.)

No; that's not the whole thing.

Really, I have not made noise because I am afraid that if I do, everyone knew and no one will care.

#

I am thinking about the things I knew about Jim Frenkel.  I'm thinking about Elise, who I admire and respect and call friend, and how maybe if we all had a little more in the guts department when it came to the things we all know, she wouldn't have had to deal with this.

I'm thinking about benign cowardice, the not my problem sort of too busy and but I need that professional opportunity cowardice, and how it is probably the worst kind going.

I'm thinking about noise.

I know why we handle this the way we traditionally have: By warning other women in the industry who not to be near when they're drunk; who not to get stuck in the elevator next to.  But I am getting to think that we're doing ourselves a disservice, here.  Because there's a dual message that comes in, when you say Just between you and me.

It's that if you stick my head up and lay down the truth about what this guy does, everyone in the local prodom and fandom will mutter and shuffle their feet and look away and oh, look at what time it is.

I tire of our collective cowardice.  A community that does not have your back is no damn community at all.

#

A parting thought.  The thought I'm turning over tonight, privately:

Y'know what?  If I injure my career over reporting a harasser?  So fucking what.

I did not get into this profession to make it on the backs of my colleagues.  And I did not get into this profession to sell my morals alongside my books.
leahbobet: (gardening)
June 6, 2013 Progress Notes:

On Roadstead Farm

Words today: 3000.
Words total: 87,000
Reason for stopping: Sunrise.  Oopsie.

Darling du Jour: She appraised all of us like a general storekeeper: hard-faced with hard living, weights and measures in her eyes.

Mean Things: Only one other person gets your life-changing experience, and you're mad at him right now.  War!

Research Roundup: Whether a scare affects goats in the milking way.
Books in progress: [livejournal.com profile] matociquala, Range of Ghosts.


Okay, so we had our pho and watched the end of the He-Man/She-Ra movie.  Newsflash: Skeletor is an MRA.


P. spent the rest of the evening walking around the apartment, declaiming in a Skeletor voice about how all the nice girls leave him for that He-Man.  And then he went to bed, and I have been up all night on the couch under the big fleece blanket, filling out the back end of this book and hopping scene to scene, mostly at the very end.  It...seems to have been very, very worthwhile.

It is now morning.  I can hear birds.  o.O

I should probably get a few hours, here.
Okay. I'm ambivalent about speaking on this topic for a variety of reasons: I have for years had a personal policy that I don't touch most contentious SFFdom issues in an online format, for a variety of reasons that also don't need going into right now. That's been the right decision, personally, for me. It still is.

But I'm going to give this one a go because there's something, complex and convoluted, that's worth saying here. Please lend me some forbearance for how I get that convolution and complexity on paper. I'm tired, and a little upset, and I'm at work besides.

In brief: novelist and SFF critic [livejournal.com profile] glvalentine was followed and sexually harassed at this year's Readercon, and posted about this series of incidents, and reported them to Readercon's convention committee under their zero-tolerance policy. The convention issued a two-year ban instead of the policy-mandated lifetime ban, which is upsetting a large portion of the SFF fan and pro community.

They also identified Rene Walling as the harasser. He's a Quebec-based conrunner, micropress publisher, and bookseller. He's very supportive of Canadian authors, and has been supportive of me and my work in a genuine and enthusiastic way. He's someone I quite like.

This is...well. It doesn't need saying that this is a problem.

We have, I think, largely two modes for people in our heads a lot of the time: People we like are good people who do good things -- important to our own sense of identity, because if we like bad people, well, it says something about us. People who do bad things are bad people, and we do not like them. And I think a lot of the community conflict around cases of boundary violation, whether they be sexual harassment, or to do with sexism, racism, ableism, homophobia, and so forth, stems from the idea that the violation of those kinds of personal boundaries is classed as one of the worst Bad Things, and so we get emotionally a little stuck. It's either consign (and yes, the word I want is consign) someone we like to Bad Personhood, or find some way to lessen the act: minimize, deny, excuse. Say that no, they're remorseful; or it wasn't so bad as all that. Prevent the alternative.

To the recipient of the harassment (and no, I do not want to say victim), that reaction is a lack of support. It's I don't believe you. It's the violation of your boundaries doesn't matter.

Either way, something rips in the community. Either we're turning on someone previously liked and respected, or we're perpetuating a truly awful victim-blaming culture that rots the community on the inside.

I am not excusing this dynamic. I am not saying those choices and consequences are weighted equally, by any means. But I'm saying I understand how it is that people get stuck.

#

Last night I had a long discussion with Dr. My Roommate about this article on how we socially categorize rape and react to rape victims; or, more to the point, on how other people in the conversation where it was linked found it a hard and unnerving read.

I didn't find it unnerving in the slightest; I couldn't understand why other people did. Being an awesome Dr. My Roommate devoted to the pursuit of science, she read it to see, and did find it disturbing, and tried to describe that reaction for me. Her best guess: it unnerved not just because it talked about terrible things happening to people who weren't, in the end, able to effectively prevent them, but because of the last few paragraphs, describing a sexual assault on the author:

Nothing about the act was violent. I wasn’t afraid of him. I wasn’t in pain. It was terrible nonetheless.

I fled into the bathroom and locked the door. He knocked and told me to come out. He asked what was wrong. There was a large, long mirror above the sink, and I had to see myself in it, crying and pacing, until I finally sat down to escape it. I tried to hide the tremors in my voice. I said I was fine but could he please leave? No, he would not. No matter how many times I asked or told him to leave, he would not. I had to come out of the bathroom and I had to be with him, let him hug me and hold my hand. I had to play the part of the consensual lover, the girl who had some type of flighty breakdown but allowed herself to be comforted by the older man.


"It really throws me," she said, "that people who might rape you or hurt you are not necessarily people you can see coming. They might be really pleasant and charming and blend into the social group. They can play by the rules to everyone else's eyes. You can get blindsided."

This didn't bother me. It didn't unnerve or upset me. Because, well, of course people can be perfectly charming and wonderful and valuable in one element of their lives and inflict horrific damage on others in another part. I grew up around someone who was exceedingly affable professionally and the worst kind of horrible to their family. It's not good or okay; to me it's just not news.

"People are complicated," I said, trying to get this out. "And bad things happen. That's part of the world."

#

So, this morning I'm in a position to eat those words, or stand behind them, although standing behind a statement like people are infinitely complicated is not really a thing that comes with instructions and an allen key for easy assembly.

I'm not going to take the position that I will stop attending Readercon if this decision isn't reversed. Realistically, that would be an ultimatum for me, and not a statement of boundary. Readercon is still my favourite con, with my favourite conversations, full of many of my favourite people. I'm going to keep attending. That's a given.

I am not going to take the position, even inside my own head, that I hate Rene. I don't. Maybe that reflects poorly, or weirdly, on my moral structure. I have not for a second disbelieved that the actions happened as reported; people don't make this shit up. I am disappointed and thrown and chagrined and hurt by his actions, but there's a lot of mileage between like and hate. People are capable of being simultaneously a positive force in certain people's lives and an exceedingly negative force in others', because people are complicated. Our reactions to them should maybe not be expected to be binary either. This is not about teams.

I find that like [livejournal.com profile] vschanoes said about her own experience with convention sexual harassment, what I ultimately want is for this not to have happened. I want the orderly emotional house of two weeks ago.

And I'm not going to get that, because Rene harassed Genevieve, and that's just kind of how it is. While I sympathize with the desire to make decisions on the basis of what was, and how much we liked it, and how maybe that world could exist again, I don't feel like I can. We live in this world, not the what-if one. We have to set our personal boundaries, and our community standards, based on here.

#

So all that being said? The position I'm taking is this:

Rene is someone who has done good things in my corner of the world and been good to me. In this case, he has done a very bad thing -- an emerging string of them. The fact that I am not willing to label him A Bad Person at this time does not negate the fact that the things he did are not acceptable in our community, by convention policy and social agreement, or negate the fact that other members of the community deserve to have the violation of their boundaries taken seriously.

So as much as it upsets me to lose the conversation of someone I have in the past enjoyed, and as much as I wish this wasn't so?

I think Readercon needs to extend that lifetime ban. And I hope sincerely that they do.

Thanks.
leahbobet: (flathead screwdriver of the patriarchy)
This is a thought only partially brought on by this video, which is beautiful and strange and still sitting on the edge of a really toxic meme that has been bugging and bugging me more lately. I don't say this to slam said video. I say this because it made me think of the rest and I'm going to lift its symbolic architecture in a flagrant and shocking way to get my point across without a big, ranty, oversharing kind of explanation that you don't actually care about.



I wish there wasn't still this...expected dichotomy between dresses and horses.

I want both the dress and the horse.

I like them both. Simultaneously, even! And more seriously? One of those things alone won't be enough to close the little cartoon hole in me. It isn't enough. It's a choice between kinds of incompleteness, and that's a stupid kind of choice to give someone, and I don't personally want to make it because there's no reason to accept half-rations just because that's what's on offer.


So. There a theoretical home for that line of thought?
--things have silted up into my inbox and accumulated.

One of them is my draft Ad Astra panel schedule, which is as follows:

Fri 8:00PM, Salon 241
Fairytale Inspiration: Leah Bobet (m), Ken Lillie-Paetz, Miriam Harrison, Marie Bilodeau
Why retell stories that many people already know, and likely grew up with? How do you use elements of fairytales effectively? What can they bring to your story?

Fri 10:00PM, Salon 241
Diversity Balance in SF/Fantasy Anthologies: Leah Bobet (m), Marc Mackay, Derwin Mak, Ryan McFadden, Gavin Stephens
Are women and racial minorities being given fair representation in anthologies? Is this an issue? What are the best ways for a publication to broaden its range of authors and to reach out beyond its "comfort zone"?

Sat 6:00PM, Salon 443
Reading: Leah Bobet, Sarah Jane Elliott

Sun 12:00PM, Salon 243
Not Your Bitch! - Entitlement: Leah Bobet, Gemma Files, Violette Malan (m), Marcy Italiano, J.M. Frey
What responsibilities, if any, do creators have to their fans? Are fans entitled to anything?

Sun 2:00PM, Salon 243
Business Basics of Writing: Leah Bobet (m), Karina Sumner-Smith, James Allan Gardner, Jana Paniccia


I am super excited about that last one, since it's my hobbyhorse suggestion, and I am super excited to be reading with Sarah. I'm also amused that this is the second year in a row where my panel schedule will reflect that I read the internet, but yanno. Someone's got to.


Some of the other things that washed up in the ol' inbox were the usual run of reviews and reviewlike objects:

Joe Sherry at Adventures in Reading has "Sugar" on his Hugo nomination ballot, as well as a bunch of stuff from Shadow Unit and assorted friends of.

(Incidentally, I did my own Hugo nominations while away, and nominated four writers for the Campbell, all of whom I think do good work and/or have the potential to do even better work. All of them happened to be writers of colour, three of whom are women, two of whom aren't US-based and one more of whom isn't US-raised. This was not consciously planned; it kinda just happened that way. So as an aside to the people for whom SFF is a really white, male, US-centric place? The new face of science fiction is up here. Srsly.)

Also, there's a double-barrelled review of the February 2010 Realms of Fantasy at Tangent Online, and both reviewers appear to have liked "Mister Oak".


Okay, that covers stuff I need to slap up on the blog for this working day. And it is nice and sunny out, if not as sunny as it was in Arizona, and I would like to make myself something vegetably for dinner while I still have the daylight. 'Scuse me.
leahbobet: (flathead screwdriver of the patriarchy)
The people, they are talkin' about masculinity, and the notion of the Real Man, and domesticity as it relates to that. Mostly because of the Superbowl ads this year, which I didn't see.

[livejournal.com profile] tithenai takes a different tack on it, and is smart about why men she finds attractive do the dishes.

She said the following, which made something go off in my head:

"Men I find attractive do the dishes because dishes need to be done. These men cook. They eat fruit. They make bread. They clean up after themselves, not to impress me, but because they are responsible, autonomous adults. Self-sufficiency, you see, is sexy. Not because it means they'll look after me -- an idea which frankly makes my skin crawl -- but because it means that they don't need me to look after them."

And WHAM. I have realized the disconnect between how Superbowl commercials, pop culture, the world views housework and how I view it with regards to who's doing what when to who.

People who leave dishes piled up in the sink, not seeing it as their problem, aren't, in my world, full adults. If they look at something that to any grownup is obviously a task needing to be done and don't see a task needing to be done, that...er, means they're kind of an idiot. Something is clearly wrong with their perception of the objective world if they can't put together dirty sock on the floor = unsightly and dirty sock on the floor = mine and come up with well, let's stick that in the laundry bag. Either that or they're not capable of sticking it in the laundry bag.

I'm a Batman girl. I like competence.* I find competence exceedingly attractive.***

So any guy who is trying to make me do the dishes all the time or can't handle his half of a household's work is making the argument to me that he is incompetent in some fashion, even if that fashion is just logic or consideration. If he can't handle a dish or a sock, well, sheesh, I can handle that even when I have the flu. It's not even a question of me having to take care of someone, like [livejournal.com profile] tithenai mentioned; it's just...really? I can do something without thinking about it and you can't do it at all?

It gets very hard to respect such a person after a very short while.


*Dudes who are applying to this office to date me, take note!**
**No, I joke. I am aware that nobody who reads this LJ is actually applying to this office to date me.
***Okay, it doesn't hurt if you're voiced by Kevin Conroy too.
leahbobet: (we do not brake for assholes)
There is something about guys who engage in that pickup thing where they insult you and look dismissive to get you to chase them and, ultimately, to get into your pants. The one that got parodied rather scathingly in "52 Pickup".

It makes me want to toy with them like little mice until they are dead.

I suspect this isn't their desired reaction.
I haven't really said anything about the most recent iteration of the Racism/Sexism/Stuff in SF Argument. This is for two reasons: the first is that some of the people centrally involved are very close friends of mine, and that means that I really have no ground to stand on where I can be sure I am not engaging debate from that standpoint or will not be perceived to be engaging debate from that standpoint. Meaning...sorry, but people piling onto my friends, and it doesn't matter for what reason or under what justification, does make me want to take some kneecaps out. That's the human tribal instinct for you, and I'm a little Mama Bear that way. I write the songs that make the whole world sing kneecap the people who make my best friends hurt. And even if I wasn't stating a position from a red-eyed lust for kneecaps (which is pretty much over now; my capacity for outrage isn't really that long-lasting), it's about 95% likely I would be assumed to be since I'm not exactly keen on sockpuppeting either, so we're just not gonna do that. It does not gain anybody anything.

The second reason, though? Is because looking back over the last few iterations of this argument? I find my position hasn't changed. We have a clearly identified problem, and I would like to get on with fixing it. And, well, I already said that stuff, and either that resonated with individuals or it didn't, and that's life in the big city.

So, Leah, why a post just to say why you didn't say anything?

Basically, this is an FYI: if anyone's feeling the desire to build some shit and fix some shit, however small and non-lifechanging a part of the problem we might be able to tackle, and however much what we tackle will undoubtedly not save the whole ranch? I'm still here with my hammer.

That's all.
(I promise I will be better about book reportage this year.)

#1 -- Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince and Other Stories

Reread, but I haven't read it since I was about thirteen, so I guess it counts again. When I pulled this out of the bookshelf at my parents' house over the holidays my mother expressed surprise that she let a teenager read Oscar Wilde. In fact, I think I was seven. *cough*

These are interesting; they're, in their way, extremely moral and somewhat didactic, but not in a way that offends me. And I think that's because all through, he's sneaking in little bits of commentary on class, on social justice, on the natures of people. Authority is not necessarily good in these stories, and while they're also explicitly Christian, they aren't so in a way that toes the party line. The bottom line seems to be: I'm not going to lie to you. If you do good things, really good things, you will probably get pissed on for it. And that's not an excuse to duck the human obligation of doing good things.

I like Oscar Wilde. He didn't lie to me.


#2 -- Ekaterina Sedia ([livejournal.com profile] squirrel_monkey), Locomotive to Crimea (in draft)

No talky about crit books!


#3 -- Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories

Rudyard Kipling, on the other hand, is didactic and moral and smarmy. And racist. And considering he was completely contemporaneous with Oscar there, who didn't do those things, he has no excuses.


#4 -- Chris Coen ([livejournal.com profile] clarentine), Kith and Kin (in draft)

Crit book!


#5 -- Nicholas Christopher, The Bestiary

I suspect this was pitched along the lines of The Da Vinci Code. That is not apparent when you look at its cover flaps, which made me a bit sad.

Two things I don't feel I ever need to read about again: the Accepted Text Version of the whole seventies drugs/Vietnam/Orientalism experience and the Frictionless American White Male.

The Vietnam thing is...okay. I understand Vietnam was a very sucky place to be forced to go at that point in time. However, there seems to be an accepted rote narrative of how one either was forced to go to Vietnam and fight the terrible war for The Man (or avoided it), and how everyone who wasn't off doing that divided their time between virtuous protest marches, ingesting every kind of drug they could lay hands on, screwing all the time, and realizing that yes, Asia and India existed. Perhaps even had religious traditions one could sort of paddle about in, like a kiddy pool free after purchase of a Buddha statue or decorative wall hanging involving Sanskrit writing. It is not apparent how one financed this lifestyle. Perhaps one had a trust fund, I dunno.

This is a narrative that is just as hit-the-posts, fill-your-bingo-card, rote as the Going Down to Faerie book, as your Generic European Quest Fantasy. It blurs by in a muddle of non-detail and a certain kind of smugness: wow, we protested the war and spent our time getting high and having sex instead. Weren't we progressive and smart! It's the smugness that puts me over the edge: guys, no you weren't. I suppose every generation must find its own awesome, but what you were up to is pretty outdated and backward now, the march of time being what it is and the next generation always finding better ways to be more progressive and liberal than thou (and it will happen to me too, while I'm all like "we fought for anti-racism and gay rights!" and the kids going "that is so last Tuesday, loser"), and nostalgic self-congratulation about how awesome you were thirty years ago isn't really going to change that.

But we digress. The bulk of the thing behind this objection is that rote narratives -- The Standard Vietnam Seventies Experience, the Standard Faerieland Experience, the Standard Abused Child Experience -- are meaningless. Unless you can invest them with personal meaning and detail, unless you can make them apply to a referent that does mean something interesting and concrete, they're really just plug-in conflict sets. They mean nothing anymore. They've been worked smooth. And so you can't expect them to mean anything to the reader. It's got just about the amount of investment, conflict, emotional arc, and excitement as reading about someone renewing their driver's license.

The second thing is a little quicker to explain: the Frictionless American White Male. You have this archetype character who travels all over, falls in love with women and gets his heart broken, has fraught interactions with father figures, goes to war, comes home, etc. It's basically a modern edition of the picaresque character. The problem is...the picaresque character was never really meant to be a character. If you look at stuff like Candide, which is not the earliest by far but one of the classic examples of the genre, the character is a vehicle for the satire; they are thrust into these situations relatively unaffected by the last because they're a narrative device, not a person.

However, if you are writing about a person who we're supposed to see as a person? You may wish to reconsider not having all these experiences even put a dent in them. The next time they fall in love should have roots in the last time they fell in love; the going to war and having trauma nightmares should last past the end of that particular chapter-episode, because really, trauma isn't a hobby you pick up and put down. Basically, the experiences need to motivate the character, and if he doesn't change, period, despite going through all these things? If he's the same person he was at the beginning? He is then Frictionless, and you have failed to make me give a variety of turds about him or feel he is in any way real.

So yeah. Those. I don't want to read those anymore.

*cough*

That got long.

Think I'll make some lunch now.
...both spawned by the never-ending parade of posts about how terrible Twilight is.*

1) So two major YA series hit big in the last ten years: Twilight and Harry Potter. In the early part of each series, you saw what can be charitably called low production values in terms of craft, plots that revolved around blatant wish-fulfillment, and wholesale rips of the tropes of already established subgenres. Potter is the poster child for mainstream acceptance. Twilight is excoriated regularly in newspapers, the internets, and local bookstores in reenactments of the Five Minutes' Hate.

What's the difference? What causes that?

I have my own theory, but I want to hear yours.


2) Where do people get the idea that exposing a child to a worldview or idea at all means the child will automatically agree with, adopt, and adhere to that worldview or idea?

Really, peoples. You met kids?


*Haven't read it, not gonna, no opinion on the matter.
Not only are there girl gamers out there, but like their male counterparts, there are girl gamers with an emotional age of thirteen:

([Redacted] sends [livejournal.com profile] cristalia a team invite, which is declined.)
[Redacted]: want to join my team?
[livejournal.com profile] cristalia: No, thanks.
[Redacted]: oooh please, we are having great fun
[livejournal.com profile] cristalia: Dude, I said no like twice now.
[Redacted]: a girl can't take no for an answer
[livejournal.com profile] cristalia: A girl's gonna have to.
[livejournal.com profile] cristalia: Or a girl's going on my ignore list.
[Redacted]: oh no, not your ignore list.....whatever will I do without a d-bag like you in my life??
([livejournal.com profile] cristalia dies with laughter, while blocking other player's tells.)

Morals!

1) Never make binary gender assumptions while gaming! Do not calibrate your social tactics in-game to a normative standard of Stereotypical Gamer Boy! Or one day, you will find yourself trying to ineffectually cocktease a straight woman into teaming with you, then trying to wound her with feminine scorn despite her total immunity. And she will put it on her LJ and laugh at you.
2) If this chick's typical, I understand why I catch so much static as a girl gamer.
3) If you're trying to dis me, actually type "douchebag". Your debate position is weakened otherwise.
4) I don't want to team with you.

(fin)
Can someone make me a radio morning show that isn't marketed towards racist, sexist, emotionally-stunted jock-stereotype teenaged white boys?

I appreciate a good fart joke as much as the next girl, but what's stupid and annoying in regular hours is even more stupid and annoying when it's seven in the morning and I'm shambling like a damn zombie.

(And can it be not 90% commercials too? While we're at it?)
StatsCan has released some census data today: notably, that 1 in 6 Canadians is a visible minority and in Toronto, that's actually half of everybody. To which I said, well, cool, because I started attending school in the mid-late eighties and am thus a member of the generation raised by hippies.

(No, seriously. All the people who honestly believed in peace, love, and understanding, not to mention Pierre Elliott Trudeau's Just Society, multiculturalism, and all the things we trumpet as quintessentially Canadian? They went into teaching.)

If you read the comments on that first news story though, you'll see pretty quickly that my reaction isn't really the standard one there:

You answered a lot of questions my friend, what would 5 MILLION immigrants do if all hell broke out and a war started on CANADIAN SOIL

I guess the first weapon I would grab would be a "phone book'

My second weapon I would grab?. the " Koran" and a bottle of shoe polish !

Or we have:
I've actively sought to upgrade my skills through education. I contribute to the community. However, I am a straight white male. That puts me at a disadvantage in this nation.

There is no chance I will be considered for any job of merit that contains a diversity or equity notice.

How is that fair?

We are indoctrinated with diversity politics from birth - and although I do honestly believe all are created equal - discrimination exists in Canadian urban centres - if you are a white man you are going to be passed over for a job.


Y'know, I do realize that I live in a bubble and it's partially self-constructed. My world is that of an urban centre where 50% of the people in town aren't white -- or hell, more. They were only counting visible minorities. I'm an invisible minority myself and have learned to play that to my advantage. I've chosen my friends and acquaintances partially based on agreements of politics. I live in the (very nice) gaybourhood. This is like a nesting-doll set of insulation from what might be going on in other parts of the country and the world. It's a very safe place to be.

But.

What the fuck are these people doing in my country?


And really, that's the root of the problem. They have the right to their opinion same as me, but only one side of the equation seems to be getting that this road goes both ways. It's my country too, guys. And my Chinese downstairs neighbours' country. And the girls in headscarves at school, it's theirs too. Those people who don't look like you in the apartment three doors down? They're not strange animals or personal threats. They're your neighbours. They're Canadians.

Some of us recognize that, and some of us apparently don't.

Day 0257203957230535. Still no Just Society.
Dear Professor of Classical Modes of Literature:

I would humbly appreciate it if you would refrain from making rape jokes in our 10am class. As you well know, that is quite early in the morning for a lecture, and I am not at my best; it is inconsiderate to be The Patriarchy at such an early hour in a university setting. It is also against university policy. Further, I have two more classes this afternoon, and need to give them my full attention as a student rather than stewing about how uncomfortable this has made my learning environment and whether I want to bring it up now with you, or with the ombudsman, and how I might bring it up, and how that might impact my grading, and whether I'll be angry at myself if I let it lie even though god, I do not want to have this fight.

Thanks so very much for the position I am now in.

Leah,
Who is not going to drop your class on this, her lunch hour, because that would definitely be letting the bad guys win. And who is going to make her salad now.
Okay. For a variety of reasons, mostly involving long-term relationships, I've not dated very much in the past seven years. It occurs to me I have no idea what's standard.

Of course, I am solving this via silly internet polling. :p

Life's more fun that way.

(Sorry, I know this poll is kinda heteronormative. If I could cash in for the shot that makes me like girls more, I would probably do so at this point out of sheer frustration, but it's not the dynamic I'm trying to figure out at present.)

[Poll #1101787]

Science thanks you.
--because you get to say this kind of stuff in all seriousness:
Gender in Aristotle is also tied to biological sex: a man may not behave in a masculine manner, but he is still a man. Pound, however, refers to his feminine categorization of poetry as "flaccid varieties". Despite the fact that men spend large portions of their life flaccid without harm to their sense of masculinity, Pound's use of this term implies that men not engaged in a direct and active act of asserting their masculinity belong to the female category.

Tee hee.

Back to essay-writing!

Gendering

Oct. 29th, 2007 09:49 pm
Actual conversation had at the break in my class tonight:

Me: *takes the knitting out of the schoolbag and proceeds to work on it*
Older guy next to me who has never talked to me before: I'm 1532.
Me: Sorry?
Older guy: 1532.
Me: *looks extremely blank*
Older guy: 15 neck and 32 sleeve.
Me: Mm. *death look of death*
Older guy: I also like cashmere blah blah oh aren't I so funny?
Me: *pointed death ignoring*
Older guy: Um...what're you making?
Me: *THE IGNORING OF DEATH*

...interestingly, I never get smarmy bullshit like this when I do things in the class break that weren't traditionally gendered woman's work activities.
Okay, maybe due to this article [livejournal.com profile] cmpriest linked a few days back and society's stubborn determination to eradicate the threat of female body hair, I have got to thinking about...the Belgariad.

Queen of Sorcery, pg.293:

Salmissra reached out with a lingeringly slow hand and brushed her cold fingertips across his face and chest. Her pale eyes seemed to burn, and her lips parted slightly. Garion's eyes fixed themselves on her pale arm. There was no trace of hair on that white skin.
"Smooth," he said vaguely, struggling to focus on that peculiarity.
"Of course, my Belgarion," she murmured. "Serpents are hairless, and I am the queen of the serpents."
Slowly, puzzled, he raised his eyes to the lustrous black tresses tumbling down across one of her white shoulders.
"Only this," she said, touching the curls with a sensuous kind of vanity.
"How?" he asked.
"It's a secret." She laughed. "Someday perhaps I'll show you. Would you like that?"
"I suppose so."
"Tell me, Belgarion," she said, "do you think I'm beautiful?"


Okay, obviously we have a few things going on here. There's the Evil Sexual Woman Temptress deal, the Evil Woman Who Disguises Her Actual Age (sixty) To Cheat Young Virile Men of Their Sperm deal, some Eastern Orientalist exoticization with all the eunuchs, some dangers of the demasculinizing properties of Evil Wimmins.

But...why the emphasis on the hair?

None of the other women in the series, the virtuous ones, are commented on as having body hair.

I don't recall Ce'Nedra's satisfactory wax job (or lack thereof) being commented on as they frolicked in their forest pool or had another stamping screaming fight that's supposed to pass for courtship. I assume Polgara, being an immortal sorceress, can cast Electrolysis on herself whenever she feels like it and is exempt from the data pool. The Seeress of Kell is blind, and therefore a person with a disability, and therefore not a sexual being and also exempt from the pool.

There's commenting on the bad that waxing does, but no alternate comment on the good an' virtuous women having body hair. They're seemingly at this invisible default where it just doesn't exist, or goes away by magic.

Does anyone else find this emphasis creepy and fucked up?
(Okay, we're pulling out the Alan Moore icon again. Baby, why you make me do that?)

I have had an interesting shot of perspective this afternoon, brought on by [livejournal.com profile] coalescent's straw-poll/count of women's names on the front of the upcoming Night Shade Books anthology Eclipse and the response over at [livejournal.com profile] jlassen's. The chain of thought goes thusly:

1) "Huh, that is true, there are all boys on that cover."
2) "Oh, that is a Night Shade book, they are good guys and likely not participating in sexism."
3) "Okay, this is upsetting me because good people are being wailed on, and they are clearly becoming upset, and the methods of argument being used here are no-win ones."
4) GVG says "welcome to the club" and thus we get our perspective.

Now, this may just be a flaw in how I've been conducting things with regards to The Revolution. However, I'm putting it out here because I suspect it's a flaw in the discourse, or if not, it's turning into a flaw in the discourse.

I suspect that there is an element in the LJ feminist discourse where we sit around doing the Man Comes Around thing: we take names, decide who to free and who to blame, etc., and everybody won't be treated all the same. I think a chunk of the discussion around making SFF a more egalitarian place on grounds of gender has taken a turn into labelling people as sexist or not-sexist: on our team or the other team, and then it stops there.

Where do I derive this? My copious internal struggle in this case -- dealing with people I know -- versus my lack of said struggle in the case of the F&SF and sexism discussion -- dealing with people I know less well or don't know. I had people in the Good! box and am asked to move them to the Bad! box, which is harder than moving people from the Neutral! box into Good! or Bad! boxes. I think that's what we do. Move people into and out of boxes.

This is a bad thing. Here's why:

Because it trades on personality, and ultimately stunts any real change.

I'm back to the whole placebo activism idea again. I think yelling at people and then feeling better about yourself because you put them in the right box doesn't really accomplish much. Remember, sexism, racism, classism, etc. are systemic issues. If people keep saying it's the market, sure, that could be an excuse for their inaction. I suspect it's not an excuse because of that systematizing of prejudice that's reflected in other aspects of life (why's it one or two guys here if it's systemic elsewhere?) and the really fucked-up ideas we have in publishing of who has power over the whole apparatus.

We all work in the framework of the market. If the market is sexist, business decisions will carry that flavour, because otherwise those companies will go broke. Systemic prejudice doesn't just punish the people with boobs or that one drop of non-white blood. It punishes everyone who lives under it. Everyone has a role. Nobody gets to step out of line.


Here's my question then, because this shot of perspective and a small chain of logic have led me to what might be more effective to change the face of SFF. Yes, it's harder. I'm starting to think if it doesn't require some serious fucking thinking and a truckload of work, it might not actually be activism.

How do we change the market?

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