I don’t buy Tor books unless they were published before 2005 and at a used book store, just to make sure I don’t give the raging SJWs working and writing there any money. Why you ask?
Let’s get real, people. We constantly face the need to push back against the perpetual rewriting of literary history. (And indeed of history in general.) People are forever “forgetting” the achievements and even the existence of black women and queer women, people of colour and trans people, disabled people and nonbinary people and people who are all these things at once. (The author of that ridiculous National Review article ignored the existence of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, both written by white women who present as cis and straight.) It is really difficult to do your job while also all the time having to resist being rendered invisible, being written out.
I don’t follow best-of lists the way I used to, but Twitter user Sandstone has a thread on her worries for the future of discoverability for writers who aren’t men. Spoiler: without constant pushback, there’s probably going to continue to be a problem. It’s a self-reinforcing issue, a feedback cycle. It takes work to break.
My entire critical career, it feels, has been pushing back against the erasure of women’s voices and women’s work. And while I’m really glad to be writing Sleeps With Monsters for Tor.com, keeping on top of all the new books published by people who aren’t men—while also trying to keep the history of women in SFF in mind—is more than any single human can manage.
This erasure shit is old, guys, and I’m thirty-one years old and already tired of it.
What can we do about this? (Assuming you care, and you’ve read this far, so I hope you do.) Look, you know, I don’t actually know how to make change happen on a larger, cultural scale. All I’ve got are the things I’ve been doing all along: reading women, pushing back against erasure as much as possible, valuing women’s voices and the voices of nonbinary people too.
It’s a long slow slog, full of people who keep trying to tell you that this doesn’t matter—that women’s voices of all sorts are valued equally with men’s, that it’s about talent when they don’t make best-of lists rather than a dozen and a half social and cultural reasons to do with bias—and it hurts. It hurts to always worry that you’re not doing enough, that you can’t keep up. It hurts to know that this shit keeps happening.
The only re-writing of history or literature that I ever see is women replacing men with themselves. Then surprise, they discover a female Thor isn’t that appealing to a majority young white male comic book audience, then they claim that audience is sexist. Not a winning formula. But rather than acknowledge that the deck isn’t stacked against them, they inevitably play the victim and double down.
Pointing out achievements of PoC and non-binary gender fluid disabled whatever will always be meaningless when it comes to SJWs demanding those voices be heard. Why? Because it will always be a case of give a mouse a cookie, he’ll ask for a glass of milk. Sure, Doctor Who chose a woman to carry on the franchise, but it was a WHITE woman. It’s only a matter of time before the complaints of “why not a Latina lesbian gender fluid disabled person”? Don’t they need representation too? *gag*
Ever notice how women are dying to take over male roles in books and movies, but men never feel the need to fight over the female roles? That’s because they don’t need the validation. Women’s vanity is in constant need of validation, as proven above. And I say that as a woman. Women are vain. Women are prideful. Women need to feel as though they’re being seen and appreciated. So when they waste their best breeding years, have a bunch of meaningless hookups, then wake up at 35 to an empty bed, an empty bottle of wine and a headache, they inevitably end up blaming men and oppression for their lack of self worth. It’s simply inevitable.
It’s not that women or PoC are being ignored or that they’re actively erased. Quite the opposite. No one gives a shit anymore. Women, (particularly PoC) have screamed so much about horrible white men who oppress them when they weren’t oppressing them, that when they raise their voices now, men (and women such as myself) take great joy in telling them to shut up.
I stand by my words nearly 10 months ago. No one deserves representation. Nor is anyone is entitled to representation. Unless of course, the author wills it. The reason why the publishing, movie, etc industries were dominated by whites and predominantly white males was because they were a majority of the country. That is until the 1965 immigration act opened the flood gates to the most ungrateful of human beings of the third world who come to these white built countries then have the nerve to whine about “equal representation” and “oppressive white males” on their iPhone and PC that was built by the very people they’ve come to despise.
So go ahead and double down Tor. I love watching the Publishing Index on the stock market continue to plunge.