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How many people does it take to say that the gender inbalance in SF outlets is a problem before it's seriously acknowledged, and accepted, as a problem?

Reasons, blame, motives, agenda, solutions and reason aside.

When is it allowed to be just ... an issue?

When will we be able to get past that discussion and start looking deeper at the more interesting aspects of it?


Jan. 12th, 2009 05:40 am (UTC)
See, that's perfectly valid. Everyone should be able to embrace their personal tastes, irrespective of how much they are and aren't coloured by gender, or traditional gender-isms.

The problem for me is that I like the exact opposite kind of story. I prefer character over plot (both is nice, but character is everything to me), and I find a great deal of "traditionally" masculine spec fic somewhat empty and irrelevant to me. But I love spec fic and so much of what it has to offer.

And at the short story level, there just aren't enough of the kind of stories I want to read. There aren't enough editors, and taste-deciders, who share my tastes. But I do know there are a LOT of readers who do. And I really don't think that all the readers who like the kinds of stories I do are female.

I don't necessarily subscribe to the idea that character-heavy stories are more feminine or plot-heavy stories more male, but I do know that statistically, I tend to like more female authored stories than male. And the scene would benefit greatly in all kinds of ways if there was more diversity in what is published. I don't care that somewhere like Analog, for instance, is a bastion of maleness. As long as there are some female-heavy publications to balance it out so the scene as a whole is representational of all its readers and potential readers. And sadly there just aren't as many female-oriented publications out there, certainly not at the pro or semi-pro level.
Jan. 12th, 2009 06:02 am (UTC)
sadly there just aren't as many female-oriented publications out there, certainly not at the pro or semi-pro level

If your experience related in para 3 is universal ("there are a LOT of readers who do"), then there is a goodly-sized niche that could be filled by a new player.

All current markets had to begin somewhere...
Jan. 12th, 2009 06:05 am (UTC)
It's true. Win the argument by ... well... winning.
Jan. 12th, 2009 06:07 am (UTC)
hahahhaa *looks at Girlie Jones*

So true.

I have to say there are some markets which do represent women well. Fantasy is one - and I've always respected the fact that they've gone out of their way to show in every way that counts that they respect the female reader.

But yes I find it interesting that say - Realms of Fantasy is generally thought of as a "girl's" magazine, and yet if you look at the contents, there's not a lot in it to appeal to the female reader. I actually think there's less than there used to be. Strange Horizons always had pretty good female representation.

Certainly room for more though!
Jan. 12th, 2009 06:09 am (UTC)
Hahah! I was looking at you! I do have an idea, actually.

What about Weird Tales - just raised to me that not necessarily parity of gender but not seen as a male mag.
Jan. 12th, 2009 06:20 am (UTC)
Nods, but is that just since the revamp and Ann Vandermeer took over? It's had male editors for almost all of its history but yes, I get the impression they're going for the young female demographic now. It's one of the reasons I'm so interested in it as a publication.
Jan. 12th, 2009 06:20 am (UTC)
Podcastle - a spoken-word fantasy short story podcast - did this to me. It just *felt* female-heavy, to the extent that I went and checked.

It wasn't. At the time I checked, there were still more male-written and male-narrated stories than female.

I thought about the perception, and I narrowed it down to a few things.

1) The editors are mostly female, which means that the intros and "outros" are largely spoken by women.
2) A couple of the early stories were the kind of female-targetted story that GJ talks about above, which I don't identify as the target audience for.
3) It has a noticeably higher female presence than Escape Pod, its parent podcast.

I think the third one had the most influence on my perception.

I still listen to PC; on balance, I still prefer EP, but I'm glad I took the time to check my perception, because it helped to normalise it to something closer to reality.
Jan. 12th, 2009 06:33 am (UTC)
This interests me, because it's quite a common effect, that men feel or perceive a female-heavy balance when in fact there isn't one.

Sometimes it only has to be a little above the norm (whether the norm is something low like 25% or whatever) for men to start feeling that the women are "taking over" and get all defensive about it.
Jan. 12th, 2009 06:41 am (UTC)
*mumbles*: 'mnotdefensive.
Jan. 12th, 2009 07:05 am (UTC)
*blows kisses*

Jan. 12th, 2009 08:14 am (UTC)
Quite so.

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