girlie jones (girliejones) wrote,
girlie jones

Gender and Cultural Appropriation

mondyboy has an interesting thread going on over at his blog demanding more Jews in SF/F.

I popped over to discuss how, whilst there are almost no Jewish characters in Australian SF/F short fiction, I don't recall any in last year's batch at least, I have noticed a lot more Jewish characters in American SF/F short stories. Weird Tales featured one last year - although that could be since Ann Vandermeer took over as editor. Mike Resnick writes a lot of Jewish characters and there are some female American short story writers who also often include Jewish characters in their stories. I think for me, in what mostly feels like a very white landscape, the Jewish characters in SF/F shorts leap out at me, and to me feel more represented than any other racial or cultural minority group.

I'm looking forward to the Vandermeers' book The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals. It sounds like it will be so much fun. But having said that, I should say that, as a Jew, it's a very different experience to feel somewhat represented in American culture. There are often Jews in American movies and TV shows and novels. And I know that Jewish people are a small minority globally, so the amount that we are represented even, at times, feels like an overrepresentation compared to other groups. Having the Vandermeers as editors out there *makes a difference* to me as a Jewish reader. Having the odd mention or nod in my direction as existing *makes a difference* to me. And that's why, for me, the total underrepresentation of women in SF/F - who are not in fact a minority globally - really riles me.

And in the thread mentioned above, Mondy and I talk a bit about whether a non-Jewish person can really and believably write a Jewish character that is anything other than token. And I might link it back to the gender debate. I'm like that, you know.

Tags: cultural appropriation, gender
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