But just now, I had to bow out of a conversation with a friend about it because I was beginning to get quite internally upset about it. See, I can't watch and discuss this kind of stuff and be removed from it at the same time. I see males do it all the time, more often with respect to the sexist stuff in science fiction publishing, and I see them say things like, "isn't that interesting ..." and I want to yell on the top of voice - NO IT'S NOT FUCKING INTERESTING! IT BREAKS MY HEART!
But you know, yelling doesn't win arguments, especially on the internet.
See, it's like that guy I was with that time who enjoyed holocaust movies and didn't get how I can not watch anything remotely related to the subject in any removed fashion. And he was horrified when I politely agreed to sit through one that "wasn't that bad" according to him when really what the fuck would he know? and I had to leave and sit in a quiet corner for an hour and calm down. And had nightmares that night and the next. Because, like, when I said I cannot watch anything remotely related to the subject, I meant, you know ANYTHING remotely related to the subject. To him a black and white picture of a young boy is a picture of a young boy. To me, it could be my sister or me or a boy I went to school with, had we lived there and not here, and then and not now. What I'm saying is, it's *personal*. For me, there is no objectivity on the subject. There's no element of it that doesn't say: Alisa, this could have been you, it was in fact your great uncles and aunts and great grandparents. And so on.
And so too on the sexism issue. See, I am female. No getting around it. So everytime it comes up, *every time*, what I hear when people say, "well it was merit based", or "we chose what we thought was the best" or "men write better than women" or "men sing better more enduring rock songs than women" or "I don't like reading stories about/by women" or "isn't that interesting that that happened like that (again)"... what I hear is this: Alisa, you are not as smart, not as talented, not as good as a man. And never will be.
Because, you know, I am a woman.
And of course it makes me mad when someone clearly less smart or talented than me says it. But it also makes me sad. Because it means that I am being dismissed because of my reproductive organs. I am being dismissed as never being able to contribute as much/well as a male could and *simply* because I am female. Because if women far more talented than me can't write/perform a long standing song out of *100*, or a short story worthy of winning a big prize, then what about me? What can I ever hope to do or achieve?
Obviously, I don't think the above. And I don't get out of bed in the morning thinking the above. I didn't graduate last in engineering school. And I didn't graduate in an all female class. So ... I was better than some men in my class at maths and physics. (I was better than a lot of them, actually) And I don't think Twelfth Planet Press suffers at the hands of a female editorship or publisher.
So what I am saying is, when I hear other people talking about the sexism ... I *hear* them say that stuff. It's like when people meet me as the first Jewish person they have ever met in real life (happens a lot, I live in Australia). And they have all these preconceived ideas about Judaism and Jewish people and that's not based on their real life experiences. It's hurtful I guess, because you are judged not for who and what you are but for what others have said about people *like* me.
So I say this, when you think of the top artists of all time, do you really not include Madonna, Garbage, Sarah McLachlan, Miss Higgins, Portishead, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Regina Spektor, Blondie, Tori Amos, Annie Lennox, Carol King, Ani Difranco, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, Cyndi Lauper, Joni Mitchell, The Cranberries, Dusty Springfield, The Waifs?