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The conversation again, again

Earlier this week cassiphone and I (and then some others via twitter) listened to a podcast that attempted to commentate on the Before They Were Giants Table of Contents discussion of the week before. In that podcast I was specifically singled out as being somehow responsible for what occurred and as such I sat through the discussion.

We debated dissecting their discussion on Galactic Suburbia because it was so fascinating to listen to two men utterly fail to grasp the issue. At all. But in the end, we have decided not to do so (nor to link to it) because really, that would involve a discussion on Feminism 101 which, as you know, we're not covering in this year's course options.

strangedave covers it in part here but I feel a need to sort of at least say, in public, that in going over the two places where I publicly discussed the issue - here on this blog and over at Michael Swanwick's blog, I never actually was anything other than calm and polite. I merely stated that for this science fiction fan, a book without all but one female author, did not appear to be a "must have" and that I would not be buying it. I also said that I wasn't really interested in following the work of the kind of editor for whom gender is not an issue. Which is true - cause it's of no interest to me. And thus I won't be spending money on things that I am not interested in. Sure I did use the word "shout" and also "loud" in my blog post but I was never angry, rude, unkind, or unfair.

And what therefore remains utterly fascinating to me is the repainting of what I said into "angry" and thus "angry feminist" and therefore should and can be ignored. Because that is a more palatable reading of the text for those two men on the podcast. I was not any of those things. And yet, I was still to get in trouble for voicing my own opinion. Which last time I checked, was a) the right of the individual in a free country and b) the role of a critic.

That, and the way some people really think that the only experience of life is theirs.

My summary of their podcast was this tweet:
So in summary we were right, the dude was wrong, he understands why we were angry but his problem is we shouldn't have VOICED it

And you know, that's why we still have to have the conversation, whether those two dudes are tired and over it or not. Because what they said was that *I* didn't have a right to speak out and say something.


( 44 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 2nd, 2010 10:00 am (UTC)
If they're tired and over it then they obviously have failed to understand your point and really do need to take Feminism 101.

Jun. 2nd, 2010 01:35 pm (UTC)
They do, it's true. And how nice for them that they get to be over the issue and not have to think about it if they don't want to.
(no subject) - transcendancing - Jun. 2nd, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 2nd, 2010 11:12 am (UTC)
"Angry Feminist". Hmmm. It's sad in itself that those two words (paired or not) when applied to women are automatically deemed to be an insult. Nothing wrong with being a feminist, and nothing wrong with being angry. Men are allowed to be angry and passionate and outraged and it's applauded (Harlan Ellison, anyone?). Angry women are simply seen as shrill and bitter and vindictive.

It's not fair. We should be allowed to be angry when it's warranted and not have to pretend to be patient and sweet and understanding all the damn time.

"Angry" is not the same as "rude" or "unkind", or at least it doesn't have to be. Maybe if we didn't actually get *angry* about stuff, it would be taken as meaning we didn't care all that much.

The fact that the phrase "angry feminist" can be used to dismiss someone and their opinions as being irrelevant makes me ... well, angry. Grrr.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
I know, it's a really horrible thing that basically the way you feel, which is that you get more and more frustrated over the lack of change or understanding or voice or equality, the less you are allowed to be angry about it, a natural reaction. Men are allowed to be angry all the time. It's even sometimes seen as powerful. Women, not so much. And since I was writing online, it's not even like they could say that I sounded shrill or whatever.

And yeah, it makes me angry that I have to feel bad or ashamed about or tame my anger. As though I am not entitled to it. And that by feeling and reacting, I should be dismissed rather than listened to.

On the other hand, if the message is always delivered as angry, that would be hard to hear and take on board - defenses come up, I guess.
(no subject) - ann_leckie - Jun. 2nd, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - girliejones - Jun. 3rd, 2010 12:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 2nd, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
I'll be honest here - four years ago and I wasn't aware of this issue. I don't look at books or anthos through the eyes of gender.

You're shouting - loud and clear - has made me see otherwise. Made me see the major disparity in the genre.

By the way, the recent Mind Meld (which looks at underrated SF series) mentions a number of woman and Octavia Butler twice.

Jun. 2nd, 2010 02:21 pm (UTC)
I am fortunate and privileged to be surrounded by the best peers one could ask for who do hear and are willing and interested to see a different point of view and who not only challenge me but to challenge themselves as well.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC)
I'm doing argument fallacies in preparation for my philosophy exam tomorrow. It's all about the formal rules of logic and arguing.

The amount of times that people have used these various fallacies - broad generalisations, ad hominem attacks, pooh-poohing dismissively... all accounted for in formal logic. It saddens me that this is more memorable than the brilliantly set out arguments that people have put forward this week - beautifully reasoned premises and conclusions! (It counts as study preparation this way, right?).

It's so very tiring in this arena right now. I'm so proud of what you and Tansy have been doing - how much energy it takes to keep speaking up to say something and not be silent. I notice and am grateful and will continue to lend my voice and support where I can. I appreciate it more than I can say.
Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:33 am (UTC)
If you want to be heard you have to keep on talking, I guess. Not that I don't suffer from rounds of exhaustion, frustration and despair. Must be our turn for an upswing.

On the other hand, we are increasingly in dialogue with people on the same page as us and that is totally stimulating and engaging and makes it all worthwhile - when you find kin.
(no subject) - transcendancing - Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:44 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 2nd, 2010 02:14 pm (UTC)
It's interesting, isn't? Because I thought you were polite too. Which makes it clear that you are seen as angry if you say it in a way that can be heard at all. The only polite, non-angry way to say it is to say it so quietly no one notices. Farah was a little cranky - but still very reasonable.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC)
It is, it's really really fascinating - if you can take a step back and view it from outside, you can really see the unconscious techniques used to silence the dissent.

And in other words, the only polite, non-angry way to say it is to not say it at all. Status Quo.
(no subject) - transcendancing - Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:48 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 2nd, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
Is there a particular reason you aren't naming the podcasty dudes?

Thanks to you and Tansy for staying vocal.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
We don't think they deserve the traffic.
(no subject) - rachel_swirsky - Jun. 2nd, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - girliejones - Jun. 2nd, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 3rd, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
Re: Hmm
See the bit you didn't get is that our opinion is not wrong. And the accusations against Sutter were not wrong - in the discussions he had online he GOT it where you guys failed to. Just because the bias was unintentioned does not mean it did not happen, just because the gender fail was unintentional does not mean it wasn't there. Subtle sexism is perhaps the worst kind, subtle noninclusion is the hardest to overcome. He was wrong because he didn't think about it - he reproduced all the over genderfail that went before him because it didn't occur to him to look at the list he made. The issue that needs to be overcome in the SF field is including women and not thinking about it is kind of the point.

You accept that he asked women and they said no and that is ok. How many women did he ask? You didn't think of that. If he asked 3 and 2 said no, is that also not genderfail? When we talk about genderfail, we aren't referring to some kind of malicious intentional exclusion of women. WE don't think that there are editors out there who think "not going to have women in MY anthology" or "hmm that's a female name, I hate women/don't think women can write, not including that". We've always been talking about something far more sinister because it is far harder to overcome - the kneejerk, unthinking, subconscious.

I suggest you listen to what we discussed of Sutter on our own podcast - http://www.galacticsuburbia.com episode 7 - and then decide whether you really thought we were wrong.

Edited at 2010-06-03 12:39 am (UTC)
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Re: Hmm - girliejones - Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hmm - girliejones - Jun. 3rd, 2010 05:34 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Hmm - girliejones - Jun. 4th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Hmm - girliejones - Jun. 4th, 2010 05:05 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Hmm - girliejones - Jun. 5th, 2010 06:51 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Hmm - girliejones - Jun. 7th, 2010 01:00 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Hmm - girliejones - Jun. 8th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Hmm - girliejones - Jun. 8th, 2010 01:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Re: Hmm - girliejones - Jun. 8th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hmm - (Anonymous) - Jun. 8th, 2010 04:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Hmm - girliejones - Jun. 8th, 2010 01:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 2nd, 2010 08:07 pm (UTC)
This all reminds me of the He/She game, popular in the 1980s:

He is angry/she's a bitch
He is thorough/she's picky

And so on. One can make a long list of these.

Could this be a case of:

He identifies an area of concern/she makes an accusation
Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:31 am (UTC)
It's so very very tiring, isn't it?

It is though somewhat fascinating to observe.
Jun. 3rd, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
And this post is why I love doing the podcast. It's a lot of fun to get these types of discussions going (although I would've liked to keep it more about the issue and less about the people involved, but we all cast our lot and this is what came up). It's refreshing to see people feel strongly about anything for once, and to take definite stands. I'm sick of the wishy-washy attitude touted by so many these days. I don't care if you disagree with me, even to the point of hatred, but please be consistent about it.
So while I utterly, totally, and vehemently disagree with you girliejones and am rather miffed at how egregiously we were misquoted (although I know you probably feel the same way), I am very happy you aren't ambivalent about your stance. Here's to many more long, drawn out debates in the future.

Jun. 4th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC)
One unrelated note on your last podcast, btw: Palahniuk is pronounced "Paula-Nick".
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(no subject) - angriest - Jun. 5th, 2010 06:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - girliejones - Jun. 5th, 2010 06:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - girliejones - Jun. 4th, 2010 02:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - neleh13 - Jun. 4th, 2010 03:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - girliejones - Jun. 4th, 2010 03:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - neleh13 - Jun. 4th, 2010 03:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - girliejones - Jun. 4th, 2010 03:25 am (UTC) - Expand
( 44 comments — Leave a comment )

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