Things that really shouldn’t be an issue, but are

This post by Jim C. Hines makes me cringe and shake my head, not because I think he’s wrong, but because I think he’s right. I’m not a published author so I can’t speak out of experience, but just from what I’ve observed, and from what I’ve gone through as a female on the internet in general, his hypothetical “Jane”s experience really rings true.

It makes me sad that this is still the case, that we still have to put up with these inequalities as women in, well, pretty much any professional field, and that we have to feel guilty or somehow like complainers if we do bring it up. That we have to feel embarrassed to call ourselves feminists.

I admit this is why I have mixed feelings about choosing a gender-ambiguous penname. I have pretty much tried to be gender-neutral as often as possible online, because for me, that was always part of the appeal, that I was detached from my physical self and all the things that implied, from race, gender, appearance, etc. However, I remember at least twice being given a hard time by certain individuals for doing so. Honestly? Tiresome. Why should it even matter? Why do my “bits” matter? They don’t affect my writing or my work ethic or my morals.

#

Another thought, about the trouble minority-centric or minority-written books often have trouble finding an audience:

One thing I find, as someone doubly in the minority, as a minority, you get used to simply putting yourself in the shoes of a majority lead character. I can read a story about a white male protagonist and identify with him just fine, because I’m bombarded with the stuff; it’s what I grew up with, and that’s the image of “heroic” I’ve imprinted on. But for someone in that majority position, I could imagine it’s a lot harder to deal with or identify with someone who isn’t what you’ve seen as the hero since childhood. There haven’t been an endless stream of stories featuring dashing Asian ladies sweeping in to save the day. So why should you go out of your way to read it? Except that it might make your life a bit more interesting. Heaven forbid.

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6 Comments

  1. camille

     /  December 31, 2011

    I’ve decided to lie like a mofo. More important, and more recently, I’ve decided I don’t care if that makes me a bad person.

    Reply
  2. You need to write a story with a dashing Asian lady protagonist cos I SO want to read that.

    I’m a bit scared to touch the subject of feminism because despite me being very feminist imo I always seem to accidentally offend people on the subject! But I will say that that blog post was a really accurate one (made by a man, right? Heh. Although obviously a very observant and switched on guy.) I HATE the concept of gender in work. I’m currently trying to get everywhere to change my title to nothing/non gendered and I’m coming up against some of the most offensive things you can imagine (I’m currently listed as ‘Captain’, ‘Musician’ and ‘Other’ by various professional establishments because god forbid you don’t have a label and there’s nothing else that isn’t labelling you with what junk you’re packing in your pants) I just don’t see why gender should MATTER AT ALL in certain circumstances, certainly not when you’re a professional writer.

    Reply
    • (Hee, re-replying)

      When I write that dashing Asian lady protag, I’m so dedicating her to you. ❤

      It… It's a bit frustrating how people get very defensive about "wrong" interpretations of their cause, eg, someone not being a proper feminist or blah blah blah. I mean, most of the time I see it most people believe the same stuff, but it's one little sticky detail they get all frothy about. Ugh.

      I kind of love that you get to be referred to as Captain. I don’t love the reason why, but, Captain Booth has a rather swashbuckle-y charm to it. *doffs her hat at you.*

      It’s such a non-issue most time. Health issue, sure. Clothing–maybe, as it may affect how to cut them. But your work? And your title? Stupid.

      Reply

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