Your Sunday Snark: Oz Demolishes Whiny, Arthritic SFWA Bigots
Found via Angela James on Twitter. Old Men Yelling At Clouds by Foz Meadows. Core point of article: the Science Fiction Writers of America have apparently been busy alienating women by being grossly sexist and bigoted and then being shocked and outraged at being called sexist and bigoted. Ms. Meadows nicely links to at least most of the brouhaha, then rips the greatest offenders to shreds. Somewhere there is another discussion about how women should be like Barbie, also attributed to the SFWA, but I’m actively not clicking on that.
I think I fell in love with her for this, after Resnick invokes romance covers as his defense of sexism:
Seriously, where the fuck do I even begin deconstructing this hot mess? With the fact that the abundance of bare-skinned cover art is not, in and of itself, proof that said art is desirable, positive, or OK? That’s like saying that because you can find a lot of brutal rape videos on the internet, it’s fine that you made your own brutal rape video in your basement. With the fact that there’s a big fucking difference between depicting sexualised images of both men and women on the covers of stories that are actually about sex, and depicting sexualised images of women alone on the covers of stories that have nothing or little to do with sex, except inasmuch as the male audience is being encouraged to construct objectifying fantasies? With the fact that, actually, there’s a growing movement of romance readers lobbying for different book covers, or who actively critique said covers as ridiculous, offensive, or just plain silly; and that, once you’ve complained about the anonymity of your detractors, you lose the right to make judgements about which movements they do or don’t support?
She contributes to the Huffington Post, but you can’t buy her two books in the US. Why, Ms. Meadows? Is it Because New York?
I have always loved fantasy and sci-fi, and I started writing fantasy before I wrote romance, though to be honest it was romance and I just didn’t know it. (For ten years I basically wrote the longhand, isolated version of fan fiction of Raistlin Majere, because Crysania was SO not for him.) However, those horribly objectified covers have been putting me off since puberty. Yes, I put up with clinch covers in my romance, but there’s a softness to those that goes beyond pastel oils. Marketing departments, by and large, made space in those scantily clad images for a young woman who wanted to read about happy endings and celebrate vulnerability and emotional justice. The objectification on the fantasy covers always read as just that: men get clothes and women don’t, and on the rare occasion men go buff, it’s about bodybuilding, not sex. Plus, honestly, nine times out of ten to this day when I pick up any fantasy novel I am so bogged down in pointless infodump for the first fifty pages I cannot progress. The one time the prologue was actually action and excitement, after I bought the fucking hardcover I found out this was a goddamned flashback from the end of the story, and the entire novel was infodump except for the last act. With the exception of Pratchett, Gaiman, and Bujold, I steer away from most fantasy, and it’s because of those covers. And the infodump.
Anyway. Cheers to Meadows, jeers to the old men yelling at clouds. If I ever meet them, I’ll whip out my kindle and start reading aloud from one of the fisting scenes in Nowhere Ranch. If they tell me I make them uncomfortable, I’ll tell them about all my readers, many of them men, who had no problem with it.