Thursday, February 12, 2015

Vanishing Women

I'm thinking through the question about why women and minorities prior to 2014 have vanished from the popular history of SFF.

Patrick suggests it's because people don't read enough and don't know the history of the field. This is possible.

Part of the reason may be -- it's more dramatic if women and minorities suddenly appear, rather than becoming slowly more numerous over decades. It makes the new writers seem more radical and heroic. They have smashed down barriers and suddenly broken through! Before them there was nothing except a vast wasteland of straight, white, male writers. Now, they are here! Ta-ta!

Most of the writers who are being vanished from SFF history are women, and this brings up another couple of issues. I've been hearing from mid-career women writers who feel they are having a lot more trouble than male writers of a comparable age. The women say they feel they are being pushed to the side to make way for younger, more attractive, cooler young women. The men continue to get attention, even if they are no longer young -- and maybe never were good looking.

This would be comparable to Hollywood, when male actors can play leads for decades, but women actors (most of them) are finished when they look past 35.

Someone in the discussion (a guy) asked if this problem in SFF was related to the general problem of women being ignored as they age. The women in the discussion said definitely yes.

I suspect we need a Third Wave of Feminism in the SF community. This time there are a lot of aging women writers and critics and fans, so this time we need to address prejudice against elder women.


Blogger Russell Letson said...

Just sent you an e-mail that may prove relevant.

10:47 AM  

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