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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Posts Tagged ‘feminism’

Friday Links are Slightly Feverish

Friday, July 20th, 2012

I have crawled from my sick bed to bring you these links. Well, it’s not a bed, it’s a chair. And frankly not that comfortable. But I am still posting Friday links because I’m not good for much else today. *eyes novel-in-progress sadly*

For a start, I forgot to tell you all that the Doctor Who in Conversation blog series with me, David & Tehani has gone audio – we have done our first podcast, looking at Spearhead from Space (1970) after both David and Tehani watched it for the first time.

I’m kind of loving the Comic-Con coverage this week, and how those of us stuck home get to experience some of the panels, vids and other program items. Such as the Futurama panel, the Community gag reel, the Firefly reunion and so on. Also, adorable child cosplay and Doctor Who revelations!

The Mary Sue updates us on Sarah Robles, US weightlifting Olympian, and which company brought some serious sponsorship to her party.

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Friday Links is on the Side of the Bronies

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Tor.com on In Defense of Bronies – the Quest for Gender Equality in Fandom. The patriarchy hurts men too, especially men who like cool cartoons about adorable ponies!

Alisa on The Knitting Olympics, and why the spat between the Olympics committee and Ravelry is a feminist issue for her.

Jennifer Crusie, queen of the collage-your-novel technique, talks about brainstorming with yarn, and other art and craft. It’s all about YARNSTORMING!

Bluemilk responds to the Atlantic article about Women Having It All, pulling the best points from the article and providing a bunch of links to interesting followup blogs.

The fabulous epic fantasy writer Karen Miller talks publishing, fantasy and feminism in Five Questions.

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Friday Links Is Hopping on the Train to Earth 2

Friday, February 17th, 2012

The Mary Sue previews the exciting upcoming new DC titles with women front and centre, including Worlds’ Finest (squeee!) and The Ravagers (featuring the most interesting characters in the Superboy book, making me wonder whether I’ll be continuing with his title) but they also called me attention to the delightful revelation that the Earth 2 Wonder Woman may actually be Donna Troy, one of those characters who has been noticeably absent from the new 52. SQUEEEE! (Is it too much to hope Wally West is over there too? If so, I’m totally moving in over there)

Some discussion went around the internets a week ago about Madonna, and how the media has always enjoyed hating her so much – and no, it doesn’t mean that people who don’t like her music are automatically sexist, but a lot of the invective used against her *is*.

Speaking of assumptions, there’s a lovely interview with Sophie Kinsella, who has made a name for herself writing the fun, comedic Shopaholic novels. She talks about the way she is perceived, and defends the moral issues of her books as well as talking positively about comedy for women. Also from a writerly point of view, I thought it interesting how the article presents her two separate author names and identities.

Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series possibly being made for TV – wow. I managed to miss the Darkover series, which is one of those things like Anne McCaffrey’s Pern that makes me sad. I have heard there’s a lot of hefty 70′s style feminist type stuff in there, though, and would be fascinated to see how they adapt it, and how much the material has dated. Far more than the George RR Martin series, this intrigues me enough to read the source material and compare to the TV if it gets that far.

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Or maybe sometimes Equality MIGHT Mean Half… [the Paul Cornell Parity Project Edition]

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Why does this stuff always happen in Galactic Suburbia’s off week?

A few days ago, Paul Cornell, a very popular and well regarded SF, television and comics professional writer who regularly appears on panels at conventions around the world, made a bit of a splash with his announcement about how he plans to address the problem of parity on said convention panels.

Much like the male SF and fantasy authors (like Charles Stross) who have pledged publicly to step aside from appearing in SF anthologies which perpetuate the bad SF tradition of not including nearly enough work written by women, Paul Cornell has pledged to step aside from panels that do not offer at least 2/5 female participants. Naturally enough, responses to this are mixed.

It’s a gimmick. Obviously it’s a gimmick. It’s also a stunt. It is a great big, messy, epic gimmicky stunt. It’s going to make some people angry. It’s going to make some people embarrassed. It’s going to make a whole bunch of people complain loudly on the internet. I’m sure plenty of them already have, but I’ve become better and better at avoiding that kind of thing.

But, and this is important, it’s unlikely that Paul will receive the same degree of anger, dismissive language and abuse that a woman would receive, should she pledge to enact some kind of public protest at conventions that do not offer equal numbers of male and female panellists. It’s irritating, but true.

His plan is not going to fix everything. It’s not going to heal the world. It may not even make much of a difference to a whole bunch of conventions. But that is not a reason for him not to do it. Because Paul can get away with it. He’s a lovely guy, good-humoured and presents well in public. If he does end up having to do this piece of comedic pantomime, physically stepping down in front of an audience and finding women to take his place, then people will remember it, and they will likely forgive him for it. He’ll make it entertaining, and the point will be made, with far less fallout than would occur (sadly) if a woman was the one trying to make the same point.

[there are a lot of potential problems with his proposed system of course - such as the potential embarrassment of female audirnce members called upon without preparation to take his place, and the pressure on such women to be brilliant and witty to justify the choice - it's an awkward position to put them in, and I think Paul may have to relent on his current plans not to make prior arrangements with potential replacements. Often there are quite sensible reasons why particular women are not sitting on a particular panel, such as having ALREADY been overloaded with a bunch of panels at a convention because programmers are often desperate to try to reach something close to parity, and once a woman is known to be good value on panels, she will often be massively over-scheduled. Unlike many other critics, I don't think the possibility that the female replacement might be less qualified or interesting than Paul Cornell is actually a reason not to do it - I have sat on far too many panels with dull and uninformed male participants to worry about that. But of course, a boring male participant is not seen to represent his entire gender if he fails in public... so, yeah. A lot of pressure.]

If it makes some conventions think differently about their programming, if it makes some women feel more confident about volunteering for panels, and if it makes some more men think seriously about whether they’re really the most (or only) qualified person for the topic they’ve been asked to speak on, then it’s worth doing. And if that means that Paul Cornell stops being invited to speak at conventions (which seems unlikely) then at least he’ll have more time to write! A plan with few drawbacks!

Maybe it will be a helpful stepping stone in the process of making these events more inclusive of women, and maybe it won’t – but at least it’s getting us talking about the issue, and it’s one worth talking about.

Farah Mendlesohn has some thoughts about Paul’s plan, and about positive discrimination being at times a, you know, positive thing. As ever, she speaks good sense. I also very much enjoyed Cheryl Morgan’s witty and energetic response to the Paul Parity Plan (it needs a catchier title, yes?).

Sometimes you have to stop worrying about the little details that might go wrong, and appreciate the joy that comes from a glorious, messy, gimmicky consciousness-raising stunt. While eating popcorn.

EDIT: MORE ON GENDER PARITY IN THE UK:
On the Gollancz blog.

Equality, Apparently, Doesn’t Mean Half [the National Year of Reading Edition]

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

The thing about feminism is that an awful lot of people in the world don’t think about it. They don’t think it’s necessary. Worst of all, they think it’s an anachronism. Because women have equality now, right?

Sure they do. Except in the many, many, tiny little ways that they don’t. Some of those ways seem small, like tiny nicks in the glass of a car window, the sort of thing you can overlook on its own. But when it’s nick after nick, dent after dent, hole after hole… once your awareness has been opened to it, it feels like the window is cracking open, from edge to edge. You can’t not see it. It’s everywhere.

Elizabeth L Huede, the powerhouse behind the gone-viral-or-what Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading challenge, blogged recently about how disappointing it is that the list of books chosen for the National Year of Reading project – one from each state, books chosen to represent ‘our story’ as Australians – consists of seven out of eight male authored works.

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Friday Links Didn’t Burn Any Bras

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Eh, I’ve been trying and failing to write an essay about how often women (fictional and otherwise) end up being shamed, dismissed or hurt in the name of feminism, but it’s tangling me up in knots, so I’m going to stop now and do something productive instead.

Hoyden talk about the myth of the bra-burning feminists, an idea which has been used to try to make women look stupid for decades, and how the false story was spread.

The Moffat’s Women series continues on Tor, with a comparison between the main female character in this Christmas special and last year’s. I find it very interesting how quickly people have leaped to criticise Moffat for writing a story in which the mother is the hero, so this article made me happy.

Sarah Rees Brennan’s response
to the post we linked to in Galactic Suburbia about the wealth of positive girl heroes in YA right now.

One that I meant us to discuss on GS but forgot at the last minute (sorry, Sean!) – Sean the Blogonaut surveys his reading after a year of trying to change his reading habits, genderwise.

Linda Nagata talks about her rationale for self publishing rather than going back to big publishers.

The ever awesome Mary Beard comments on the latest salacious media drama about Ancient Romans and brothels. Yes, really. As ever, her pragmatism wins the day.

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Friday Links removed a Womble’s Head

Friday, December 16th, 2011

OK this is my favourite news article of the week – a Womble performer traumatised a nation (well, the six year old portion of the nation) when he accidentally removed his head during a live webfeed. Now, my first reaction was basically that it’s awesome that the Wombles are a THING again for today’s kiddies. As a mother of a six year old myself (who broke my heart with her reaction to finding out about the Santa thing last year)… seriously?

Parents from around the UK said the ‘damage had already been done’ and that they had been forced to come up with ‘all kinds of explanations’ about why there was a human inside a Womble.

HOW MANY KINDS OF EXPLANATION ARE THERE?

Elsewhere in the world, Aqueduct Press continue their marvellous blog series of posts about the Best Reading, Listening, Viewing, etc. in 2011. I like especially that the contributors are asked to talk about what they enjoyed, but not limit themselves to work published this calendar year. And I was honoured to be asked to talk about my own favourite things of 2011. I forgot lots of things, of course, but that’s what my own blog is for!

Also, Brit Mandelo of Tor.com blogs about her new reprint anthology, Beyond Binary, which includes a story by MEEEEE as well as a whole bunch of more famous and wonderful writers. Hooray for genderqueer SF being talked about!

Nnedi Okorafor blogs powerfully about her discomfort in discovering, in the wake of her marvellous World Fantasy win for Best Novel, that the trophy depicts the head of a very racist, unpleasant person. Ie. H.P. Lovecraft. Which has led to all kinds of conversations across Twitter and other forums about, you know, what kind of alternative trophy could better represent excellence in fantasy fiction, or the history of fantasy literature. I suspect TRADITION is going to win out on this one, or at least a combination of tradition and resistance to change, which are not entirely the same things, but personally I can think of a whole bunch of other unpleasant heads which could take his place. Like Medusa!

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On False Equivalence

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Friday Links is a Feminist Country

Friday, October 7th, 2011

I found this article about what a (mostly) feminist society that actually exists in the world today really inspiring. I have no idea how to get there from here but oh, I do hope Australia can be Iceland when it grows up! Their social attitudes to female politicians, childcare and the work/life balance make me ridiculously happy.

Meanwhile Bitch Magazine is doing a new blog series which looks at the portrayal of pregnancy, childbirth and early childhood/parenthood in TVland. I have Strong Opinions on this topic, so looking forward to reading what they have to say.

Tehani posted this link about which comic book superheroines deserve their own movies. Which is all very well, but let’s face it, Hollywood has badly let down the female superhero (and not the other way around). I can’t help thinking their stories would be better served by taking visuals out of the equation and going straight to the novel.

So if anyone wants to hire me to write a Huntress novel, I’m available! Or Wonder Woman, come to that…

Gail Simone tweeted this article which looks at two different kinds of representation of race in current DC Comics, comparing the Static Shock approach (he just happens to be black, yanno) with the Firestom approach (actual discussion of racial issues in the text). It’s a thoughtful piece, and I think demonstrates that both approaches have value, and it’s important to have both kinds of representation of race in stories – if all stories with characters of colour were about race, or all stories with characters of colour were NOT about race, we would have a real problem.

I do love it when people point out that these things are not either/or!

Jo Anderton, whose debut novel Debris (Angry Robot) I loved when she sent it to me for blurbage (it’s about magical architects! and magical garbage collectors! And it has technology mixed in with magic, plus a professional heroine who is flawed and cranky and acquires a TEAM, and has sex without it having to be her true love!) has done an interview over at Rowena’s blog.

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Galactic Suburbia 38

Friday, August 5th, 2011

New episode up! Grab it from iTunes, by direct download or stream it on the site.

EPISODE 38

In which none of your fearless podcasters are impregnated by mysterious aliens for the duration of a single episode, nor do any of us experience a rapidly accelerated pregnancy or give birth to an otherworldly demon/alien/vampire. Also: Batgirl, Bujold and a cranky feminist rant or two.

News

Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award – given to a living writer for the first time, Katherine MacLean.

Mythopoeic Awards

World Fantasy, of course!

World SF Travel Fund raising money to send Charles A Tan to WFC

The Mystical Pregnancy trope
- torture porn? Reproductive terrorism, exploiting women for being female.
Violent degradation of women’s bodies for plot.

Vote For Top-100 Science Fiction, Fantasy Titles
Swedish Writing Fairy crunches the numbers

Andromeda’s Offering Offspring Issue 1 – new fanzine to “open up new female voices in SF, raise the awareness of female SF writers and share ideas.”
(you can find them on Facebook apparently)

Where are the women in the new DC Comics?
newsy report
proper interview with Batgirl crusader

SF Signal Episode 70 – 6 men talk about their favourite podcasts and illustrate what we mean by gender disparity in SF gatekeeping
Alisa makes reference to recent Mind Meld

What Culture Have we Consumed?

Alisa – Passage by Connie Willis; Red Glove by Holly Black; The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang;
Alex - Diplomatic Immunity and Cryoburn, Bujold; Chicks Dig Time Lords, ed. Lynne Thomas; The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell; Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal (http://wp.me/p11HLi-Nf); Songs of the Earth, Elspeth Cooper (abandoned). SF Squeecast.
Tansy – Glenda Larke-Stormlord Rising; Malinda Lo-Huntress; Penni Russon-Only, Ever, Always

Feedback
lovely review at Hoyden About Town

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