Thursday, June 16, 2011

Girl Cootie Science Fiction Zeitgeist Links 16/06/2011

The discussion about the invisibility of women science fiction writers continues, and there's been some great contributions and discussions around the blocks.
Why have we forgotten these women? Partly feminism is to blame. The eager young feminists of the 1970s were keen to throw off the perceived shackles of their mothers, and rejected many of their predecessors as too “domestic” in their subject matter. But also we would have remembered these women more had their work been discussed more at the time, and had they won awards. 

  • Ian Sales has begun the SF Mistressworks blog, where SF by women writers is reviewed. The blog only began in the last few weeks and it already has an impressive list of books reviewed!
  • At Ambling Along the Aqueduct (the blog of Aqueduct Press), the discussion has been kept moving with a variety of posts.  L. Timmel Duchamp wrote about "Differences conceptualizing feminist SF":

    For a US feminist, at least, this formulation of feminism might apply to 1970s cultural and liberal feminisms, but it never applied to, say, socialist feminism. Granted, for all of the 1970s socialist feminists struggled mightily in their efforts to fit two dualistic systems of political thought together (in what was commonly called "the marriage of feminism and socialism"), so that they would not have to choose between socialism and feminism, but by the late 1970s and early 1980s, when black feminists' theorizations of intersectionality began to gain traction with white feminists like me, the "battle of the sexes" orientation of feminism pretty much went the way of the dodo.
    Gwynyth Jones (of whom I am reading 'White Queen' at the moment) responded with her own "Conceptualizing Feminist SF":
    Mary Gentle, long ago, coined the idea (maybe other people have expressed the same position, I don’t know) that she was a feminist writing science fiction, rather than a writer of feminist science fiction. This is what I think about everything I’ve written since Life. Which was and is, as I have always maintained, my farewell to the investigative, active work of feminist science fiction. I haven’t stopped being a feminist, I haven’t stopped writing like a feminist, but the Battle of the Sexes is no longer my exclusive topic.

    And it’s a shame if all sf books that feature a few female characters, having female lifes, are labelled feminist, & therefore marked as unreadable by large swathes of the general sf reading public. I have been worried about being part of that effect.
  • Juliet E. McKenna had her say in "Women being published in SF - an issue for all genre readers":
    And, you know what, echoing Pat Cadigan, I don’t want to be congratulated/rewarded for being a good writer, for a woman. I want to be considered a good writer who happens to be a woman.
  • Over at SFSignal, this week's Mind Meld is "What's the importance of the Russ Pledge for Science Fiction today?" Watch out for the usual derailing and mansplaining in the comments! Farah Mendlesohn puts it pretty succinctly:
    I am more interested in hearing why male writers think the Russ Pledge is important for science fiction, and then watching them act it out, than I am in writing yet one more exhausted rant stating the obvious.

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