Wow, I was really angry yesterday. And I suspect I'll be equally enraged by the end of today, what with the fuckery unspooling from the George Zimmerman trial, the Supreme Court shitting on section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, and Texas's SB5 threatening women's rights, health, and lives… Yeah, I'll be needing a drink sooner than later. But today's bitchfest concerns not these macro-aggressions, but what I'll call meso-level aggressions, the periodic outbursts of sexism and racism from SFWA members (SFWA = the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America
I am not a member of SFWA. Maybe one day. I like the idea of their grievance committee, which helps to resolve contract disputes, and I can see the value of their emergency medical fund. I know there are smart, mega-talented people working their asses off to make SFWA an excellent organization.
I also know that SFWA, whether or not I am a member, represents "my" genres to the public. So when SFWA's official publication's cover is one I'd be embarrassed to carry around in public—woman in a barely breast-defying chain-mail bikini, in the snow?—
I shake my head in chagrin.
When two of their long-standing writers "Dialogue" about "lady editors", "lady writers", and see fit to comment on said professionals' physical appearances when the topic is supposedly their work and legacy, I roll my eyes and hope none of my non-genre friends ever see this travesty.
When another SFWA columnist upholds Barbie as the role model for young girls "because she maintained her quiet dignity the way a woman should", I grit my teeth and swap sarcastic jokes with other SF writers on Twitter.
When, in SFWA's next Bulletin
, the authors of the "lady editors" piece are permitted a lengthy rebuttal of (completely justified
and well-reasoned, passionate
, and that rebuttal is essentially "liberal fascists!" and "CENSORSHIP!!!", I feel like SFWA is a sinking ship and I'm caught in its sucking vortex. (For the text of their article, scroll to bottom of this link roundup
or read this evisceration
But when some jackass uses SFWA tools to spread his racist hate, to denigrate a fellow member with more talent in her pinky finger than he has in his whole waste of organs, to call her a savage and her plea for reconciliation within the SF community "a call for its decline into irrelevance"…?
I cannot, in the parlance of our times, even.
Forgive me if this seems like old news, if I am hopelessly late in joining the choir. The irony is, I had to choose whether to speak out against this racism and misogyny in the SF community OR work on my science fiction novel with a female protag and characters of color fighting for their lives within a quarantined environment. I didn't have the spoons to do both. I wonder why.
Other writers have already written passionately and insightfully about SFWA's inability (or unwillingness) to quash these concerted efforts to sabotage the organization's credibility. I agree that the racist dickblister should be expelled from SFWA
for hate speech and improper conduct. I agree that SFWA should take proactive measures to ensure a safe environment
for all its members, rather than working around the pus buckets.
I don't want to belong to an organization where I must survey the scene and wonder, Which of these folks doubts that I'm "equally homo sapiens sapiens"? How many of these guys wish I were a pink plastic doll whose mouth didn't open?
This is not a free speech issue. My humanity
is not up for debate. I will not join a group that allows members to behave as if it is.