Feminism in speculative fiction

I don't have a lot to say on this topic, mostly because I think the people screaming about it the loudest are really annoying and trying to make mountains out of the mole-hill they personally saw once. We all have bad personal experiences with other people occasionally, especially when everyone involved is probably drunk, but those experiences aren't a license to attack an entire community. Individuals are responsible for their own actions.

... But, that said, I've been following Leigh Butler's reread of A Song of Ice and Fire, because it's really amusing to watch her bang her head on her desk over and over and over again while complaining about sexism in Martin's universe. And the thing is, she's justified in Martin's universe, because it really is amazingly sexist. Perhaps uncomfortably so, because a lot of the sexism is rooted in the very real physical realities of violence.

But this week she said something that made me bang my own head on my own desk.

Because, on the one hand, Martin has thus far shown a nearly uncanny accuracy in nailing a portrayal of a society positively rife with endemic misogyny, not only in the more obvious and blatant behavior that almost anyone can see, but also in the more subtle and insidious iterations that are frequently more difficult for your average person to see and/or articulate as sexist, embedded as we are in our own still highly gender-biased society. So obviously Martin gets many kudos for that from me, because making sure that people know that a bad thing exists in the first place is a crucial and unskippable step in one’s campaign to make sure that it hopefully someday stops happening. It’s a lot harder to deny that something is a an actual thing when people (or authors) are able to be all NO, LOOK HERE IS THE THING IT IS REALLY HERE NO YOU DON’T GET TO SAY IT ISN’T HERE BECAUSE LOOK, IT’S HERE. This is why representation matters.

Leigh... that sexism exists in fiction does not prove anything about the real world.

This entry was published Tue May 06 13:52:21 CDT 2014 by Matthew and last updated 2014-04-03 15:25:26.0.

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