You are viewing shawnam

Next Entry

I can't ignore you any longer!


As many of my good friends and colleagues will attest, my overall attitude towards this giant digital community has basically been the equivalent of sticking my fingers in my ears and chanting, "Lalala, I can't hear you! " I've recently discovered that this won't work anymore. Even if I stay off the interwebs and keep my nose clean and my typing fingers innocent of slander and ridicule, I still end up in trouble, so I give up. Here is my neck--please direct me to the nearest guillotine.

Anyway, the first thing I wanted to address today is the tempest in a teapot that has been stirred up by the announcement of Realms of Fantasy's Women in Fantasy issue. Doug Cohen, the general editor, announced the issue earlier this week, and apparently a mini-firestorm immediately erupted on the basis of whether or not it's sexist that such an issue even exist. I decided to ignore that, as usual, since I thought it was silly. But then some more serious charges arose around Doug's choice of language in his announcement, and I can't ignore the issue or the internet any longer.

My kids have, over the years, discovered the hard way that irony, sarcasm, humor and even affection just don't travel well digitally. If you text someone a message saying U suck, the recipient has no way of knowing that you meant it affectionately, or as a joke, or utterly sincerely. 

So, Doug is a guy. I don't really know how old he is, but from my lofty perspective (which is how I choose to refer to my age), the answer is "not very." He's a hard-working, fantasy loving, football watching kid who is just now beginning to realize that there are certain things you just can't say on the internet (or in real life). Much like my kids, he's now finding out the hard way that what sounds good in your head sounds awful on the internet. I know he's not a sexist pig, and using the terms a) "girl writers only" and b) "ladies" was not intended in any way other than a) as a joke, and b) as a young male person's ignorance of how much we women hate to be referred to as ladies.  I also know that this ignorance is a sign that, yes, we still have far to go in the battle against sexist language and the underlying, unaware sexist attitudes, but we also need to just chill a little bit. 

What gives me the right to stand (or more accurately, sit) here and say this? Well, I started working in SFF field when in 1978 when the proportion of men to women was 90/10. I was the first woman to edit a major SF magazine, and the first woman to win a Hugo for doing so. I edited the first women-in-science-fiction anthology, A Space of Her Own back in 1983.  Since then the balance of men to women has shifted somewhat, but not as much as I'd like to see, especially in the SF venue. In fantasy the numbers are more even (I don't have any statistics to hand, but I'm basing this on my own perception after many years in the field), but still tilted towards the male. I think the idea of a Women in Fantasy issue Realms is perfectly legitimate and I honestly think that objecting to it on the basis of sexism is just silly. Objecting to Doug's choice of language in announcing it is legitimate, but he has apologized and is slowly but clearly learning his lesson is just what you can and cannot say on line. I too apologize to anyone who was offended by his words,but I do not apologize for fact of the issue's very existence. 

So now that I've got a blog (god, I can't believe I'm doing this!), I will post more often on topics related to the magazine and probably, as I get more comfortable with being in the crosshairs, other stuff as well, For now, though, I've got to get back to work!

ETA: I've  been reliably informed, and have even looked it up myself, that my Space of Her Own anthology was predated by about five years by Pamela Sargeant's groundbreaking Women of Wonder. Apologies and deep bows to Pamela!
ETAA (edited to also add!): I have further been informed that my feminist street cred is not nearly as old as I thought it was. Ellen has also reminded me about Virginia Kidd's Millennial Women, 1973 and several others that followed with Ursula LeGuin as co-editor, along with the name of Cele Goldsmith who edited Amazing stories and Fantastic while I was still in training pants. As I said to Ellen, it hasn't taken me long to learn how to be a blogger--like most bloggers I prefer to rely on my faulty memories and deeply held opinions.

Comments

( 71 comments — Leave a comment )
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
douglascohen
Jan. 7th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
I am 32 (just barely), which I suppose in the grand scheme of things is fairly young. :)
jimhines
Jan. 7th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
Barely out of diapers! (said Jim, his voice full of the vast wisdom and experience of his 35 years.)
(no subject) - melissajm - Jan. 7th, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ellen_datlow - Jan. 7th, 2010 11:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - douglascohen - Jan. 7th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
douglascohen
Jan. 7th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, and in case anyone missed my apology: http://douglascohen.livejournal.com/224836.html
ellen_datlow
Jan. 7th, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC)
Welcome to the snake pit of blogging Shawna :-)
douglascohen
Jan. 7th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
Shawna tells me you're responsible for convincing her to start an LJ. I'm impressed! I've been trying to convince her for years.
(no subject) - ellen_datlow - Jan. 7th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ellen_datlow - Jan. 7th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - douglascohen - Jan. 7th, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - charlesatan - Jan. 8th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - douglascohen - Jan. 7th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
shsilver
Jan. 7th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC)
Welcome to the blogosphere!
jimhines
Jan. 7th, 2010 07:37 pm (UTC)
Welcome to LiveJournal! Looking forward to reading the blog.
eljaydaly
Jan. 7th, 2010 07:37 pm (UTC)
Welcome!
jcdrainville
Jan. 7th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
I like the term lady, provided it's not being used snidely. But that's the thing, what offends one woman won't necessarily offend another.

I'm looking forward to the issue. I'm even writing a story inspired by the idea. Whether it's done in time or appropriate to the magazine is to be seen. But if the mere suggestion inspired a story, who cares? :)

All the best, Shawna. I've loved RoF since I first found the magazine.
jimvanpelt
Jan. 7th, 2010 07:40 pm (UTC)
Hi, Shawna. Welcome to the community. I've enjoyed blogging. If might grow on you.
norilana
Jan. 7th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
Welcome to blogging, and to the online world, Shawna. Good to see you here. :-)

Now that you are here, get ready to find that no matter what you say (or even how you say it) someone somewhere will be offended by it (that's the Great Unwritten Law of the Internet), so you simply sit back and smile, and take it all with a grain of salt.
shawnam
Jan. 7th, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
I know that all too well, which is why I've refrained for so long! I won't even Google myself!
(no subject) - jimhines - Jan. 7th, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shawnam - Jan. 7th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - norilana - Jan. 9th, 2010 03:16 am (UTC) - Expand
shawnam
Jan. 7th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
A technical question
I've just come back to the page to see how it's going and I've discovered that I have a bunch of friend requests. I approved the first one on the list and it took about five seconds. Now that's not much time, I realize, but if I have to do it 75 times or so, it's gonna take a while. Also, I can't tell from the usernames if I actually know the people or want to friend them. Assuming I just want to jump into the deep end and say yes to everyone (which might be stupid since I don't know what it means to friend someone on LJ) is there a way to do that? And is it stupid?
birdhousefrog
Jan. 7th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
Re: A technical question
Hello, Shawna. Welcome to LJ. I ended up here because Greg Frost had a blog on LJ and I wanted to post a comment on it. Now I'm hooked. It's a dangerous world on the 'nets.

Friending: Friends can read a blog post that's locked, it can't be seen by the general public, hoi polloi, unwashed masses. You might lock a post if you wanted to rant at the idiocy of someone and don't want to chance their reading it by accident.

Otherwise, the main reason for 'friending' is so that someone's blog shows up on your livejournal friends' page. That would imply that you want to spend your time reading what we ate for breakfast or what cute thing our cat did, or in my case, my chickens.

You can expect to acquire hundreds of followers (friends) who want to read your thoughts, but you're in no way expected to want to read ours. You can limit yourself to a few choice friends: Doug and Warren, for example. No one will be offended if you do. Or no one should be.

Oz Drummond
Re: A technical question - ellen_datlow - Jan. 7th, 2010 09:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - barbarienne - Jan. 7th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - ellen_datlow - Jan. 7th, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - barbarienne - Jan. 7th, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - ellen_datlow - Jan. 7th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - birdhousefrog - Jan. 7th, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - ellen_datlow - Jan. 7th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - coppervale - Jan. 8th, 2010 02:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - ellen_datlow - Jan. 8th, 2010 02:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - birdhousefrog - Jan. 8th, 2010 11:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - ellen_datlow - Jan. 8th, 2010 11:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - birdhousefrog - Jan. 8th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - ellen_datlow - Jan. 8th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - birdhousefrog - Jan. 8th, 2010 11:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - ellen_datlow - Jan. 8th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: A technical question - melissajm - Jan. 7th, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
douglascohen
Jan. 7th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
If you scroll to the top, you'll see a "Friends" option of the mini-nav bar, right between "Archive" & "User Info." When you click on "Friends," it will take you to the pages of anyone that you've "friended." This will allow you to see what's going on with your friends on LJ.

Some people friend everyone who friends them, which will lead to a tremendous f-list to scroll through. Some people are more selective. I opt for the latter option, mostly because it saves time. There's no wrong choice. It's really whatever suits you best.
frostokovich
Jan. 7th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
Well said, SM (Christ, even your initials sound bad in this context)--

-gf
oneminutemonkey
Jan. 7th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
From one RoF person to another, welcome to LJ, Shawna. Glad to have you around.
shweta_narayan
Jan. 7th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC)
Welcome to lj, Shawna!
joshrountree
Jan. 7th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
Welcome to LJ -- glad you're here!
charlesatan
Jan. 8th, 2010 12:33 am (UTC)
Welcome to LJ!
ellen_datlow
Jan. 8th, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)
Yup :-)
ogre_san
Jan. 8th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
Welcome to LJ. As to the kerfluffles, I take the fifth. Or maybe a margarita.
dsgood
Jan. 8th, 2010 01:29 am (UTC)
Depends what you mean by "major"
From the Internet Speculative Fiction Data Base (http://isfdb.org):

Magazine Editor Series

* Fantastic
o Fantastic - 1958 (1958)
o Fantastic/Fantastic Science Fiction Stories - 1959 (1959)
o Fantastic Science Fiction Stories/Fantastic Stories of Imagination - 1960 (1960)
o Fantastic Stories of Imagination - 1961 (1961)
o Fantastic Stories of Imagination - 1962 (1962)
o Fantastic Stories of Imagination - 1963 (1963)
o Fantastic Stories of Imagination - 1964 (1964)
o Fantastic Stories of Imagination - 1964 (1964) [only as by Cele G. Lalli ]
o Fantastic Stories of Imagination - 1965 (1965) [only as by Cele G. Lalli ]

* Amazing Stories
o Amazing Science Fiction Stories - 1958 (1958)
o Amazing Science Fiction Stories - 1959 (1959)
o Amazing Science Fiction Stories - 1960 (1960)
o Amazing Stories - 1960 (1960)
o Amazing Stories - 1961 (1961)
o Amazing Stories - 1962 (1962)
o Amazing Stories - 1963 (1963)
o Amazing Stories - 1964 (1964)
o Amazing Stories - 1965 (1965)
ellen_datlow
Jan. 8th, 2010 01:32 am (UTC)
Re: Depends what you mean by "major"
What are you indicating with these lists? it's not at all clear...
Re: Depends what you mean by "major" - dsgood - Jan. 8th, 2010 02:47 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Depends what you mean by "major" - ellen_datlow - Jan. 8th, 2010 02:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Depends what you mean by "major" - dsgood - Jan. 8th, 2010 05:44 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Depends what you mean by "major" - shawnam - Jan. 8th, 2010 03:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Depends what you mean by "major" - dsgood - Jan. 8th, 2010 05:47 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Depends what you mean by "major" - oldcharliebrown - Jan. 8th, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
coppervale
Jan. 8th, 2010 02:19 am (UTC)
It's nice to see you here, Shawna!
thelimbknitter
Jan. 8th, 2010 03:17 am (UTC)
Thank You.
We need more blog entries like this and fewer of the tempest in a teapot variety.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
akashiver
Jan. 8th, 2010 04:27 am (UTC)
Welcome to the Internetz!
mlamprey
Jan. 8th, 2010 04:47 am (UTC)
My first thought, when I read that Shawna was luring a bunch of "women" into an issue of their own, was that it sounded like a trap--a clever way to draw women out into the open, exposing them for the women they are, perhaps so that from now on, wherever they go, people can point at them and say, "Look! A woman!" I admit, I am curious to finally see who these "women" are, if only so that I can make of them an example for my daughters.
raebryant
Jan. 8th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
Hah. Are the women being let out all ready? Is it that time?
ericmarin
Jan. 8th, 2010 05:23 am (UTC)
Welcome! It's not all about tripping wires here; there's interesting content, as well, posted by interesting people. :-)
grahamedwards
Jan. 8th, 2010 09:09 am (UTC)
It's a treat to find you on the web, Shawna. Good luck with the blog!
Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>
( 71 comments — Leave a comment )