babarnett: (farscape aeryn hell no)
[personal profile] babarnett

So, there's been a lot of drama going down regarding the SFWA Bulletin put out by, you guessed it, SFWA. Due to other obligations over the last few days, I haven't had time to organize my thoughts on the matter until now, and at this point, I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said more eloquently by others. If you know me well enough, then you can pretty much guess where I stand on the matter. If you don't know me so well, if at all, then let me try to put it as succinctly as I can.

When it came to the SFWA Bulletin's fetishistic cover art with the woman in the highly impractical chainmail bikini, I merely rolled my eyes and thought, "Really? Still this?" But then it got worse. I'm seriously bothered by how often women's accomplishments are conflated with their looks, especially when said conflation happens in a publication that serves as one public face of a professional organization to which I belong. And when that publication--which my dues help to fund--then allows the people responsible for such conflations to meet criticism with an ill-informed, straw man-wielding rebuttal, I go from seriously bothered to seriously aggravated.

To add to my exasperation, in between all of the above we got the Bulletin article where the improbably proportioned Barbie was extolled as a good role model for girls because "she maintained her quiet dignity the way a woman should." Look, dignity is a good thing, but I don't see any reason why women have to be quiet about maintaining it. That, and the only reason Barbie's quiet is because she's made of plastic.*

I am not going to deny people their right to spout off all manner of ridiculous crap, and they have all manner of venues in which to do so, especially on the internet. However, 1) other people have just as much right to call them out on their ridiculous crap, and 2) the publication of a professional organization should not serve as a megaphone for speech that disrespects a large portion of the organization's membership.

When my SFWA membership comes up for renewal in the fall, I will very likely renew it. The advocacy work that SFWA does on behalf of authors is the main reason I joined, and I'd hate to lose that because of the issues concerning the Bulletin. More importantly, there are people actively working to address these recent problems, so I'm hopeful that some positive change will come out of this. Still, I totally understand and respect why some other people have chosen not to renew their SFWA membership after this whole kerfluffle.

And now that I've written far more about this than I was planning to, it's time for me to call it a blogging night and go get some fiction accomplished.

*Also, anyone who thinks Barbie represents "quiet dignity" never encountered a kid who played with Barbies the way I did. My Barbie dolls were usually helping my He-Man figures fight monsters. I also had a Western Barbie whose head broke, so when you pushed the button that was supposed to make her wink, instead her head would rotate all the way around, Exorcist style. That, of course, led to me putting my Barbie dolls into many a horror movie-style scenario. Pretending your Barbie doll is possessed by an evil demon? Not so much with the quiet dignity.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-04 10:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jakobdrud.livejournal.com
I'll keep very quiet about the SFWA thing, but your story about Barbie dolls is a winner :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-04 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] babarnett.livejournal.com
The Barbie story is one of my favorite childhood stories. :)

And I understand about the SFWA comment refraining after elsewhere. I think you got a few reactions that could have been phrased in less of a leaping-down-the-throat in nature. That's the problem with heated subjects. :(

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-04 09:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jakobdrud.livejournal.com
It's always complex when politics get mixed up with union work. I'm sorry that SFWA became the battleground for what is essentially a worldwide struggle for equality. On the other hand I'm not surprised, because why should SFWA be exempt from a struggle that goes on everywhere?

As for me joining a heated debate... When the signs say 'Mount Doom', one jumps in at his own risk.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-04 04:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] musingaloud.livejournal.com
Lol, I'll never be able to think about a Barbie doll again without imagining your Exorcist-Barbie!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-04 08:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] babarnett.livejournal.com
Exorcist Barbie was hands down the Best. Barbie. Ever.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-05 12:24 am (UTC)
ext_48652: (Default)
From: [identity profile] blood-of-winter.livejournal.com
yeah there have been some really good articles and blog posts about it. Like you said, people can say what they want or whatever, but you need to take your lumps when people point out how it's hurtful and derogatory. The response from the authors in question has been jaw-dropping to say the least.

oh barbie...my friends and i used ken as a housemaid while the barbies went out on adventures. I used makeup to dye barbie's hair pink or blue and then cut it short or gave her a mohawk (b/c of course i had multiples). yeah not too much "quiet" dignity there.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-05 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] babarnett.livejournal.com
I think our Barbies totally could have hung together. :)

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