Misogyny is a beast. And not a sexy beast. Nope, it’s a slobbering, oozing, sprawling beast. Like the Thing. It just oozes all over the place these days.
It raises its ugly head in the book community, where you’d think it wouldn’t matter. Yet I still hear people say: “I don’t read books by female authors because I know what I’m going to get from a male writer, but I don’t know what I’m going to get from a female writer.” Since it’s obvious you’re going to get a STORY from either gender, and it’s obvious what KIND of story from the back cover of the book… I have to assume they mean something else.
Something like… “I don’t know if I’m going to get a viewpoint that threatens my ability to ignore how the world is unfair to people who are not like me.”
Or… “I don’t know if I’m going to be confronted with a story moment that makes me feel deeply uncomfortable, ashamed of myself, challenged, or vulnerable.”
Since these are two of the greatest gifts that reading any type of literature, including beach trash novels, can offer a person, I am saddened by the idea that a lot of people simply won’t read my work when they discover I’m female.
Aren’t I worth more than that? Of course I am. I know I am. What saddens me most is that we actually have to have an argument – among adults – about this topic.
The world is filled with those who don’t believe in respecting the needs, viewpoints, and basic right to life of other human beings. It’s so poisonous an attitude, I’m surprised the human race can survive it for more than a few minutes. A lot of this attitude gets pointed toward women, and not just in the book world. I’m on CNN right now, looking at articles like the ones listed below, all of which were posted online today:
- A Pakistani woman was stoned to death for refusing to enter into an arranged marriage with a man who murdered his first wife so he could marry her instead.
- Two girls were gang raped and then hanged in India.
- Female tennis player Taylor Townsend was once told by the USTA that she was too fat to play professional tennis.
- A porn website tried to recruit underaged girls at a local festival, telling them they were “hot.”
Then there’s this NPR article about a female opera singer who was roundly criticized by older male music critics for being overweight. You’ll see from the article that (a) she isn’t particularly overweight, and (b) the critics whose job it is to evaluate music instead chose to evaluate the singer’s looks. I won’t even go into a discussion here of how that weight gives opera singers the power to sing like they do, which is why you have never seen a beanpole opera singer of either gender in your life.
Is it any wonder that a lot of women are defensive about how they’re treated?
And lest you think this post is only about women, let me say that life sucks, too, for the men who try to be reasonable and respectful of females. If you’re a guy and you’re the least bit thoughtful, some people label that as weak or girly or even “gay.” That’s unfair.
A male Twitter friend recently quoted Vox Day – a much ballyhooed writer whose misogynistic, bigoted rants are now legendary in the SFF world. This friend of mine was simply trying to start a discussion, kind of a “would you believe Vox Day is now saying this? Seriously?” The poor guy’s Twitter feed blew up with people ranting as if he were Vox Day. Which this guy is not in the least.
Clearly, you definitely can’t have a discussion about this stuff on Twitter. But where can you have it? If you report it on the news, people are lambasting your station for unfairness. If you say something on Facebook, people rant at you and hijack the conversation in crazy directions. If you comment in a discussion board, haters post your address and invite others to show up at your home to harass you.
What about this is healthy, normal, fair, safe, kind, useful, effective?
Which is why I hate, sometimes, to even talk about these issues. It seems that we’re living in an age where opinion is king. And if your opinion isn’t the same as someone else’s, watch out for the bloody military coup, because it’s only a matter of time before it happens. Coups never solve the problem, though, do they? They just satisfy a small group of people until the next coup and the next and the next.
I won’t sign up for that. But if you want to do something to genuinely work toward change that respects other people who are different than you, I’m in. Until then, I’d like it if we could all agree to arm ourselves with knives, forks, brooms, and what have you, and gather together to kill the beast.
Let’s not let it live in our neck of the woods.