Looks seriously awesome.
Cyborg Identities – Haraway and beyond (I proposed and will be moderating) – Donna Haraway famously argued that cyborgs transcend science fiction and enter the realm of feminist theory – that we are all cyborgs, transgressing identity boundaries and binaries and, in so doing, recreating ourselves. But many of the most powerful explorations of cyborg identities are still found in SF. What does SF tell us about ourselves as cyborgs? How can we make SF into useful social theory (and can we at all)? What are the implications for politics and power? How can we draw connections between fiction and political non-fiction? Like all cyborg transgressions, is the line between fiction and reality more porous than we often like to think?
When “Love Your Body” Isn’t Enough – “Love your body” is the hot trend in empowering catchphrases intended to connect people with their bodies and put them back in control, but what happens when it’s not enough? How does it exclude people don’t love their bodies and are struggling to figure out where they fit in? What kinds of structural inequalities are people perpetuating with an exhortation to “love your body,” and how can we change the way this phrase is used?
Roleplay and Identity – Many of us use cosplay and tabletop, live-action, and computer role-playing games (RPGs) to explore our own identities and/or that of “the Other” (for many values of “other”). How can these experiences of roleplay help us to expand our understanding of ourselves and the world? At the same time, how can we address examples of roleplay that are exploitative or simply perpetuate stereotypes? And how do we keep ourselves from falling into this?
Outer Alliance: New Writings in LGBTQ SF/F/H – Outer Alliance is an organization for writers and readers of science fiction, fantasy and horror that advocates positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters. We will be reading from a wide range of fiction that fits this description.
Not sure what I’ll be reading yet.
No preamble. Let’s do this.
- “Bigots, Bullies, and Enablers.” A Thing happened with Locus on April Fool’s Day. Jim Hines has a good summary, as well as a good argument for why it’s really not a small deal when this kind of shit happens.
The backlash against the Locus article isn’t about someone taking cheap shots at Muslims and women. It’s about yet another person taking those shots, lining up to bully those who are already a popular target for abuse. And it’s about everyone else who stands around, encouraging and enabling that bullying.
- “Barbie, Burquas, April Fool’s Jokes, Writer’s Advice: Small Failures Hurt Us In Big Ways.” Carrie Cuinn’s take and a related take on some additional ways in which the SF&F community is utterly failing, gender-wise.
You know what I have seen? Comments from people telling me that I am overreacting, humorless, a radical feminist, and that I shouldn’t choose to be offended. I got an email telling me that while the SFWA author was probably wrong to say what he did, he’s not a bad guy and didn’t mean it in a bad way.
This is the community I’m supposed to feel safe in. This is where I’m supposed to feel at home.
Tell me how I do that if nothing is going to change.
- And I just basically call the guy an asshole for about 800 words.
Making jabs at marginalized people from a position of power and privilege is not “edgy”, “dangerous”, or brave. It is the status fucking quo. You’re the Man. I know you don’t want to be, but you are. You don’t live in a world where you are likely to be emotionally and physically abused, where you are likely to be disenfranchised, where you are likely to be raped, where you are likely to be fucking killed. You unbelievable asshole.
- Roger Ebert Hails Human Existence As ‘A Triumph’.
- “Project Bendypants: Practicing Yoga While Fat.” This was heartbreaking and also really uplifting to read.
Of all the sports and athletics I have participated in as a fat person, yoga has sadly been one of the most judgmental and the least emotionally safe. This is particularly painful given the principles of compassion and reflection that yoga is built around. I’m not entirely sure what to do with this.
- Surprising no one, there is a major wage gap in the game industry and it falls along gendered lines.
- Jenny Davis offers a defense of the “red sea”.
Though a profile picture change is a small and quiet act, it was amplified through collective action and the interplay between personal and public media. I have argued before that memes are the myths of augmented society. In this way, small personal acts, connected to a larger movement, shared interpersonally and reported internationally, become part of the story that we tell ourselves, about ourselves.
- I wrote a thing on Pinterest and gender.
The experience of first beginning to use the site was bizarre. It was unlike anything else I had experienced in a social media site; it was like putting on a digital dress. I could feel my gender shifting. And it was strangely liberating, as if I was – once again – in a space that was affording me the opportunity to play with an aspect of my gender that other digital spaces had not.
- Catherynne M. Valente – “Fade to White”. Not new, per se, but I assigned this to my students this past week when we covered gender and cultural representation, and it is every bit as amazing as I remember. It’s been nominated in both the Nebula and Hugo awards for best novelette.
Finally the dress. The team at Spotless Corp. encouraged foundational garments to emphasize the bust and waist-to-hip ratio. Sylvie wedged herself into a full length merry widow with built-in padded bra and rear. It crushed her, smoothed her, flattened her. Her waist disappeared. She pulled the dress over her bound-in body. Her mother would have to button her up; twenty-seven tiny, satin colored buttons ran up her back like a new spine. Its neckline plunged; its skirt flounced, showing calf and a suggestion of knee. It was miles of icy white lace, it could hardly be anything else, but the sash gleamed red. Red, red, red. All the world is red and I am red forever, Sylvie thought. She was inside the dress, inside the other girl.
The other girl was very striking.
Sylvie was fifteen years old, and by suppertime she would be engaged.
Play us off, Glitch Mob.
Hey, you. Over there. Straight white guy living in the western developed world and making “jokes”. C’mere. We need to talk for a second. Bring your friends.
Let’s get one thing very clear from the outset: You were an asshole. That’s why what happened happened. That’s why people called you an asshole. You were being one, in a pretty epic fashion. That’s been rehashed in a lot of other places by now and I don’t see tremendously much of a point in saying that much more about it. You were an asshole. Moving on. Because I want to focus on the reaction of you – and others – to being called an asshole.
You and yours have been insisting that you’re being “edgy”, that you’re being “dangerous”, that there is something brave about daring to be offensively “funny” in the face of overwhelming politically correct repression. That what happened to you constitutes that kind of oppression, that the enemies of free speech have descended upon you but that you will NOT BE SILENCED.
It’s worth noting that at the same time you’re painting the people who pointed out that you were being an asshole as a small, shrill minority, not to be taken seriously. Consistency does not appear to be your strong point; you seem to be flailing wildly about, grasping for anything and everything that allows you to declare that you Just Don’t Care about the fact that you were publicly an asshole and that people had the audacity to tell you so. That kind of flailing makes me wonder about how you really feel. But anyway.
Got a few points for you. I’ll take them one at a time and try to go slow.