Interrupting our regularly scheduled Japan programming for the roughly biannual geek-centric gender reader. In this reader: women DO read comics; arresting fanfic writers in China; open-source feminism, and more.
We’re in Your Fandom–and Always Have Been
Jill Pantozzi. “Young Women are the Fastest Growing Demographic According to New Comics Retailer Survey.” The Mary Sue. 21 April 2014.
This is more of a relevant quote from Publishers Weekly than a full article, but comics industry, you’ve always had female fans. Did you forget?
Chip Mosher, Comixology’s v-p, communications and marketing, confirmed that 20% of its new customers in the third quarter of 2013 were females ages 17–26.
Sarah Lautman. “How Are Comics Queer?” Bitch Media 18 April 2014.
MOCCA panels and the queer comics scene, told in comic format.
“In a queer context, authorship means that writing about the environment is still writing about the self.”
Casey Gilley. “ECCC: Understanding Harassment in Geek Culture.” Comic Book Resources. 9 April 2014.
A write-up of panels about harassment at the 2014 Emerald City Comicon.
Signs proclaiming, “Costumes Are Not Consent” were visible all over the convention center as tacit reminders for guests to be respectful of one another. The signs included informational resources for anyone being harassed, stating explicitly where to go and who could help. While though this year’s ECCC had an incredibly positive feeling, there remain opportunities to improve spaces within geek culture to be inclusive, safe places for everyone — a process that begins by identifying the problems.
Writers Hold Up Half the Sky
Jill Pantozzi. “Several Women Arrested in China for Writing Fanfic.” The Mary Sue. 21 April 2014.
Aja Romano. “For Young Women in China, Slash Fiction is a Dangerous Hobby.” The Daily Dot. 18 April 2014.
The police officers in the report expressed disgust at the activity of writing fanfiction; one stated that he believed writing and reading slash “promotes homosexuality,” a comment that angered Chinese netizens. Offbeat China noted that many of China’s slash fangirls have defiantly labeled themselves “rotten women (腐女)” in order to highlight the banality of what they do. On Weibo, 咖啡呆丶LM angrily responded:
This is not cleaning the cyberspace. This is pure discrimination. I may never see a rainbow flag fly above China in my life time.
I’ve been having trouble writing even a few lines about this patriarchal nonsense (the arrests, not the articles) because it makes me so angry. Here’s an article that sums up some of the importance of fanworks:
Jarrah Hodge. “Revenge of the Feminerd: Fanfic is Underrated.” Bitch Magazine. 25 May 2011.
To weigh in on this crackdown in China, on a personal note: I don’t often see people like me in mainstream media. When I do, they have to be “corrected” (choose a more mainstream gender expression or sexuality) or aren’t allowed to express who they are (and not because the character is scared) or they die tragically. (I do love a tragedy, but it would be nice if more lived to balance things out. And I can’t say who because spoilers.) People like me exist and live to fight another day in fanfic because people who are like me write fanfic. However, people who aren’t straight men don’t get to have sexualities, apparently, so apparently we’ve all hopped back a time machine to the time of anti-obscenity/anti-sodomy laws which smacks of British imperialism in China and (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻
David Futrelle. “Hugo-nominated Vox Day: Even worse than you think.” We Hunted the Mammoth [formerly Man Boobz]. 24 April 2014.
Moving along from fanfic to SFF writing: Warning: Vox Day’s comments, quoted later in the article, are not mind safe. Let’s hope for a “no award” vote.
So our old friend Vox Day – the proudly bigoted science fiction/fantasy writer and self-professed expert on all things “Alpha” – is in the news again. This time, it’s not for declaring most date rape imaginary or writing a racist diatribe against a fellow author [NK Jemisin]. Nope! It’s because another of his literary efforts, a novelette entitled Opera Vita Aeterna, just got nominated for a Hugo award.
Meanwhile, N.K. Jemisin is amazing, and you can check out some of her work at Podcastle.
Sarah Mirk. “Popaganda Episode: Open Source Feminism.” Bitch Media. 20 Mar. 2014.
Feminism in tech, with conversations centered around open source.
The idea that technology is not neutral is a pretty heavy thought. Though the whole point of open-source technology is that it’s made stronger and better through collaboration, actually learning to use the technology is not an equal playing field.
Annalee. “A Week In The Life.” Geek Feminism. 25 April 2014.
A blow-by-blow account of several concurrent incidents of misogyny in the STEM side of geekdom from last week. The author’s content warning: intimate partner violence, workplace harassment, verbal abuse, sexism.
Folks who hang out around these parts are probably familiar with our Timeline Of Incidents, which documents sexist behavior in tech and other geek fields. While it’s a great resource, scrolling down through that hall of shame is a poor approximation for what it’s like being a woman having to deal with these incidents in real time.
It can be painful. Stressful. Scary. Difficult. Mostly, for me, it’s exhausting. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. I hang out with a lot of women in tech, and “this week is fired” has been a common refrain, these last few days.
Sailor Moon is coming back July 5, 2014! The show will air on NicoNico Douga online with English subtitles. Check out the character designs on the official Sailor Moon site and these posts from The Mary Sue and Pixel Scribbles!