Recently, a lot of the buzz among SFF-related blogs and news sites was about a post by writer Christopher Priest where he criticised the current shortlist for the Clarke Awards.

Too much has been said about it already to bother weighing in myself, but the whole episode prompted Catherynne Valente to think about how very different reactions would have been if a woman had written the same things. In her post Let Me Tell You About the Birds and the Bees: Gender and the Fallout Over Christopher Priest, she makes some excellent points on the big disparity that still exists in the way people react to men and women online.

Yes, I know it’s the net and comments are a festering pile of venom, but you do have to notice that the venom cranks up to eleven when a woman posts. You can tell me well, Requires is so mean! Sady doesn’t say things super nicely! And I will point to all the men who say not nice things, some of whom even call out properties for sexism, and are applauded for their badassery and edginess, for their disinclination to suffer fools, and the total lack of screeching hate speech in their comments.

The fact is, to be a woman online is to eventually be threatened with rape and death. On a long enough timeline, the chances of this not occurring drop to zero.

It’s worth reading; this is a real problem that you see everywhere online.


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