Thursday Linkdump

Another week of interesting links I’ve pulled from Twitter and elsewhere. Turns out I read a hell of a lot of things about feminism, sexism, and racism.

1. SFWA Again
I’m a little surprised looking back to find that I never mentioned another of the controversies that happened around the SFF genre fandom a little while back. I may have intended to include it in one of my older posts but decided it didn’t quite fit. The summary is this: author N K Jemisin made an excellent speech at Continuum about reconciliation in the genre, and a certain somewhat-notorious individual responded with some incredibly racist comments about Jemisin, which were promoted in an automated SFWA twitter feed.

Now, the individual in question has been expelled from SFWA, but it’s clear progress still needs to be made within this fandom. Jemisin spoke out again in this blog post about the changing culture and how the SFWA will have to either respond or die.

2. Strong Female Characters (Again)
Following up from the “I Hate Strong Female Characters” article in last week’s links, Seanan McGuire talks about the ways female characters are judged differently from male characters.

3. Angry Black Women
And there are similar cases of double standards going on with real people as well – take a look at this article Am I A Bully? One Angry Black Woman’s Reflection, which discusses the way a black woman responding strongly to discrimination can be dismissed by labelling her with the “angry black woman” trope, and how women and people of colour taking an assertive stance are called out as bullying.

4. Exotification
Discrimination can also disguise itself as a positive, too, as you can see in these two accounts of exotification of asian and black women. Sich fetishisation of race is most often dehumanising by associating race with stereotypical traits.

5. You May Benefit from Discrimination Even if You’re Not Discriminating Yourself
Of course all men don’t hate women, writes Laurie Penny, and Even if you’re not racist, you are still a product of a society that is, Mary Robinette Kowal reminds us. These two links tells us very similar things: That racism and sexism is a societal issue, not just a personal one, and we all may benefit and participate even if we don’t think of ourselves as a racist or sexist.

6. “Reverse” Racism
Ha. No. Just, no. At this link, Jamie Utt responds to the increasing number of claims from white and/or straight and/or male persons that they are now being discriminated against by increasing equality, bringing it down to a problem of language where people lose perspective on levels of discrimination.

6. Slut-shaming
In The Truth About Being a Slutty Slut, Stefanie Williams talks about the way our culture treats women who are open about enjoying their sex lives.

7. The Internet is Changing Everything
In this excellent piece in Medium, Quinn Norton begins by talking about whistleblower Chelsea (formerly known as Bradley) Manning then moves into a discussion of the increasing conflict between the mechanisms of the traditional state, and the networked communities of internet culture. Very much worth a read.

8. The Mako Mori Test
In the wake of Pacific Rim’s success, fans suggest a new test to stand alongside the Bechdel Test: the Mako Mori test, which asks whether a film grants a full narrative arc to at least one female character. It’s easy to see why: Pacific Rim had a very strong female character in Mako Mori, but nevertheless would fail the Bechdel Test on female-to-female interactions.

As is often pointed out, the Bechdel Test does not show whether a film is sexist or feminist, but simply indicates a wider trend in our culture; this new test arguably asks for more from those few female characters that do appear, but one has to hope that it doesn’t lead to studios thinking they need always only have one well-written female character in a film to pass muster with the fans.

9. Collateral Damage in Film
On an entirely different subject, this is an issue which I myself have noticed and commented on recently. This post on Tor.com discusses the massive (and mostly unaddressed within the films) collateral damage in Star Trek Into Darkness and Man of Steel, and how this reflects the changing way war is being waged.

10. Writing May Be Good For You
And finally, given my recent post on my anxiety issues, I have to mention this article on the BBC about writing for health and happiness. It’s an interesting discussion of studies that have looked into whether writing about your problems in a public format like this can help you to be healthier and happier. I certainly think it can help.

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