Monday, January 05, 2015

Women's Visibility in Science Fiction

Yesterday one of my sister Broad Universe members posted a link to this long Tweetversation (Twitter conversation) that had been preserved on Storify. This conversation is about bias in science fiction and fantasy toward women. The triggering incident was an observation that the lists of fantasy works most anticipated for this year are all mostly by white male authors, even though women swept the Nebulas last year. (There are two women on the list--though I haven't seen a link to this list anywhere--who have gender-neutral names.) Some of the women authors in the Tweetversation talk about times when they thought about publishing certain works under a masculine or gender-neutral name. Laura Anne Gilman brings up a good counterpoint on her own blog that it's important for women to be visible in this field, which is why she uses her own name.

One interesting point brought up in the Tweetversation is that the author's gender may be more important to reviewers and bloggers than it is to readers (though I'm sure there are people out there who only read authors from one genre. While I probably do find more female authors to my taste than male ones, as a reader, I focus on the story, not the author.) One of the great things about indie publishing is that the traditional gatekeeper can no longer exclude anyone based on gender, race, sexual orientation, or any other reason. We have ways to connect directly with our audience and don't have to worry about fitting into a narrow profile defined by someone else to reach them. Hopefully indie publishing will become more common and accepted so all authors have an equal chance of being discovered by their readers.

In the meantime, I'm Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, I write science fiction and fantasy, and I'd rather spend my time writing and editing than worrying what people think of my XX chromosomes. They work just fine, thanks. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a first draft to finish and another story to edit.

4 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And I'm a white male science fiction writer...
My reading might lean a bit more towards male authors, but with authors like M. Pax and Susan Gourley, I do read a lot of women authors. And you're right, it's the story that matters.

Sandra Almazan said...

I apologize if the post made you uncomfortable, Alex. It's just that there are still biases against women and POC, and we need to include those authors too.

Maria Zannini said...

I look forward to the day when we don't categorize authors by sex or geography, but by the quality of the work.



Sandra Almazan said...

Agreed, Maria!

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