- SBHM Feature: Sasha Devlin – Author Sasha Devlin talks about growing up as a black child in a largely white community and wanting romance novels she could see herself in.
I WANTED to want to read those books. Same with the interracial books which really broke my heart. As I was often the only black kid in my classes, my crushes were my white classmates, but I was afraid to admit that. A book that portrayed that in a positive light would have meant the world to me.
Didn’t happen. And worse, I felt guilty. There were books by black authors, featuring black and interracial couples and I wasn’t reading them. Did that mean I was ashamed of being black? Did I value white authors more? (Sidenote: I’m willing to bet money that no white reader has ever questioned her racial loyalty just because she didn’t want to read a book by a white author.)
- Thoughts on Waterstone’s guide to Science fiction and fantasy – I apologize that this tumblr post is image-heavy and probably inaccessible to screen readers, but the gist of it is that someone went to the bookstore Waterstone’s and noticed that every book on the “If you like Game of Thrones” table was by a male author. They also noticed a laminated guide to SFF in the genre area, and it wasn’t much better. This is how “women don’t write epic fantasy” stereotypes happen.
So, to be clear: of the one hundred and thirteen authors listed in the genre-specific sections, there are a grand total of nine women and, as far as I can tell, zero POC. In the final two pages – the “If you like this, you’ll love-” section, things are little better: of the ten authors with suggestions after their names, two are women; but of the 101 authors recommended as comparisons, only twelve are women – and, tellingly, of those twelve, a whopping eight are listed as being similar to another female author. As far as this list is concerned, women have essentially become a speciality category, almost exclusively recommended because their work resembles that of another female author, and not because of their contributions to various other genres. As for POC authors, as far I can tell, there’s not a single one on any of the lists.
- John Green Privilege – John Green is no stranger to Twitter controversies, and he was at it again Wednesday night, when he helpfully decided what sexism and misogyny was and defined it as “criticizing Twilight.” Women argued the point with him for hours, but he stood firm… until Ron Hogan said something to him, and he acknowledged that he might be wrong. Blogger Ceilidh goes into the problem that is John Green.
John Green will never experience sexism. He will never have to scream and shout to have his opinion even acknowledged because of the platform he has and the fact that he’s a straight cis white man. He gets to be the saviour of YA while women who wrote stories like his for many years before him are long forgotten or left in the shadows. The sad thing is that his opinions on this issue will be held up as a wonderful example because we’ve lowered the bar for success so much to the point where a man acknowledging that women are people makes him worthy of a gold star. He is awarded for acknowledging issues that female writers have been discussing for generations, including in YA. John Green writes tales of universal appeal where women talking the same topics write romance.
This is an issue. This is privilege.
- Verdigris Blog: Pulp Fiction – If you’ve ever wondered what happened to pulped mass-market paperbacks, this post reports that the UK uses pulped Mills & Boon novels in their road tarmac.
We recently came across an environmental story that is just too good to be true, and yet it is true. It seems that in every mile of the M6 Toll motorway in the UK there are 92,000 pulped copies of Mills & Boon romantic novels. A novel approach to reuse indeed.
Mills & Boon has built its reputation on slushy tales of romance, however millions of unsold copies of the publisher’s books get returned every year. The unwanted copies are sold on to recycling companies, where they are pulped for subsequent use. Tarmac Central, the company that built the road, used the pulp to improve the road’s quality.
- I Write Letters – Melissa McEwan writes an open letter to Jimmy Fallon to urge him to support viewers who have experienced rape or abuse and not have people like Mike Tyson and Charlie Sheen on his show in the future.
You also talked about how it’s your job to entertain people, to make them laugh. I will never understand why someone wants to be the guy who invokes rape in jokes, or overlooks a history of violence against women, in the guise of humor or entertainment.
Why do you want to be a guy who obliges a survivor, who tunes into your show for a laugh after a hard day, to ignore the specter of violent men who have repeatedly hurt women? Why do you want to be a guy who gives those men no professional consequences, who thus communicates to them that what they did doesn’t matter?
If you really want to be a nice guy, Jimmy Fallon, then there can be no place for abusers on your show.
- Media is ‘failing women’ — sports journalism particularly so – One of my favorite sports journalists right now is Katie Baker, who covers hockey for Grantland. I wonder how many other great women writers are out there going unread because sports newsrooms continue to be a boys’ club.
An Associated Press Sports Editors-commissioned report by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport found that there was an increase in women of color sports journalists, but it still wasn’t enough to merit more than an F grade for gender representation in columnists and editors. And the majority of female columnists and editors worked for ESPN, which the report notes has made an effort to diversify its newsroom. Without ESPN, things would be far worse. As it is, 90 percent of sports editors are white and 90 percent are male.
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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.