- Why You Aren’t an LGBTQ Ally – Author Sasha L. Miller gives the eye to bloggers and publishers who claim the mantle of LGBTQ when they really just mean m/m.
I swear, it’s not a week anymore if I’m not stumbling across some new review site or publishing company or website or blog that touts how much it supports the LGBTQ community and how they’re great allies…
… only to read further and find that by LGBTQ community, they mean the M/M community. That they’ll only review M/M books because well, they don’t have any reviewers on staff who want to read lesbian romance or romance with trans characters (and heaven forbid if you lob a curveball and throw an asexual romance or ‘worse’ at them). Or they’ll say LGBTQ, but if you look through their site, you’ll find nothing but reviews of M/M books.
- Starving Artists and Entitled Bullies: The Economics of Book Blogging – Ceilidh turns the uproar over an author’s cancelled Kickstarter on its head and tallies up the cost of blogging.
The aftermath of Stacey Jay’s cancelled Kickstarter, which we discussed here, quickly went from a relatively calm conversation to a full-on eruption full of a number of misconceptions and disappointing assumptions. For the millionth time, the ‘bully blogger’ label was thrown around, with claims that readers are somehow entitled, don’t want to pay for anything, glory in receiving free stuff and enjoy destroying the careers of hard working creative people. The floodgates opened in a way that was disappointing but not at all surprising, and to say it has made a lot of bloggers feel extremely uncomfortable is an understatement.
We’re going to do something that’s considered impolite in many circles. We’re going to talk about money, specifically the cost of being an unpaid book blogger. The economics of this issue are so often misunderstood, wilfully or otherwise, so perhaps this will enlighten some individuals.
- Not Accepted Anywhere? Authenticity and Diversity in Writing – Writer Rosie Claverton has a wonderfully honest post about identity, culture and feeling legitimate.
From #WeNeedDiverseBooks to the recent #dontselfneglect, Twitter campaigns to encourage diverse voices in writing are gloriously active right now. This is awesome! I am delighted that there is a push to recognise the value of diverse voices in fiction and the benefits this has for wider tolerance and acceptance of all folks, just being who they are.
But I struggle with this recognition in my own writing and, from browsing the #dontselfneglect hashtag, I’m not alone.
So, I’m going to tell you a little bit about me – more self-disclosure than I’m usually comfortable with – and I’m going to try to explain why participating in conversations about authenticity and diversity in writing is so difficult for me.
- Your groundbreaking is not my groundbreaking – SFF author N.K. Jemisin talks about the game Dragon Age: Inquisition and how a lack of player character customization options was a total buzzkill for her.
It’s hilarious to talk about “normal” with respect to a game full of magical pseudo-uranium, holes in the sky, and shapeshifters. But a sense of normalcy is what you’re really selling, after all, in any media product: the chance for as many people as possible to feel some sense of engagement with what you’re trying to do. In fantasy — or any fiction, really — that tends to manifest as a sense of immersion, of I can relate to and feel part of this cracktastic world, and therefore I care about what happens within it. As a society, we’ve had a lot of problems with making media relevant toeveryone and not just a small subset of people — generally straight white guys. There’s nothing wrong with straight white guys, mind. It’s just that our society has a nasty habit of treating them as normal while treating everyone else as… not.
So why did such a simple thing — just customization; just hair, just skin — kill my enthusiasm so powerfully? Because being treated as abnormal destroys the ability to immerse in a thing. Kinda fucks up all the fun, too.
- Where Are All the Disabled People in the Body Positivity Campaigns? – The part of this post where they mention how scary disabled bodies are is absolutely on the money. A good friend of mine once started crying when she saw my thin, bony shoulders because she didn’t want me to die. It’s tough to live in a body that makes people cry.
What’s most striking to me about the I Am Beautiful photograph is that, as in the Dove ad, all of the women are apparently able-bodied. They all have two arms and two legs. They are all standing, and they are all standing up straight. Where are the wheelchair users? Where are the crooked bodies? Where are the people missing limbs, the people who drool, the stroke survivors, the quadriplegics? Where are the people with severe disabilities?
The I Am Beautiful photograph comes from the Facebook page for the Positive body image campaign – All shapes and sizes are beautiful – another page on which visibly disabled bodies do not appear. Visibly disabled bodies are also absent from such pages as Real Women Come in ALL Shapes and Sizes andWomen of All Shapes and Sizes. This absence implies that real, beautiful women only come in able-bodied shapes and normatively able-bodied sizes.
- Facing the Challenge of Online Harassment – EFF published a statement on combating online harassment. Definitely worth a read.
Online harassment is a digital rights issue. At its worst, it causes real and lasting harms to its targets, a fact that must be central to any discussion of harassment. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to craft laws or policies that will address those harms without inviting government or corporate censorship and invasions of privacy—including the privacy and free speech of targets of harassment. But, as we discuss below, there are ways to craft effective responses, rooted in the core ideals upon which the Internet was built, to protect the targets of harassment and their rights.
This post explains our thinking about combating online harassment, and what we hope EFF’s role can be in that effort given the scope of our work. It isn’t our last word, nor should it be; this is not a simple issue. Instead, we want to outline some of the things that we consider when looking at the problem and sketch out some elements for effective responses to it.