Links: Tuesday, March 11th

March 11, 2014 Links 2

Book cover for Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey . A woman in tight-fitting pants and shirt stands silhouetted in blue-black shadow with a large cape fluttering out to her side.F/F Books with WOC Characters/Protagonists

  • Abundant Reading – Liz’s post on book buying, the TBR pile and long books really resonated with me. I’m guilty of pretty much everything she mentions.

    Most of my reader friends know that the effect of too many books TBR can be the feeling that we have “nothing to read.” How do we choose one among so many? Sometimes it’s easier just to do something else. Confronted with the excess of my TBR, I often have a feeling not of abundance, but of scarcity: I don’t have enough time for all these books.

    A really long book can create that same feeling of scarcity: This will take me weeks to read! Think of all the other books I won’t be able to read in that time! I no longer have the attention span for books that long.

  • The Sheikh’s Prize Is Usually White – I found this essay on sheikh romances interesting, if not groundbreaking. The sub-genre’s always made me uncomfortable, so I’m glad to see the issues of fetishization, exotification and erasure discussed. What I’d love to see, though, is an essay like this written by an Arab or Muslim woman.

    The sheikh romances force me to ask the same uncomfortable question: What has happened to all the Arab women? Amira Jarmakani, the literary critic, notes that the sheikh romances “articulate freedom” for the white heroines through “mutually reinforcing frameworks of neoliberalism and global feminism.” She writes, “The iteration of global feminism proffered by the novels defines the white heroine’s freedom in opposition to her Arab female counterpart.” So, if there is any feminist resistance in the romance novels, they accomplish empowerment of white women by sacrificing Arab women. The sheikh romances often cast Arab women as unworthy rivals of the white heroine because Arab women are depicted as less liberated. Although some of the sheikh romances make attempts to deconstruct the stereotype of the meek Arab woman, this does not result in a true Arab rival for the heroine. It is the heroine’s whiteness, her exoticness in imagined Arabian society, that cements her place in the sheikh’s heart (and perhaps my place in the sheeisha café). The novels mark the heroine as so different from the other women around her that she doesn’t have to worry, even if she’s an ordinary white woman.

  • Courtney Milan’s Tumblr – You may have heard about the Anne Rice backed petition to get Amazon to make reviewers use their real names as a way of combating “bullying” reviews. Most authors realize reviews don’t constitute bullying and that this petition is horseshit, but I really appreciate those authors who come out and say it. Courtney Milan is good people.

    But it defies belief to imagine that reviewers are jerks and authors are not, and that this is so true that reviewers need to be made vulnerable in a way that authors are not. Authors tend to have larger platforms than reviewers, and their capacity to do harm is larger. And even if the author herself won’t take action to harm someone engaged in criticism, there’s always the possibility that one of her fans might. It makes no sense to give reviewers less protection than authors.

  • Um. – I saw this “inspirational” post about an overweight runner on my own Facebook wall and literally flinched at the patronizing, fat shaming frame. Melissa McEwan gives it the shredding it deserves.

    Only in a world where rank fat hatred is routinely masked as compassion could this shit be described as “seriously inspirational,” and could its author claim without being laughed off the planet that there is “no condescension” in hir gaze.

    A gaze that looks at a fat person and presumes to know what made that person fat; what motivates that fat person has for exercising; what that fat person would do if only “there were bleachers on both sides”; what that fat person must be thinking and feeling; a gaze that includes seeing a body with an “ever-shrinking mass” of fat “begging to be shaken off.” The gaze of a person who believes that a fat person will definitely give the tiniest infinitesimal shit that zie thinks “you fucking rock.”

  • Fan Convention Cosplay Harassment Fan Expo Canada – This is just an amazing object lesson in What Not To Do when running a con. Marketing the con as an opportunity to cuddle cosplayers is bad enough. There’s no need to tone police the critics in passive-aggressive press releases as well.

    Fan Expo Canada is presenting Toronto Comicon this weekend, March 7-9. Celebrity guests in attendance this year include Eliza Dushku, Tatiana Maslany, Sean Astin, and more. But if you’re a cosplayer headed to the show, you might need to keep an especially close eye on your fellow attendees. Why? Because an email blast sent out by the convention proposed physical contact with cosplayers as a way to sell tickets.

    The situation was brought to our attention four days ago by cosplayer Dee Pirko. She, and countless others on their list, received an email advertising Toronto Comicon. It promoted some of the celebrity guests, the convention hotel, and other details. It also let people know tickets were still on sale by writing “escape the deep freeze this weekend – cuddle a cosplayer.”

  • Meet America’s Most Hated Doctors – A great article about the men and women who do the thankless job of providing abortion care, often at great personal risk.

    Exactly 21 years ago, Dr. David Gunn was shot three times in the back outside of his abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida. According to media reports, a 31-year-old abortion protestor yelled “Don’t kill any more babies!” before opening fire at point-blank range. Gunn had been operating a clinic in Pensacola for just over a month before he was killed; it bore no signs advertising what type of services it provided.

    Gunn was the first doctor to become a casualty of the movement that calls itself pro-life. Since then, there have been seven more. In order to commemorate Gunn’s memory, reproductive rights advocates now mark the date of his death, March 10, as the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. Activist groups encourage people to send thank you cards to the people who risk their lives to do this work, an effort that abortion opponents typically mock.

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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.

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2 Responses to “Links: Tuesday, March 11th”

  1. nu

    Re: sheikh novels, that’s one of the better articles I’ve seen, except that she says the harem fantasy’s appropriated. It’s not. While harems existed, fetishizing them has always been a Western fantasy. I think that without the stereotyping domination (and billionaire) fantasy readers aren’t interested in Arab peoples. Then they’re just POC (that’s another discussion b/c modern Arabs are not one race). That’s why half the sheikhs in sheikh novels are white! Lol.

  2. jmc

    Thanks for the link to the rebuttal to the “inspirational” post. I saw the first floating around tumblr a while back and it made me want to reach through the internet and smack the writer – the condescension coated in “encouragement”. I’m one of the fat ppl at the gym. I’ve lost 100+ ponds over the last couple of years, and other gym members who have watched and approached me with backhanded encouragement are infuriating. I don’t know them; seeing me at the gym doesn’t mean they know me or that I’m interested in hearing them say I’m a role model or some other BS.