Links: Wednesday, July 16th

July 16, 2014 Links 3

A page from a comic book where a young Asian man argues with his mother about the green and gold superhero costume she made for him.On Illustrating Asian Characters

  • Why Race Matters When We Write – Nancy Arroyo Ruffin is at For Harriet talking about how an author’s race is anything but irrelevant when she sits down to tell a story.

    Not talking about race and dismissing the topic altogether is the same as saying that cultural perspective as it relates to creative writing is irrelevant. When in fact, more often than not, writers pull from the human experience. Some of the best stories written are those that reflect emotional truths; stories that are representative of our realities either directly or indirectly. To not talk about how our cultural experiences affect our writing would be a disservice to literary integrity. Even in the genres of fiction or speculative fiction therein exists some universal human themes. Take Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis for example, on the surface the story is about a salesman who wakes up one morning and realizes that he has transformed into a huge insect, but in fact the story is full of metaphors and symbolism about the human experience.

  • Blogger Email Addresses Are Being Sold Without Our Consent – I get enough spam through our contact form, if I’d also made our email available and it was getting sold like this? I’d wave the white flag and give up.

    I clicked the link, and ended up on a website consisting of password-protected pages, but I didn’t need to look at them; I’d seen the homepage and a preview of some of the password-protected pages, and that was enough.

    The website in question is unprofessional. There are spelling and grammar mistakes everywhere, not to mention the design makes me want to stab my own eyes out. What else? It guarantees that authors paying for the ‘service’ will sell more than 1,000 books a month.

    I was already rolling my eyes, but then I scrolled down… and saw that the owner of the website was selling a list of 1,200 email addresses. Email addresses of book bloggers, to be exact. And did we consent to this? Were any of us even asked? I don’t think so. I certainly wasn’t, but maybe others were. Yet there’s a list of all of our email addresses – no blog link, blog name or genre preferences, might I add, just our full names and addresses – and the list is being sold to each author for $40.

  • I’m sorry for coining the phrase “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” – I don’t understand this post, honestly. It reads to me like he’s seeing works he likes and doesn’t see as sexist described as featuring a MPDG and that means the term is bad.

    At the film site the Dissolve, where I am a staff writer, my editor has gently discouraged me from using the phrase “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” in my writing, less because using a phrase I coined reeks of self-congratulation, but because in 2014 calling a character a Manic Pixie Dream Girl is nearly as much of a cliché as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope.

    And I don’t need much discouraging, even when writing about a fairly clear-cut instance of a Manic Pixie, like Charlize Theron’s impossibly perfect, sexy, supportive gun-slinger in “A Million Ways to Die in the West.” As is often the case in conversations about gender, or race, or class, or sexuality, things get cloudy and murky really quickly. I coined the phrase to call out cultural sexism and to make it harder for male writers to posit reductive, condescending male fantasies of ideal women as realistic characters. But I looked on queasily as the phrase was increasingly accused of being sexist itself.

  • On Public Speaking While Fat – Kameron Hurley has a great post about finding the courage to attend cons and speak in public and be a fat woman at the same time.

    I have done a lot of broken things trying to get back to that 220, including calorie counting, which ended disastrously. I lost 25lbs, sure, but the minute I stopped, I gained it all back plus 30 lbs, which is what’s put me over the edge with those airplane seats; my time at the treadmill desk and indoor bike desk is all about fighting to keep me under the weight at which I can no longer fly. I knew better than to calorie count like that, but was feeling the societal pressure to punch back down a size. That was a mistake.

    When people come to me about fears of public speaking while fat, about heckling, about online harassment, I feel it necessary to remind people that I got the same amount of harassment for being “fat” at 220 as I do at being “fat” at 290. As a woman, you are always going to be fat. People are always going to trot that one out to try and insult you, like taking up more space in the world, as a woman, is the absolute worst thing you can do.

  • Marketing, Social Media, Books and Me – Liz’s post about the ways books are marketed on social media takes the words right out of my mouth. (Only, not really, since she’s much better with words than I am.)

    Here is what I think is missing in talk about social media and discovery. Knowing a book exists is a very small part of discovery. I mean, obviously it matters as a first step. But I will not click through to find out more based on a “TITLE is out today! [buy links]” tweet. Or a “The fab AUTHOR’S latest is out today! Buy it!” tweet. I see tons of these, despite pruning my feed. I don’t have time to click them all, even if I were minded to. (I do not get why readers do these tweets. Did you write a review that tells me why it’s great? Tweet that. Otherwise, your opinion has no value to me). I have to discover something about the book to make me click through and see if I want to buy it.

  • Boston radio bros have unsurprisingly terrible opinions on Erin Andrews – While I’m glad to see Boston sports radio’s Dennis & Callahan attract national attention for being terrible, I’m also frustrated that insulting a blond white woman, and not over a decade of naked racism, is what finally does it.

    It’s no surprise to me that Erin Andrews’ involvement in the Adam Wainwright/Derek Jeter controversy, and her interview with the Cardinals pitcher, has drawn the ire. Of course, the reasoned take on this is that Andrews — while obviously thrown in another terrible situation — should’ve challenged Wainwright on his backtracking. But then again, it his the MLB All-Star Game so who really cares? Andrews could’ve done better, but it’s not really a black mark on her career.

    That was not the take the bros of the Dennis and Callahan Show on WEEI and NESN gave this story. In their minds, Erin Andrews is “a gutless bitch” for not asking The Serious Questions to Adam Wainwright if his joke about pitching during a fake game was a lie or night. For the crime of not continuing to pursue this asinine story, Erin Andrews is “a gutless bitch” according to the show, particularly co-host Kirk Minihane.

  • When Leaning In Lands You In Jail: On the Criminalization of Being a Poor, Working Mother – This country, you guys.

    The truth is that the driving force behind these arrests and others like them goes beyond a concern for the safety of children (because seriously, if a child’s welfare is the main concern, then maybe don’t arrest that child’s mother and force the child into foster care?) and actually has more to do with the contempt that our society shows its most struggling members, as well as exposing the lack of choices that poor mothers—usually single—face every day. These are women who have been told time and time again that their difficult situations are nobody’s fault but their own and that all they need to do to succeed is find work and be diligent—lean in—and they will be ok. But the truth is that it’s impossible to lean in if you don’t know that there isn’t some protection guaranteed lest you fall flat on your face. For so many women around the country, there are no easy choices—sometimes there aren’t even choices at all—so they take their kids with them to work and hope that they sit quietly, or they leave them in the car for 20 minutes in hopes that they will get a job that can better all their lives.

  • In Touch: Blindness and bereavement – An interesting post from a blind man who recently lost his mother on how blindness colored his experience.

    Sighted people are able to look at old photos and letters to help the grieving process. My photography skills leave a bit to be desired, and Mum could see so didn’t write to me in Braille.

    I have ended up with: some old crockery, a couple of sound recordings and lots of memories. It doesn’t feel enough. Can my sighted friends and colleagues tell from my face when I am thinking of Mum, I wonder?

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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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3 Responses to “Links: Wednesday, July 16th”

  1. Meoskop

    I really like Liew’s art style. Much of what I objected to in The Shadow Hero was based on the age target. I have a complicated response to the book, but the art was frequently masterful.

  2. cleo

    Yeah, I didn’t get the manic pixie dream girl article either. If there was a coherent point, I missed it.

  3. Diana

    Interesting link about the “Leaning In” and poverty. I’m a social worker and I work with tons of single moms living below the poverty line. It’s…grim, definitely. Most of the choices these women face are between bad and worse, to put it gently. It is a cold and uncaring world out there when you have no money, especially with supporting children.

    If only government could fund efficient social programs in order to support these moms and children; solutions have been proposed in the past, but not put into place as usually being “too costly”… While we build more prisons. And there is definitely a connection between poverty, abuse/neglect as children and future criminality, but very few choose to see it. We still have the “pull yourselves up by the bootstraps” ideals, but have yet to acknowledge that the inequality gap is widening, and that it is no longer possible to do so unless you were born in upper middle classes.

    I’m afraid these moms are kind of the canaries in the mine shaft, but something can only be done if we can create efficient social support and programs, which could yield tremendous benefits for our society. Because what we have now is broken, horribly broken, and everyone seems to be ignoring it.