Links: Monday, August 18th

August 18, 2014 Links 9

The equipment a British soldier would have carried at Waterloo laid out on a blanket.

1815 private soldier, Battle of Waterloo

Military kit through the ages: from the Battle of Hastings to Helmand

  • On the Presumed Heterosexual Cisgender Audience and Writing LGBT Romance – Author E.E. Ottoman wrote a lengthy post about cisgender, heterosexual readers and writers and how they can’t be who dictates the tone of LGBT romance.

    For instance a lot of m/m romance publishers assume their readers and authors will mostly be cisgender heterosexual women with some gay cisgender men thrown in and the language they use reflects this. A lot of presses that started out as het romance publisher and have since branched into GLBT romance also use language that presumes cisgender heterosexuality. As does some presses that started out as m/m romance presses and became GLBT romance presses. Review blogs that started out or focus on m/m romance also often uses language rooted in this assumption. As does a lot of general romance, m/m romance or LGBT romance blogs.

    Language is important. Inclusive language is something I look for when trying to tell if a publisher, blog or community will be welcoming and safe for me as a queer author and queer person. It doesn’t really matter how many rainbows you plaster onto your website, if you participate in homophobia awareness events, or post lots of pictures of gay men kissing. If the language used is homophobic, transphobic or reads like this is a cishet only clubhouse it’s going to give me pause. Or it may make me back off and not want to be part of that space all together.

  • Romantic serials – Ros Clarke talks about serials and why she thinks they don’t combine well with genre romance.

    What happens when you stop writing romances and start writing serials is that the promise implicit in the ending is broken. I can’t leave the couple at the end of the book (even if it appears to be a happy ending) secure within those pages, because I know that more is coming. Whatever the ending is, it’s only going to be provisional. For me, that means it is unsatisfying. The book doesn’t give me the same reading experience as a romance novel, even if in every other respect it looks like it fits the definition of a romance novel.

    The other thing that happens when you stop writing romances and start writing serials, I think, is that the books inevitably take on a soap opera kind of character. Because there is no final resolution in most of the books, there’s always a forward drive. One storyline may appear to be resolved but another one will be left hanging. Or we’ll know that whatever resolution there appears to be, something will happen to threaten it in the future. So there’s never the same satisfaction in the resolutions, or the same fear in the black moments. Plots cycle round, dragging readers with them in a tumble dryer of emotional manipulation.

  • ABD Company – A post about ABDs that makes me feel much better about dropping out of grad school. I wasn’t built for academia at all.

    BD stands for “all but dissertation,” a description of a student who has finished coursework and passed comprehensive exams, but has yet to complete and defend the doctoral thesis. Today, the Ph.D. Completion Project estimates that the ten-year completion rate (that is, someone’s status a decade after they begin) is 55–64 percent in STEM, 56 percent in the social sciences, and 49 percent in the humanities. Not all Ph.D. dropouts advance to the dissertation stage before they leave—but since the project’s charts start leveling out around Year 8 (the dissertation begins in Year 3 or 4), it’s safe to assume a hell of a lot do.

    Aside from the obvious professional consequences (it’s hard enough get a job with a doctorate!), there are also psychological ramifications to leaving grad school without finishing.

  • Confessions of a Frustrated Pinterest Science Girl Mom – Pinterest’s culture of competitive motherhood steeped in traditional values rubs me the wrong way. This post hits on the sort of thing that makes me use the site as a picture library but not as a social media site.

    “Loooove this room for a boy :)”

    There is actually nothing about this image that says “boy” over “girl” to me. Sally has loved outer space since her trips to the planetarium with us when she was a baby (no really: her eyes were always wide open, staring, taking it all in). Outer space isn’t gendered, believe it or not!

    “Geek chic, science boys room decor mood board.”

    Really? Since when are tinker toys, dinosaurs, the periodic table, and a map of the world “boy” things rather than “girls” things? Sally loves manipulatives, has a whole shelf of dinosaur models, knows what the periodic table is, and loves finding places on our globe. And she’s a girl.

  • The Power Of The Peer Group In Preventing Campus Rape – This post about diverting boys from perpetrating sexual assault is pretty good, but the last paragraph is a doozy. “Only one in ten men are rapists you say? Oh, well, that’s not so bad.”

    There are only a few dozen high schools around the country that offer the MVP program. It’s been used in high schools around Sioux City, Iowa, for over a decade now. Surveys of participating students suggest their attitudes about sexual assault, and intervening in dangerous situations, shift after they go through the program, but researchers have yet to evaluate how effective it is in reducing incidents of sexual violence.

    John Foubert, the psychologist in Oklahoma, says it’s important to remember that 90 percent of men have never committed a rape. The key is opening their eyes to what’s going on with the other 10 percent, so they can see it and intervene.

  • “The Assumption Is That I’m a Prop”: On Being a Woman of Color in the Indie Music Scene – Musicians talk about the casual sexism and racism they experience as women of color in an indie scene dominate by white people.

    For Brooklyn based singer, songwriter, and rock visionary Tamar-kali’s experience as a WOC musician in the indie scene struck a chord with my experiences as a fan. “[The] overall understanding [of] the aesthetic that comes to mind when one hears ‘indie rock’ is a dominating force in the industry,” she explains. “Therefore, voices or bodies that do not fit that mold are interpreted as novel or less authentic. This paradigm leaves so much to be desired and so many stones unturned. It’s either the usual suspects or the occasional token.” On-stage or off, tokenism alongside gender-based discrimination, especially within the space of the concert venue, can be problematic. “It is a function of living in American society,” Tamar-kali explains. “Sexism in general is the primary nuisance as a female musician. Gender pretty much trumps all on the everyday working level. That is the issue most prevalent in my experience. No matter how many shows I do, I [am] almost never… approached by front of house sound staff when a question concerning my set up needs to be asked. Even after introducing myself formally. The assumption is that I am a prop, barely even a front person and certainly not the captain of the ship.”

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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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9 Responses to “Links: Monday, August 18th”

  1. Ros

    Dissertations are HARD. I still don’t really believe I finished mine. It’s nine months since I defended and I’m only just starting to recover from the process. I recommend for anyone who is struggling at all with theirs. Just knowing there are other people going through it helps, but there’s also a lot of great advice and support there. I can’t believe some advisers refuse to write recommendation letters for ABDs. That’s just plain mean.

    And thanks for the link!

  2. Fangs 4 the Fantasy (@Fangs4Fantasy)

    Ironic really, since the last E.E. Ottoman post you linked to on m/m was so full of complete ignorance about gay men and a whole lot of offensive assumptions that I definitely cringed away and made me not want to be part of their space all together (I was actually looking at an ARC of their books and considering a request when I saw it, so it was a lucky save).

    I also think if you’re going to write a post about not alienating LGBTQ readers, you shouldn’t use a reclaimed slur to refer to the whole community, that’s inherently exclusionary.

    This post does raise an important point about m/m romance in particular and, through it, non-cishet romance in general all being about using LGBTQ people as OBJECTS rather than true subjects, audiences and people. I’m still leery of checking out their work, but it steps back – I may look for their books that don’t include gay or bi men.

  3. Fangs 4 the Fantasy (@Fangs4Fantasy)

    On others: I always like series in every genre, I always tend to shie away from stand-alone novels, but there is always a problem of what to bring in the next book – and if you have an apparently closed ending (the HEA) and the story focuses on falling in love rather than a couple that IS in love, well, you have to break one of those rules to have a serial romance. I think of the three options mentioned I’d go for the different couple. Too many relationship challenges and I have to ask why they’re still together, and a romance over several arcs means something else has to be in the story and be rather focusy – so do we even have a romance?

    A knotty problem, especially since the worst element of a series is not having ANYTHING resolve. Sure, you have hooks from the last book – but there needs to be a RESOLVE of some issues.

    Aargle, gender roles are hammered in so young and they’re harder to break than laws! Every time I read another of these stories I gain 3 more grey hairs

  4. Heidi Belleau

    @Fangs 4 the Fantasy (@Fangs4Fantasy):

    are you going to address your own misgendering of ee in order to undermine their opinions in that post you linked?

    just wondering–since you’re speaking openly about being “leery” of their writing due to that post–whether you feel you should own up to your own missteps and mistreatment of fellow lgbt people.