Links: Tuesday, October 14th

October 14, 2014 Links 3

A pencil drawing of a bald, white male doctor doing ana ultrasound on a kerchief-wearing Russian nesting doll. The monitor shows a smaller version of the doctor and doll and the monitor in that shows an even smaller version and so on.

The Ultrasound

Today’s Links:

  • “There’s not much interest in F/F.” Wait…what? – f/f author Andi Marquette talks about how “there’s no market for f/f romance” is both untrue and unfairly limiting. I’d also argue that it lets people off easy for marginalizing lesbians/bi women.

    In other words, yes, there is a market for F/F, and I don’t accept that it’s just ciswomen who identify as lesbian or bi. I have readers who are cisgender heterosexually-identified women and they let me know that they enjoy it and love my characters. I assume I have queer and trans readers, as well, whose sexual identities are across the straight/queer spectrum. I’ll concede that the majority of my readers are probably ciswomen who identify as lesbian or bi, but it’s clear to me that this is not the only demographic that reads my work or the work of my fellow F/F writers.

    Perhaps the respondents mean, “there’s not a market among ‘normal’ romance readers for it.” (possible variation of the ERMAHGERD LESBIAN COOTIES AIEEEEE response), though I’m a glass half-full kinda person, so I’m hoping that the idea just hasn’t been floated widely and readers don’t realize that there is a thriving F/F industry with a variety of writers and characters experiencing a variety of life and relationship stages and types, romance, sexualities, and sexual expressions.

  • Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up 2014 Wrap-Up – This wrap-up post about a small LGBT romance conference had some really interesting things to say about RWA.

    For me, probably the biggest and most surprising challenge was working with RWA chapters. GRNW has sponsors, but we also have community partners—organizations in the community, both regional and in the overall “queer community” that support the event. We love community partnerships because it’s been a great way for us to connect better to the greater community and learn more about how we can better connect LGBTQ romance to LGBT, arts, and literary organizations.

    Community partnerships aren’t about financial support. We don’t ask them for money or for capacity support. The only thing we ask them is this: “Can you publicly say that you’re happy that this LGBTQ romance event exists?” That and do they feel comfortable putting their logo on our site under “community partners”. Do they feel comfortable being public with that?

    We intentionally have this (in our mind) really low barrier because we knew when we started in 2013 that we would meet skeptics. People skeptical about romance, about LGBTQ stuff, about LGBTQ romance, etc. So we wanted to take all the reasons why people usually say “no”, because of money, time, capacity, responsibilities, etc, and take those reasons off the table. And have the only requirement be, “Can you publicly say that you’re happy this LGBTQ romance event exists?””

    I’m surprised with how hard it has been to get local RWA chapters to say “yes” to that question. And I’ve had chapters, two years in a row, refuse to be seen with us.

  • ♫ Roxane ♫ – This article is one part book review and one part commentary on Roxane Gay and the state of the black literati/academe.

    Gay’s writing is a new iteration of écriture féminine that centers black female experience for its own sake. Gay is writing not only outside of the traditional bounds of the academy, but also outside traditional media structures and against the mainstream feminist demand that black women write only for the greater good. In these stories, black women’s bodies often serve a pedagogical function—as a way to teach the world about the humanity of black folks. This is not what Gay is about. In an interview with NPR she explains that we “have a really stylized understanding of trauma in popular culture where something bad happens and the person has a period of mourning or coping and then they get better.” She is not about a performance of getting better, but she is writing for herself more than for any cause or ideology. There is a lot to learn from Bad Feminist, but it’s not didactic.

  • Who We Talk About When Athletes Are Accused of Sexual Assault – Jessica Luther has a great piece in Vice Sports about who the media focuses on when a player is accused of assault and why we should change the focus to the wrong done to the victim.

    The fundamental difference between the “let’s just move on” camp and the camp led by reporters like the ones at the Times is who is centered in each story. One focuses on the athlete, the other focuses on the victim. Consider Doyel’s piece on Winston, or the endless articles about Ray Rice that were written in the months leading up to the release of the video of him committing domestic violence, or those that chronicled in detail Roethlisberger’s return to the field following allegations of sexual assault against him and the announcement of his suspension, or any that waxed poetically about how the Kansas City Chiefs pulled through following the murder/suicide by Jovan Belcher: What we see at the center of these stories is the athlete or his team.

    The alleged victims, meanwhile, are ignored, their names almost never spoken unless it is to shame them. And almost nothing gets written about the larger systemic powers that enable and coddle this destructive behavior. This is such an acute problem that following Belcher’s murder of his girlfriend and subsequent suicide, David J. Leonard wrote a piece titled, “Kasandra Michelle Perkins: We Must Say Her Name.”

  • Diversifying Your Reading Beyond Gender or Race – Book Riot suggests books set in a wide variety of places and written by a diverse set of authors.

    If you’re a Rioting Reader who’s taken to heart the calls of Wallace Yovetich, Josh Corman, and Amanda Nelson, among (many, many) others to increase the diversity of your reading repertoire—whether that’s to expand your horizons by reading experiences written from a point of view different from your own, to encourage more equality in the publishing industry itself, or some combination of the two—it’s worth remembering that there’s more to making a reading life diverse than switching up the contents of an author’s swimsuit area, or carefully monitoring their melatonin levels.

    While gender and race are two significant characteristics that can lead to wildly different life experiences on the part of authors (and readers), they are hardly the only ones that might make a writer different from his or her potential audience.

  • Women are one of the sporting-goods industry’s biggest-growing markets — and one of its most ignored – A WaPo article that goes into how the sporting goods industry largely devalues female athletes and why that’s a stupid thing for companies to do.

    When 12-year-old McKenna Peterson opened her new Dick’s Sporting Goods basketball catalogue recently, the Arizona basketball player and superfan was frustrated to find a glaring misstep: The only girl in the catalogue’s pages wasn’t actually playing basketball — she was sitting in the stands.

    So McKenna began to type the company a fiery letter, not just praising her favorite female “dunking machines” but also tearing into the annoying imbalance the boy-heavy mailer seemed to represent. “It’s hard enough for girls to break through in this sport as it is,” she wrote, “without you guys excluding us from your catalog.”

    McKenna’s letter didn’t just spark a public outcry and lead the corporate giant’s chief to apologize — it highlighted an unavoidable tension of the sporting-goods industry: Girls and young women are one of its fastest-growing markets, and one of its most ignored.

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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: Tuesday, October 14th”

  1. Olivia Waite (@O_Waite)

    Re: the Gay Northwest Romance Meet-Up: I’m on the board of one of the local RWA chapters they contacted who declined to become a community partner. We declined not on account of the conference content, but because we don’t lend our logo out to events we’re not actively participating in. Someone in another local chapter forwarded the original email to the national organization, and the response by the board was that such community partnerships were permitted but that the chapter must learn “all the details of the event” before allowing association. With only one month’s notice, and with a pretty big conference of our own to plan during that month, we didn’t have time enough to make that happen. I’m a little miffed that this is being interpreted as bigotry against LGBTQ people both in fiction and in real life, when what it really comes down to is the molasses-slow movement of large bureaucratic organizations. Not that that’s anything to defend, either, but still.

  2. Meoskop

    It did seem a little Purity Test to me but I haven’t paid attention to RWA in decades.

  3. Anna Richland

    I’m in the same RWA chapter as Olivia. And I should be working my butt off for the conference we have that starts tomorrow. But I’m here surfing! Bad me…

    I’m NOT speaking for the chapter or for anyone other than myself. But for everyone I know, lack of participation in the Gay Romance NW Meetup isn’t a bias issue, it’s an exhaustion issue.

    We have mentioned the meetup on our loops, as we mention many other writing-events we are informed about. I see these messages forwarded all the time.

    But everyone who wants to participate in any type of conference/volunteer thing is always incredibly tapped out this time of year b/c the Greater Seattle RWA chapter runs basically the largest west coast romance writing conference, held annually in the middle of October. (It’s awesome, by the way).

    And if there is any bias – it’s not about the subject matter. It’s more likely to be “Oh it’s the downtown Seattle library. They’re not that interested in romance or romance writers, just literary fiction, I feel kind of second-rate when I’m there, same feeling of vague defensiveness I get when people say “Romance? Oh why do you read that?” … so… [skip/move on].”

    As I see it, and it’s just what I’ve noticed and it makes me sad and other authors’ mileage may vary and people can tell me I’m wrong … but to me, the downtown Seattle Public Library historically hasn’t seemed that interested in partnering with romance fiction writers.

    That creates the obvious result that as individuals (and I reiterate I am only speaking for myself) we don’t do much back with them, and look other places like the King County Public Library system that has a long history of supporting romance writers, hosting our Greater Seattle RWA chapter meetings, etc.

    There HAS been a recent expansion of the Seattle online collection to include much more variety of romance, branching out into digital only acquisitions, for instance, rather than merely digital copies of paper books. I attribute a lot of this to a specific downtown librarian who broadened a lot of acquisitions, but the general perception in the romance world that the SPL system just isn’t that interested in romance/romance writers persists. Rather like how some indie bookstores don’t carry romances. Sad fact.

    I repeat, I’m NOT speaking for the chapter or for anyone else with my comment – but I imagine that those two factors – burnout from our own conference and the general perception that the downtown SPL location (unlike a variety of branch libraries, which DO LOVE romance) isn’t that interested in romance – are the real driving forces for why our members on their own didn’t do work on the Gay Romance meetup.

    We don’t have so many volunteers that we can do a lot of other things too. I say that as a volunteer who has served for six years in various positions – and can’t imagine expanding into another.

    It didn’t seem very fair or very professional for people (and I don’t mean LITM – you’re the messenger) to ding an organization without actually understanding the dynamics. Join our chapter – everyone who writes any type of romance/YA is welcome – to become part of our support network and our events. But to ask a group to participate in an outside event, and then publicly complain about bias when they don’t, without actually talking with the actual members about what they’re up to and their constraints? Seems kind of unfair. We didn’t deserve that.