Sexism and Speculative Fiction

Posted: February 20, 2014 in Books, Science fiction, Writers
Tags: ,

Space girlTechnically, I guess I’m a science fiction writer. I mean, I’ve written exactly one science fiction story, and that was a parody. But what the heck, I wrote it and it’s going to be published in a forthcoming anthology.

As a writer, I identify more with the rubric “speculative fiction” — a blanket term encompassing science fiction, fantasy and horror. Still, I’m a lifelong science fiction fan. Maybe “lifelong” isn’t strictly accurate. Let’s just say since I was old enough to read.

Hands down, the best part of actually becoming a published author has been the chance to meet and interact with other writers, including some science fiction writers I admired as a kid. I’m old enough (47, for the record) to remember a time when science fiction was considered the purview of a small subculture of weirdos. Say what you will about the genre, but that certainly isn’t the case anymore. I’d be hard-pressed to think of an aspect of popular culture that hasn’t been directly or indirectly influenced by science fiction.

And as it’s become more mainstream, I’d like to think that the popular image of science fiction creators and fans has changed as well. Hey, guess what? We’re not all a bunch of sexually and socially stunted dorks.

As I said, I’d LIKE to think that’s what’s happened. Then I see something like this. And it makes me wonder if the science fiction community is truly free of that image. Or if it even deserves to be.

“Girls wanna join our club! Eeewwwww! Yucky!” Seriously guys. Grow the fuck up.

For the record, I can’t see any of the science fiction writers with whom I’ve interacted saying anything like that. Indeed, I’d make a point of NOT interacting with them if I ever heard them say something to that effect.

Still … call me a traitor to my kind, but this makes me suspect that maybe some guys urgently need to be shoved into a gym locker for old time’s sake.

  1. caitlinstern says:

    About a month ago, as I was browsing the New Science Fiction section at a bookstore, a man came around the corner, saw me, and the first words out of his mouth were “I don’t usually see girls here.”

    So at least one of the fans could use some help still.

  2. You’d be surprised how many times this happens to women in all different fields. It gets really old.

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