This time it’s women objecting to sexist content in the professional magazine for the Science Fiction Writers Of America who are causing Deep Rifts™. Pointing out that discussing female editors and writers in terms of how good they look in a bathing suit is a blatantly disrespectful trivialision of the work these women do and would never happen in a discussion of male editorsand writers and is therefore sexist and a double standard: that sort of talk is, according to the two men who did that, a call for censorship and suppression of their free speech. As for complaining in the SWFA forum about a male columnist recommending women take Barbie as a role model to “maintain our quiet dignity as a woman should”? Well, that was just making the forum “the arena for difference”.
Hey, whatever happened to all that free speech crowd’s support for their beloved aphorism: “the only remedy for bad speech is more speech”?
Oh yeah – the ideal of more and more and more speech being an axiomatic good only applies when it’s men who are expressing contrary opinions to others. When women express our contrary opinions to men, we’re trying to silence them entirely. Because we’re just that evil and divisive.
It’s double standards all the way down. (And before anybody in the atheoskeptosphere starts Vaculating along the lines of “what about your double standards?” with respect to women identifying “what-Vacula-calls-disagreement” as an intimidatory silencing campaign, if only all the Vaculators were doing was “disagreeing” then you might have a point, but that isn’t what’s happening and you know it. Refusing to engage with vexatious “you’re not allowed to ignore me” types is not a refusal to defend one’s ideas generally: it’s simply being aware that DARVO is the game being played and refusing to play it.)
Here are some tips on how to take criticism, real criticism, on the internet, from somebody who has been dealing with both sides of this for a decade:
Start actually listening. For once in your privileged life, listen. Listen. Because if I punched you, and you said “Gosh, that really hurt” and I said, “YOU ARE FUCKING CENSORING ME YOU FUCKING COMMUNIST” you’d think I was insane.
Listen. Do better. Understand privilege and power. Understand why people didn’t speak up before. Why you didn’t hear it before. If you hit somebody, and you really didn’t mean to would you say, “Well, it’s your fault for having tits?” or would you say “I’m so sorry I hit you. That wasn’t my intention. I will actively work to not hit you in the future.”
I know what somebody who was genuinely interested in open, honest, respectful dialogue with people they considered humans and colleagues would do.
Props for using a female toy as an example, but it was clumsily done at best. The real reason Barbie has maintained her staying power is a well-laid foundation of being the only toy designed for girls, millions of dollars in marketing, and a distinct continuing lack of competition. And really, if Barbie is the best example of a woman, or anyone, with staying power, then the world is in a heap of trouble. Actually, the choice to use her is indicative of the real problem: many men have difficulty thinking of examples of successful females. Why? Because Ken actually IS in our way, and we have sat quiet too long. Well, that, but it’s also a damaging misconception that there aren’t any good examples. There are myriad choices for a female example right in our own genre. I know many of these women personally, and the last way I’d describe them is “quietly dignified.” Most of the women writers I know are noisily, joyfully enthusiastic! Quietly dignified gets ignored in our genre, and in the world at large.
When Resnick and Malzberg compare the heat they’re feeling for stating their beliefs with censorship and thought-control, they are playing a version of the political correctness card. We’ve all seen this before, where someone complains because they—horror of horrors—have to actually stand up for what they believe in instead of automatically having their beliefs agreed with. But as the Supreme Court said, this is actually a good thing because it results in honest debates and discussions, which is how both societies and people grow and change.
So yes, I’m glad the Bulletin printed their thoughts. I have no desire to censor their opinions, nor does anyone I know. If you want to live in an economic free market, you can’t then whine about defending your beliefs in the marketplace of ideas.