Feminist Monday

I'm going to break my rule about talking about men on Feminist Monday, but it's for a good reason. (I'll mention a woman first, though.) The Oscars were last night, and for the first time in years, I watched the whole thing. So...quick like a bunny: I wanted to say congradulations to Lupita Nyong'o for the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and Steve McQueen for the Oscar for Best Director. Those were well-deserved awards. I've not seen 12 Years a Slave yet, but I did watch Hunger, the film McQueen did about Bobby Sands and the IRA Hunger Strike of 1981.[1] 12 Years a Slave is definitely on my research list for the current series I'm writing. (Book and film.) I've just not done it due to my budget and well... I have to be in a certain emotional frame of mind in order to see something that emotionally traumatic. (It took me a long while to get around to Hunger too.) Anyway, that was a really great Oscar night.  A historic one, since last night was the first time in the whole 86 year history of the Oscar that a film by a person of color has taken the Best Film Award. I was also glad to see Dallas Buyer's Club receive some awards. Jared Leto absolutely earned that Oscar [2] and so did Matthew McConaughey. I did see that one, and it was great. Anyway, I enjoyed the Oscars. Having gone through the Hugo/Campbell Awards thing twice... I get it on a level I never did before. It made it more fun.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled Feminist Monday post...

In the SF/F and entertainment world: Jonathan Ross Withdraws from Hosting Hugo SF Awards After Fans and Writers Strike Back. Personally, I was glad to see this issue got resolved so fast. Hats off to the Londoncon committee and to Ross for not dragging out the drama. I don't know Ross's work. I did Google him and what I did see I found disturbing, given the context of the past two years in SFFdom. As Charlie Stross says, we are in the midst of cleaning house and this was not the best choice under those circumstances. No matter which side you're on in this, I feel it's important to note that for the first time since the begining of SFF, women's concerns were taken seriously enough that something was done in rapid order. This is a good thing, people. It's a big step forward to making SFF more inclusive and welcoming. In other news, Cate Blanchett's Oscar acceptance speech ruled--particularly the part where she said, "People want to see films with women at the center. They actually do make money. They aren't a niche market." I cheered. Here are some links to Elizabeth Bear's Tumblr about Slut Shaming on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (not,) Black Women are Beautiful, commentary on being female and being valued for your work and creativity rather than your looks, another Tumblr post about the same, and another aspect of being a professional and female. Here's a Gloria Steinem quote for you from Mighty Girl's FB page. Sarah Rees Brennan talks about being an author and female and having to defend your work from a nigh-constant barrage of "It's fan fic!", "You didn't write it!" and other stereotypical things Joanna Russ talks about in How to Suppress Women's Writing. Yes. It's a very real problem. And THIS: I don't want to be a rare successful female writer. I just want to be a successful writer.This is why I'm very careful to not prefix every professional writer's identity with their gender, people. How much do I hate the phrase "Lady Writer"? I want to stab it in the face. A LOT. (Ah, exceptionalism. DIE. DIE. DIE.) I don't give a crap who uses it. Newspaper Book Reviews, Reviewers, and Gender. Publisher's Lunch discusses VITA's article and the updated data for SFF. The Leaky Pipeline: Where are the Women in Science Fiction? Author Tansy Roberts gets her Feminist Rant on. This new vampire flick looks interesting--even if I'm sick to death of vampires. Foz Meadows discusses the "If you like GRR Martin, you may like..." lists in bookstores and how often a Y chromosome appears to be required in order to be listed. The Trekkie Feminist is well worth reading. Here's a post about Nichelle Nichols. Why stay in SFWA? I absolutely agree. And On Being a SFWA Member with Ovaries. Want to criticize women? Nevermind Their Ideas, Just Go Straight for the Clothes. Thoughts on Frozen.

Today's video:

My only problem with it is that it leaves out Tiana, damn it. [sigh] Also, check this out (from a fan of the blog):

In other links: another article about Nadezhda Popova the WWII "Night Witch". And another article about the doctor who beats odds to bring air ambulance to Nigeria. Also, read about Sojourner Truth who very definitely kicked ass and deserves some credit in Feminist circles. Here's I'm an Engineer, not a Cheerleader. (Every time I think things are getting better for girls, I see something like this and wonder just how far backwards we're going.) Why there's a problem with "It's a Boy!/It's a Girl" binary of baby announcements. Gender and the in Between. Geena Davis: The portrayal of women in media. Dangers of The Empowerment Elite Claims[ing] Feminism.

The Trigger Warning section: DOJ repor on Montana Justice: Don't get raped in Missoula even if you're only five-years-old.

[1] As part of my research for The Fey and the Fallen series.
[2] Rayon was a fantastic character, and Leto was Merryl Streep levels of kick ass in that role.
I haven't seen Hunger, but I have seen 12 Years and Shame. 12 Years is just, flat out, an excellent film, and well deserving of its win, as is Lupita.

Shame... is a well made film that's hard to enjoy. "Enjoy" is a bad word for it. But... I didn't like it, but I appreciated it. If that makes sense.
I think Jonathan Ross is someone people in the UK know more than outside the UK. I first heard of him when I visited the UK in the late 1980s and he had a film show that was broadcast in the US (more than likely on an obscure cable channel or late night on PBS) which I watched and liked.

He has always been into genre stuff especially comics and is a regular at the big Forbidden Planet in London. It helps that his wife is Jane Goodman (Stardust) who has won a Hugo. And, one of his close friends is Neil Gaiman, who recommended him for the job.

One thing to point out: some of the bad things people accuse him of doing were printed in the tabloids. In the UK, this is similar to the National Enquirer in the US: a lot of gossip and made-up stories just to sell papers.

Personally, I think they should have asked his wife to host. But, I'm sure someone would find her problematic-probably just because she is married to him!

I saw that the woman writer who was worried that he would make fat jokes at her expense has apologised to Mr. Ross' daughter and wife. The daughter was quite upset by the whole thing.

I'm afraid I'm leaning to the "should have let him host" camp, mainly due to knowing a few people who know him personally (whose opinion I respect). I have no idea who will fill his shoes now. A lot of people may be afraid to do it!

Frankly, I think it was enough that some were uncomfortable--whether or not it was justified is another story. And to be honest, I didn't like how he reacted to those who objected. [shrug] Yes, people are people and not everyone reacts well under that sort of pressure. The whole thing was unfortunate, and would've been best if the committee had handled it differently. This kind of thing doesn't have to be a huge drama. Once people are comfortable voicing opinions and understand they'll be listened to, I suspect the tension will be less.
Re: people who agree with me...
again, it's quite obvious to me that this happened because the committee didn't handle the matter properly. again, the timing was particularly bad regarding the host-choice. again, i don't know anything about ross. there are people i respect on both sides of this issue. it's not a simple, cut-and-dried issue. it's complex. stepping back from it, *again* i think the take-away here isn't "ross was bullied by the internet." (i do find it difficult to have a great deal of sympathy in that direction. yes, he's a human being and should be treated with respect, but that respect should be returned and wasn't.) while i'm sure there were plenty of people on twitter who bullied him--seanan mcguire wasn't one of them. she stated her concerns and was met with abuse. (i don't believe that ross's daughter's message was abusive, btw.) moving the issue off misogyny and into "he isn't SF enough" is... pardon the expression, bull shit.

the committee should've taken farah mendlesohn's concerns seriously. if they had, this would've been handled internally. events over the past two years indicate that the fan community (as well as the professional community) needs to make changes. we're all in transition. nothing against ross. as charlie stross said--now isn't the time for anyone associated with misogyny-related controversy--earned or not.
This is tangential, but one thing that jumped out at me with Seanan's comments:

"when MULTIPLE PEOPLE say "my first thought was he'd call you fat," maybe you picked the wrong man."

How is what these "multiple people" did to her any better? How is telling someone, "I think he's going to make fun of you because you're X" anything but negging bullshit? Especially if they told her it was their FIRST THOUGHT?

It just reads to me as a "with friends like these..." sort of thing.
i've nothing to say on that issue. that's personal. i'm trying to stick to the professional here.

i stand by this: when it becomes okay to express concerns without need of drama to fuel it in order to get attention, then this will cease to be a thing.
it's okay. i just think the issue got too personal. we need to get to where we can discuss these things without all that.
it's just too bad they didn't include them. as it is, it looks like standard 2nd wave feminism which is unfortunate. other than that, i liked it.
J Ross
Yes, we all know him well. He's a tv interviewer. Tried to be different, confrontational, etc. Mostly just a self-publicist with no particular talent except a very pwonounced middle class lisp! I wouldn't think he was qualified to participate in anything sf, as he has never proved to know much of anything and he certainly has never been a friend of women! MJ has a kinder view of him than I do, but I say good riddance! Ciao, Stina. L
Re: J Ross
thanks, L! again, my feeling on it is that if women are uncomfortable, then out he goes. considering the current social climate, a choice that has the potential for so much controversy is simply a bad one.