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message 1: by Albert (new)

Albert Sartison I stumbled upon this group and asked myself: what do women like about sci-fi? Ok I'm pretty sure I know what men like. But women, hmmm...

seriously, not a clue.


message 2: by Stefani - SpelingExpirt, White Rabbit (new)

Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 307 comments Mod
Why do women have to like something different about SciFi than men do?


message 3: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (dancingcrane) | 23 comments Probably about the same things you do. I was a general science and philosophy major in college, and I'm a member of Mensa. I've loved speculative fiction since I started reading, and picked up a copy of Heinlein's The Red Planet. I've never looked back. I've devoured everything science-fiction and fantasy that I can get my hands on. My favorite aspect is great characters. Human or alien, powered or non-powered, far past, now, or future, if they are discovering something new and give me something important, from their unique perspective about the "human condition", I want to meet them and hear what they have to say.


message 4: by Albert (new)

Albert Sartison Stefani - SpelingExpirt wrote: "Why do women have to like something different about SciFi than men do?"

because from my experience women are interested in other things (generally)


message 5: by Stefani - SpelingExpirt, White Rabbit (new)

Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 307 comments Mod
That's kinda sexist. What exactly do men find attractive about SciFi?


message 6: by Albert (new)

Albert Sartison Kimberly wrote: "Probably about the same things you do. I was a general science and philosophy major in college, and I'm a member of Mensa. I've loved speculative fiction since I started reading, and picked up a co..."

would you read (and like) a sci-fi story without strong characters? As for me characters are less important I'm more interested in things they do. Or things they use etc.


message 7: by Albert (new)

Albert Sartison Stefani - SpelingExpirt wrote: "That's kinda sexist. What exactly do men find attractive about SciFi?"


In this thread Kimberly wrote: "My favorite aspect is great characters." Now I try to remember sci-fi books I read long time ago. I must confess I cannot remember the characters. I do remember plots, technology, etc.


message 8: by Stefani - SpelingExpirt, White Rabbit (new)

Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 307 comments Mod
That doesn't mean you remember the plots and technology just because you have a penis. Every reader is different, our genitalia doesn't dictate what we like in books. (It also doesn't dictate your gender but that's another conversation entirely).

I do not like specific things just because I am a woman. When it comes to SciFi I do however like characters, plots and technology.


message 9: by Albert (new)

Albert Sartison Stefani - SpelingExpirt wrote: "That doesn't mean you remember the plots and technology just because you have a penis. Every reader is different, our genitalia doesn't dictate what we like in books. (It also doesn't dictate your ..."


Actually our genitalia do produce hormones which influence our mood which influences our behavior which in fact does have an impact on what we like in our life including books and things in them.

I do agree with you that every reader is different. But if your statement "I do not like specific things just because I am a woman" was true every genres would attract 50/50 female and male readers. Is it so?


message 10: by Stefani - SpelingExpirt, White Rabbit (new)

Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 307 comments Mod
You could make the same argument about class, race, what fricking hair colour you have. Gender is a tiny part of who we are as people, suggesting that I like something different because I'm a woman is reductive. And our genitalia doesn't define our gender and it is our brains that produce hormones. I think it is a little sexist to come into a safe reading space for women and then query our reading habits.
Every single woman in this group is different, we may read things a little differently than you because of our experience as women, what I mean by this is that we experience sexism on a daily basis and are statistically higher at risk of things like rape so we are more likely to critique sexism and rape in books whereas a reader who has nod had these experiences may not pick up on it as easily.
You've come into a space for women who might like SciFi (it is just one aspect of the many we cover here) to suggest that our reasons for liking it must be different because we are women. It is very 'me Tarzan, you Jane' thinking and extremely sexist.


message 11: by Albert (new)

Albert Sartison Stefani - SpelingExpirt wrote: "You could make the same argument about class, race, what fricking hair colour you have. Gender is a tiny part of who we are as people, suggesting that I like something different because I'm a woman..."

I don't like the direction the discussion goes because I came here not for trolling but to find out what women like in Sci-fi.

As for your last post I would recommend to read a book or two about neuroscience. Eric Kandel for example.


message 12: by Stefani - SpelingExpirt, White Rabbit (new)

Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 307 comments Mod
Women like everything about SciFi that men like, it is that simple. We do not read things based on our gender. It is a million times more complicated than that.


message 13: by Anna (Bananas) (new)

Anna (Bananas) | 758 comments I like the possibilities in speculative fiction, the visions of our future, the advanced technology, and the unfamiliar worlds.
For me, character is the most important thing in a story but worldbuilding is a close second.

Gender....hmm. Why is this always such a touchy topic? It does affect many aspects of our lives, so why not our reading too?

But I don't think you can make a blanket statement that women like sci fi for one set of reasons and men like them for another set. That makes no sense.


message 14: by Stefani - SpelingExpirt, White Rabbit (new)

Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 307 comments Mod
I'm not saying it doesn't affect our reading, I've already said we may read things differently because of the things we experience as women. I'm just saying that we don't read specific things because of some silly signal our uterus is supposedly sending out. The idea that I read something for a different reason from someone else just because I'm a woman is preposterous to me.


message 15: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (frejafolkvangar) | 111 comments Um... What do women like about Sci-Fi? Are you serious? We're people. We like things. Just like men like things. Our genitals aren't usually involved in appreciating an engrossing plot, gripping characters, or rich worldbuilding. Women also can like things for all sorts of reasons as, you know, we're not one homogenous hivemind with one opinion. Dial down the condescension a bit.


message 16: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (frejafolkvangar) | 111 comments As for why readers of all genres aren't 50/50, that has a whole lot to do with representation in said genres and marketing. Just check out Maureen Johnson's cover challenge if you want to see how much marketing fails at treating women like people.

Also, access. For example, comics apps and trades have greatly increased the number of women reading comics as not all comic book stores are welcoming or safe places for women. Not to mention all the harassment issues at cons. Or harassment from just wearing geek/nerd culture iconography around guys who decide our interest isn't genuine enough.


message 17: by Stefani - SpelingExpirt, White Rabbit (new)

Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 307 comments Mod
Shannon wrote: "Um... What do women like about Sci-Fi? Are you serious? We're people. We like things. Just like men like things. Our genitals aren't usually involved in appreciating an engrossing plot, gripping ch..."

I wish there was a like button. Thank you, I think you're spot on.


message 18: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (dancingcrane) | 23 comments I don't have a problem with anybody being curious. I too don't see the need for hostility nor accusations of sexism based on a question. Oddly enough, the focus on genitals has been awfully one-sided, and that can be sexist in itself. Albert asked a question, can't we be respectful and just answer?

My favorite aspect is character, but that's primarily because the tech and what's done with it impacts people, societies civilizations and worlds, and I want to see that. I'm not interested in boilerplate space opera where the characters are not memorable, because they are just walking mannikins whose purpose is to shoot the weapons and further the action and defeat the bad guy, who is usually also a mannikin.

I look more to Asimov's Foundation series, anything Heinlein, Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan saga, Card's Ender's Game ff., and older books like Well's The Time Machine, Orwell's 1984, Huxley's Brave New World. I want the gadgets and 'oh cool wiz bang' to ultimately mean something.

My ideal character is someone like Miles. Dwarfed and made brittle-boned in utero, he is nothing to look at, but he can think you under the table and steal the loyalty of your second in command with verve, panache and humor. How he gets into and out of trouble in wartime and out is a marvel. With what gadgets he does it and how he propels the action is just icing on the cake.


message 19: by Stefani - SpelingExpirt, White Rabbit (new)

Stefani - SpelingExpirt (speling_expirt) | 307 comments Mod
My problem is that the premise of the question is sexist. He could have asked us simply what we liked about SciFi but he turned it into a gender thing from the outset.


message 20: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (dancingcrane) | 23 comments The premise of his question was precisely gender-based, because he didn't know why women liked science fiction. Chances are that in his experience, as in most of mine, women don't. Trying to get most other women I know, outside of a science fiction convention (and I've been going to them for 40 years), to see the merit in science fiction is an invitation to see eyes glaze over. Why do you assume you know his background? If women aren't monolithic in taste and awareness, I can't see why men should be assumed to be. He can ask me whatever he wants.


message 21: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (frejafolkvangar) | 111 comments We're not assuming he is sexist or monolithic because he is a man. I've concluded he is sexist (intentionally or not) because he is acting sexist. It's entirely on his merit. Discussing gender or genre preferences is not the issue. I'm happy to discuss either. It's the condescending way he broached the subject, dismissed our input with the oft-used excuses of "hormones" and "science!", and then proceeded to further talk down to us. Women are fully capable of appreciating great literature or decent but interesting literature or bad, campy pulp, regardless of hormonal status. Men's hormones fluctuate too, but no one would ask a man how his hormones effect his reading of Ender's Game or his appreciation of Firefly. Given the rampant issues with sexism, gatekeeping, harassment, and sexual harassment in the comic book/genre fiction/gaming industries and geek/nerd communities, as well as the fact that dismissing our thoughts and opinions as mere hormones can be extremely triggering for many, that is not okay.


message 22: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (dancingcrane) | 23 comments He said 'our hormones', as in male and female hormones. He wanted to know 'is it so?' that genres may have readership based on gender preferences. That isn't condescension, he wants to know. And I have seen insult before, and it goes both ways, as we women joke about 'testosterone poisoning' as an excuse for male hormonal behavior, cluelessness and the like.

As wife of one man and mother of three men and two women, I know there are differences and I'm not bothered either way by them. All our kids are geeks too. And we all notice that female geeks are outnumbered, and it's often lack of interest in the subject among females in general. I wouldn't mind knowing why myself. That's a subject worth discussing.


message 23: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (dancingcrane) | 23 comments To add, I have always been rather immune to immature behavior in geek/nerd communities and industries. When self-appointed arbiters and gatekeepers want to act out that way, either playing superiority games or playing victim, I observe them, ignore their misbehavior, and work around them. It saddens me to see the same tit-for-tat going on among intelligent people as there is among 'mundanes' who think cosplay is weird but paint their faces, speak in odd languages and wear costumes for football games...


message 24: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (frejafolkvangar) | 111 comments I'm glad you are in a position that you can ignore sexist behaviour in the industry. But for those who make their livelihood that way, it is not something you can just brush off. Similarly, sexual harassment is not something to just ignore because it doesn't bother you personally. Your circle may be different, but saying women just don't like genre fiction or comics or video games is both inaccurate (Plenty of women game, read comics, and enjoy speculative fiction. Female comic book readers have spiked in recent years, a recent survey showed that 47% of gamers are women, and I know more female D&D folks than male.) and ignoring the many reasons why women may not feel comfortable, welcome, or even safe expressing or pursuing their interests. It's like saying, "oh, well, I guess women just don't want to be engineers or scientists" and ignoring the many ways children are groomed for or deterred from said professions/academic paths from a very early age.


message 25: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (frejafolkvangar) | 111 comments Taking issue with condescending and dismissive attitudes that further alienate an already ignored and alienated demographic is not some petty "tit-for-tat". Being constantly grilled on my interests to make sure I really like them or know enough about them or like them "the right way" or having my motivations questioned for liking something "for boys" is not harmless curiosity. It is tactless, insulting, and beyond patronizing.


message 26: by Albert (new)

Albert Sartison Shannon wrote: "...and then proceeded to further talk down to us..."

I would love to know where exactly I "proceeded to talk down" to women.


message 27: by Albert (last edited Nov 29, 2013 08:34AM) (new)

Albert Sartison Kimberly wrote: "My favorite aspect is character, but that's primarily because the tech and what's done with it impacts people, societies civilizations and worlds, and I want to..."

Thank you for the detailed answer. I also don't like dumb action. A book cover with a man holding a gun and a barely dressed woman at his feet would be for me the reason NOT to buy this book. I consider sci-fi as a modern version of philosophy.

Do you know the Polish author S. Lem? I think his most famous novel in the US is "Solaris". He has also a novel called "The Invincible" - would be interesting to know your thoughts about it in case you read it. I ask about this particular book because IMO it has no strong characters in it.


message 28: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 10 comments Maybe Albert wants to know what we like so he can write a better sequel to his debut sci-fi novel?


message 29: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (frejafolkvangar) | 111 comments Reread everything you wrote, Albert. Right there. That's where you talked down to women. You dismissed valid points that we don't have to like a genre for any reason unique to our gender with patronizing remarks about hormones and how none of the women you know read sci-fi. So what? Maybe you need to meet more women. Given that this whole group (and countless like it) exists, you can safely assume plenty of women do. Your comments about sci-fi readership not being 50/50 also ignores the many problems with representation, marketing, sexism within the publishing/gaming/film/etc industries, and hostile environments within the relevant subcultures that make women feel like they can't like Sci-Fi (or can't openly express it if they do). Because even in a group dedicated to women who like geek media, we still have to justify, defend, and explain ourselves to uninformed, condescending people like you who can't seem to wrap their heads around the idea that women can enjoy a book or movie or comic. Some women even (gasp!) write Sci-Fi! Or direct it. Or act in it. Or work in production design or game design or cinematography or editorial or any number of careers within the Sci-Fi world. Mostly because we grew up enjoying Sci-Fi in much the same way as our male peers did. Hell, I even know transgender and gender queer people who like Sci-Fi. Do you need to know why they like it too, or can you just trust that good prose is good prose and authentic worldbuilding is authentic worldbuilding and funny dialogue is funny dialogue, regardless of the genitals or gender expression of the reader?


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