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Feminism and Sci-Fi - Clamping Down

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message 1: by Rachel Adiyah (last edited May 15, 2018 08:04AM) (new)

Rachel Adiyah Last night I was checking out books on the Matriarchal Societies (I think that was the name - it had Matriarchal in it, definitely) List, and I saw one book titled Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin Who Runs the World?. I have not read this book. But the first review I saw was from a woman who criticized the book for being matriarchal, not having trans-gender people, and the plot for it's existence, because it was so offensive that the characters considered a boy to not be human (after not seeing one for sixty years) that the book should basically set it itself on fire and disappear.

I left a comment that science fiction is frequently labeled as "subversive" precisely because it's not politically correct but speculative, a special creative space to explore worlds and scenarios. I also informed that comment's author that men have had control over sci-fi for the longest time and have written many misogynistic books, yet a woman writes one exploring matriarchy and she gets angry over it. I said that if she can't handle this kind of environment that she shouldn't read science fiction.

I was attacked by a troll (of course) who wanted me to be embarrassed about something called "TERF" (I'm not a millenial and I don't know this term), but I told her that she really sounded as though she didn't know what she was writing about. So she kept attacking me and I told her that I wasn't angry, that this was all intellectual to me, so I finally bid her farewell and blocked her.

The point of speculative fiction is not to create a perfect world but to explore ideas. To say that feminism is simply the belief that "we are all equal" ignores other types of feminism that are unabashedly pro-woman and flip men the bird. And there are different types of feminism; there is not one type. Also, depending upon race, ethnicity, and religion, your feminism is going to be different. Science Fiction should be an ideal medium to explore these different types of feminism and/or women's place in a given society.

I don't believe in telling writers that they must adhere to a politically correct social order where we're all holding hands in "perfect harmony". Let's face it: that might never happen. Even if it does, why does a writer creating a fictional matriarchy deserve to be skewered?


message 2: by Nicole (last edited Aug 31, 2018 01:15AM) (new)

Nicole | 7 comments Rachel Adiyah wrote: " I said that if she can't handle this kind of environment that she shouldn't read science fiction. I was attacked by a troll (of course) who wanted me to be embarrassed about something called "TERF" (I'm not a millenial and I don't know this term), but I told her that she really sounded as though she didn't know what she was writing about."

Don't worry about it, Rachel. The people who name-called you are part of what you can call, the concurrent "Trans/Genderist movement".

The gist of it is that some people (notably some branches of feminists) are saying that biological gender is not a mere social outfit, that you wear on and off like a party hat, but based on Science. Which, it's not just a simple matter of plumbing, but a whole range of DNA and various physical build-up and markers that you can't just switch (at least not with current technology).

And this is important, as what you are born with is what you live through, shapes your experiences, and is the base for important medical and scientific analysis that ensures our well-being. So, at best, Transwomen (men who id as trans) have to realize this and let women have their needed exclusive dialogue and spaces. And at worst, they can't be considered women. There is also the fact, that most aren't interested in transiting, which is criticized by a few who do, with one of them saying, "While for you (those not interested in transiting) is an ideology, for me it's a condition (genuine dysphoria)."

This provoked a lashback from the "Trans/Genderist" movement. Where right now, if any women talks about exclusive female issues, her reproductive system, types of pro-woman feminism/themes, or sometimes basically anything they don't agree with, they will call her a "TERF".

There's a book written about it -
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FZ9Y81P

To sum it up, the whole thing has nothing to do with any stances of Science Fiction.

Rachel Adiyah wrote: "The point of speculative fiction is not to create a perfect world but to explore ideas."

I totally agree with that! And Science Fiction is literally the richest medium. This is because the future is hardly set in stone, a flux where you can sculpt a huge essence of ideas into fruition. It's different from historical fiction, for example, where the rules are written from whence past. It's astounding that it's even more masculine-dominated than the latter, given it's vast scope of potential.


message 3: by Rachel Adiyah (new)

Rachel Adiyah Nicole wrote: "Rachel Adiyah wrote: " I said that if she can't handle this kind of environment that she shouldn't read science fiction. I was attacked by a troll (of course) who wanted me to be embarrassed about ..."

I just read the definition of TERF and it's a really nasty slur. I'm definitely not against transgender people in any way. But I don't believe in having transgender people in your personal piece of fiction just because they're out there. For example, I would probably not have transgender people in my fiction simply because I DON'T KNOW ANY OF THEM. To write about a transgender person accurately would be difficult for someone who doesn't know one in person.

Jeez Louise!


message 4: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 50 comments Mod
Rachel Adiyah wrote: "Last night I was checking out books on the Matriarchal Societies (I think that was the name - it had Matriarchal in it, definitely) List, and I saw one book titled [bookcover:Who Runs the World?|33..."

Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. I started it yesterday. A world where men have been almost wiped out and we rule? Yes please!


message 5: by Holly (new)

Holly (goldikova) Nicole wrote: "Rachel Adiyah wrote: " I said that if she can't handle this kind of environment that she shouldn't read science fiction. I was attacked by a troll (of course) who wanted me to be embarrassed about ..."

Wow....so glad I found this group. I have been very discouraged by the attitudes I have seen in many feminists who treat a woman's unique reproductive power as such a trivial thing. Having babies is a personal choice, but disrespecting motherhood is the same as disrespecting your mother. How can a matriarchy exist without it?


message 6: by Rachel Adiyah (last edited Jun 05, 2018 07:29PM) (new)

Rachel Adiyah Holly wrote: "Nicole wrote: "Rachel Adiyah wrote: " I said that if she can't handle this kind of environment that she shouldn't read science fiction. I was attacked by a troll (of course) who wanted me to be emb..."

For various reasons I chose not to have children. But I believe that motherhood and a woman's reproductive abilities deserve the highest respect. When a woman brings a child into this world and dedicates herself to caring for her, she is sacrificing a great deal, and she is taking care to nourish, educate, and love a growing human being in a way that only a mother could. There is no love like a mother's love.

People like to say that children without fathers are "disadvantaged", but I profoundly disagree. So long as a child has a loving mother on their side, protecting, guiding, and doing whatever it takes to aid them on their life's journey, they are privileged. A father can't do what a mother does; even if he cares for a child, even if he has a woman in his life who will help him, it is a struggle. A child without a mother is in danger from many potential threats until she becomes an adult capable of caring for herself.

Without my mother I'd probably be dead, or a junkie prostitute with a needle in my arm. My father never did a damn thing for me except make me miserable. How people disrespect motherhood and claim to be Social Justice Warriors, I'll never understand.


message 7: by Holly (new)

Holly (goldikova) Historically, women raising children without a father has been a common thing. Men leave, men die, men go off to war. I don't see why society should disapprove of a woman raising a child on her own. Other family members are valuable in child raising. My daughter has been lucky to be able to spend a lot of time with her grandmother, great grandmother and aunties. She is an only child, but she understands the sibling dynamic by proxy with her cousins.

It was funny, too, because when I was pregnant I really wanted a girl baby, but I didn't necessarily want to know ahead of time. During an ultrasound she did a spread-legged somersault which made it pretty obvious. It was like she was sending me a message......."Look mom.......I'm female!"


message 8: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 50 comments Mod
Holly wrote: "Historically, women raising children without a father has been a common thing. Men leave, men die, men go off to war. I don't see why society should disapprove of a woman raising a child on her own..."

Thats cool! And she doesn't need a male role model if she has all those fantastic women around her!


message 9: by M. (new)

M. (chellatrix) | 2 comments I own a restaurant -- Hi, I'm Michelle, btw! -- and my restaurant happens to be staffed mostly by women. My general manager and kitchen manager were my first 2 hires, and have been with me from the beginning.

With the exception of my husband, who is not an owner, and this new guy we have, every guy who we've employed has been a handful, and destructive in some way or another.

This guy used to eat here up to twice a day. One day we're slow and he's the only table. He tells me his parents were robbed and says the country has never been the same since the "hippies" took over. Then, he talks about the harm caused by single mothers.

I don't get too political publicly because I live in a small town, and people can be vindictive. After the election, a city council member from my city got into the Pantsuit Nation group for my state and, essentially, told the women there to commit suicide.

Oh, crap, I'm getting off-topic... He got in no trouble at all, even though we're a town that relies on tourist dollars and he told thousands of women in our prime pool of tourist to kill themselves. His father said the women couldn't take a joke, and that the women at the meeting were traumatizing his wife by going after her son. His uncle, also on the city council, called it a youthful mistake.

So, this is why I play it in a little cool in sharing my beliefs.

But this guy, on that day, crossed a line. I told him he was sitting in a restaurant owned by a woman raised by a single mother, and I felt like I'd made something good of my life, having never even my father. If I'd been less angry, I would have made clear that I wasn't claiming this as some sort of triumph over disadvantage, but proof that any father isn't better than no father at all.

I used to read this books based on Native American tribes that I suspect might be all sorts of problematic, but these were my first real exposures to matriarchies in any way that made me think of how the world I lived in seemed to view something that had worked as unthinkable.


message 10: by Rachel Adiyah (new)

Rachel Adiyah Michelle wrote: "I own a restaurant -- Hi, I'm Michelle, btw! -- and my restaurant happens to be staffed mostly by women. My general manager and kitchen manager were my first 2 hires, and have been with me from the..."

So basically this total jerk becomes a troll, invades a Pantsuit Nation chapter, tells the women to commit suicide, and then his father says that he's the victim! Lovely! Dear G-d, sometimes I hate men so much.

I wish I had been raised by a single mother. My four person nuclear family growing up was completely dysfunctional, and I've had trouble all my life because of it. What I'm going to say may sound harsh, but please understand that I've been to hell and back trying to create a meaningful life for myself, and a lot of the obstacles in my way were put there by a misogynistic, narcissistic father, and a horrible brother: when my father died in May, 2004, I did not shed a single tear or even feel sad.

When my cat Ari was euthanized in January, 2010, because she had lymphoma, the chemotherapy did not work at all despite months at it, and she was going to die a miserable death in six days otherwise, I cried every single day, multiple times per day, for at least two years.

[A friend had given her to me because her husband couldn't stand the beautiful little tortoiseshell, and Ari was tough to be won over by me, but when she did decide she loved me we had the most amazing relationship - she even slept on my pillow, and came to comfort me when I was sad (once by turning her pretty head upside down to rub my hand). I loved her immensely. She was sweet, feminine, incredibly beautiful with her four colors (999 out of 1000 tortoiseshells are female, and the one male is typically a genetic chimera; in the cat world only the females can carry more than two colors at a time), and was very loyal. Her death cut me to the bone.]

I'm so sick of the war against single mothers. I suppose that it's nice if two people really are in love and can build a family together, but barring that, why exactly are fathers so "important" to a developing child? Studies have found that after divorces in the United States, 50% of divorced fathers permanently dropped out of the lives of the children from that particular marriage.

My maternal grandfather could hardly have cared less about my mother and aunt Joan after he remarried and had SONS. (My mother considers her step-father to have been her real father, because he considered her to be his daughter, loved her and made time for her.) As a matter of fact, when I was going to a Quaker school in second grade and they had grandparents' day, my grandfather showed up, but I was crying because he could scarcely stand me and then left mid way through.

I think that mothers are the real essential parent in a child's life, and while men come and go, she's there. There are some cases where a mother may be abusive or neglectful, but even then a father will not necessarily rise to save the day. Just read that book: A Child Called "It". His mother abused this boy alone out of all her sons, but did his father save him? Nope. His father actually ran away. It was people outside of the family who finally took him from his horrible mother. And his father never made any meaningful effort afterwards to be in his life.


message 11: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 50 comments Mod
Michelle wrote: "I own a restaurant -- Hi, I'm Michelle, btw! -- and my restaurant happens to be staffed mostly by women. My general manager and kitchen manager were my first 2 hires, and have been with me from the..."

This is it exactly! I run my own business too. Small. But mine. You know what I'm sick of apologizing for? The fact that I won't hire men to senior jobs. A male PA I'm ok with, but lets be honest. They're terrible workers. They lack the quality of a female candidate who has hard to work twice as hard.

It's time women bosses were allowed to say that actually, yes, female employees are better, and we simply won't hire men to anything other than minor roles if we so choose. Discrimination laws are meant to protect the oppressed and minorities, the idea of them defending men is a joke.


message 12: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 50 comments Mod
Rachel Adiyah wrote: "Michelle wrote: "I own a restaurant -- Hi, I'm Michelle, btw! -- and my restaurant happens to be staffed mostly by women. My general manager and kitchen manager were my first 2 hires, and have been..."

Fathers are obsolete, like men. A tired old patriarchal tradition that needs to die.


message 13: by M. (new)

M. (chellatrix) | 2 comments I'm sorry about Ari. I'm a pet person, which means I've over the years had to say goodbye a lot. I knew that about calicos, and shared this with someone the other day.

My kitchen manager once had a stand off with a male employer who told her that she couldn't make him do something. She pointed out she was his boss. He asked her if she was really going to play that card, and she said, Why not? It's a pretty good card.

My maternal grandfather did a lot of damage to my mother, and to a somewhat lesser extent, me. My mother would schlep me to see him every weekend for years -- he had a cabin on the lake -- and he would pick us apart for hours in this really passive-aggressive, cloaked in trying-to-be-healthy way.

Did you know farmers like to marry women with a little meat on their bones? I do, because he suggested this as a possible marriage option a lot. :)

I stopped seeing him in my later teens. My mother stopped seeing him decades later. By then, he'd moved and she would drive hours every weekend, even if she was exhausted, to clean his house and cook for him, and finally she realized she was killing herself.

For full disclosure, I was estranged from my mother for a long time, and only months before her death did we reconnect. So every time I talked to him he'd ask me why she wasn't talking to him, and insist he'd never done anything to her.

I know he believed this. But I also know that when she was a child and burned her arm with bacon grease, he drunkenly applied Ben Gay. I know when her 24 or 25 year old brother died, and asked to borrow money until she got paid so she could buy flowers, he threw this in her face weeks later. The same brother he always favored over her.

I believe my grandmother would have been a happier woman had she not married him, and by the time she left believed herself an old lady -- which women in their 40s did back then. I know she married him because she got pregnant, because he made sure my mother knew this in order to embarrass my grandmother. I know when my mother became pregnant as a teen he wanted her to marry the boy, and my grandmother made a point of telling her that she didn't have to do that -- I wonder if my grandmother was thinking about her own choices.

I could tell you that I know my grandfather loved me when I was a little girl, everyone knew that from the way he doted on me. And then I could tell you that as soon as I hit puberty his doting was mixed with admonishments that I not follow in my mother's footsteps and become a teen mother. He changed based on nothing I actually did, just that he saw me in a different light when I stopped being a little girl.

I honestly don't hate men, I just think they've been allowed to be ignorant of the harm they do for too long. Women carried all the slings and arrows they've caused, carried the weight of being held responsible for them harm done to them. And now that women are speaking up, are refusing to take the blame, are making sure men can't remain ignorant, men have a choice to get better or get what they deserve.

For the record, I'm a white woman. I don't get angry or attack when people point out white women are terrible, because I know it's part of the terribleness to negate the experiences of PoC because the truth is painful. I hope I'm not personally horrible, but I accept that I've been the recipient of privileges I didn't even know I had, and I have made mistakes. I realized, I accepted, and try to be better and more aware. And I keep my mouth shut instead of rushing to my own defense when it isn't so much about the personal me as it is about the failures and flaws of white women as a group.

I expect nothing more from men than I'm willing to myself do.


message 14: by Rachel Adiyah (new)

Rachel Adiyah WackyRomanticPyrate wrote: "Rachel & others I really appreciate your comments celebrating that there are different kinds of feminism! Will post an invite in the local-meetups celebrating that. I'm also a sci-fi/fantasy lover,..."

I'm not trying to shoo you away from this group, far from it! But in addition to this forum about feminist issues, if you want a group which specifically addresses the topic of science fiction and women, you might want to check out the Sci-fi Women Group. It's a great place to ask for sci-fi recommendations and to discuss issues more local to sci-fi such as the place of female writers, characters, and readers in a heavily male-oriented genre; or about specific science fiction stories or novels and women.

You can sign up for as many groups as you like and go back and forth. Once again, though, I am not trying to drive you away from Jasmine's group. Feminist Future is a really good place where one can post on feminist issues without someone leaving a nasty message for you that feminism is passe` and we should all be "humanists" (I'm all for humanism, but females worldwide - as a class - suffer from decisions made by men, and this alone necessitates a different approach to these issues than others).


message 15: by Holly (new)

Holly (goldikova) WackyRomanticPyrate wrote: "Rachel & others I really appreciate your comments celebrating that there are different kinds of feminism! Will post an invite in the local-meetups celebrating that. I'm also a sci-fi/fantasy lover,..."

There are some recommendations on your profile.


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