55327_girl-writing_mdThe second uncomfortable issue that solidified over the last week is the perception that the gender/race/worldview war within the SFF community is getting nastier. This despite calls for a stronger community and initiative for the We Are ALL SF con. Nobody seems ready to let this go.

A little while back, I reviewed what I saw as the origins of the Hugo debacle of last summer. Here’s the core of the issue again:
•The SFWA Bulletin publishes various covers and articles that could be considered sexist.
•Resnick and Malzberg respond to criticism of their editorial by calling their complainants “liberal fascists,” and grousing about censorship.
•Resnick and Malzberg are fired as columnists.
•Women bloggers start to get hate mail.
•The bulletin editor resigns.
•N.K. Jemisin complains about Vox Day’s conservative views and the 10% of members who voted for him for SFWA president in her Guest of Honor speech at the 2013 Continuum in Australia.
•Day responds by calling her a “savage,” which gets him expelled from the SFWA.
•Conservative authors mount a slate for the 2014 Hugo Awards.
•Vox Day spearheads a largely successful effort to sabotage the Hugo Awards in 2015.

That brings us up to now. Looking at this rundown, I can gather that at least 10% of the SFWA membership holds a conservative worldview strong enough to vote for Vox Day for president. There’s been a lot of focus on Day, who is acting as spokesman for the conservative faction. I agree that his extremism makes him an attractive target for harassment; however, everyone seems to be skimming over problems like Jemison’s dissing of the 10% of conservative SFWA membership at Continuum. This 10% is likely just the tip of the conservative iceberg, too—it’s likely half the SFF community holds at least some conservative views.

This is not to attack Jemison. As an African American woman, she certainly has a right to hold a progressive viewpoint. However, it is likely this speech inflamed the ideological split within the SF community. This is also not to support juvenile assessments of the attributes of “lady editors” as published by Resnick and Malzberg. We all need to be professional here.

So why do I think the war is getting nastier? It took a while for my Nebula reading to settle in. I mentioned in my review that Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory contained suggestions I found offensive. One of these was that all women are two-faced. Another was a subtle attack on white men. In light of this, Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy also contained what I think is an attack on male privilege. This one is even more subtle, as Leckie uses only female pronouns. Still, she gave out enough clues that I suspect who’s what. These novels are both high up in consideration for the Nebula nominations. I don’t know that this is constructive—it feels like more sexism. Everyone needs to remember that conservatives are part of the diversity package and they’re not going to go away any time soon.

Before everyone checks in to assume I’m a conservative, my worldview tends toward liberal progressive. However, I do look at the issues and think cooperation is better as a way to deal with diversity than fighting it out.

Typical female viewpoint, eh?

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