May. 17th, 2017

dmilewski: (Default)
 I drove a white, 2012 Hyudai Sonata last night. Very nice car. Manager special. I might just buy this thing. I'm 90% there.
dmilewski: (Default)
When I think of sexism, I think of it this way:
  • Male on Female sexism
  • Male on Male sexism
  • Female on Female sexism
  • Female on Male sexism
As a basic rule, the presence of any one sexism doesn't nullify the existence of any other. In my opinion, they cohabitate very well and are equally invisible to those within society. So when I say that I don't think a non-sexist book is possible, I keep the above in mind. In attempting to solve the problem of sexism, I may solve sexism with sexism, which isn't really an improvement.

I see "cowardice" as a form of Male on Male sexism. If a man is perceived of as not-manly-enough, then he is labeled a coward and the other men are allowed to treat him as lesser. That's sexism. I'm sure that with a little thought, you can think of examples for the remaining matrix.

If it is, in fact, impossible to write a non-sexist book, then how should I proceed? At this point, I have no choice but to prioritize. Which form of sexism am I going to focus on? That means that I may be successful in one area, yet still culpable in another.

Piers Anthony's Xanth series is a perfect example of this mixed message. Objectively, his works are sexist. It's a low bar to demonstrate this sexism. Yet, at the same time, many girls and women flocked to reading his adventures. Why? Because in Xanth, everyone had a magic power, and that power existed regardless of gender. That's non-sexist. In every adventure, at least one woman was present. That's non-sexist. In almost every adventure, both males and females played villains. That's non-sexist. At a time when women were often completely missing from fantasy stories, they were all over the place in Xanth, integral and important to the world. These women just didn't lounge about, either. They had jobs or ambitions. They participated. That's non-sexist. And female monsters are frequently shown as not-so-monstrous once you get to know them.

So is Xanth really sexist? Of course it is. Is it non-sexist? Of course it is. An adult conversation allows for these contradictions. The audience reading these novels each saw what they needed. While one population legitimately saw the sexist treatment of women, another populations legitimately saw what it's hungry for, the imagined ability to do great sorceries, turn others to stone, ride worms through stones, commanding plants, and a thousand other possibilities. I suppose like any engineered creation, a writer must make compromises in order to create anything.

Thinking of sexism as a binary does a disservice to both us and the work in question. (Binaries usually don't work.) I think that a more useful question is: how and where is any work sexist or non-sexist, and what are the merits and dismerits of these choices?

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