Wednesday, June 20, 2007

SF and Sexism

I checked out the Asimov's discussion of women and SF. I'm trying to decide how seriously to take it. One thing the 20th century should have shown us is -- it's always possible to go backward and lose gains. That being so, we should always be alert for people who want to push us back.

However, Edmund Cooper -- the start of the Asimov's discussion -- is a minor writer, who has been dead for 25 years. According to his pretty darn brief Wikipedia entry, he is not known for much, except possibly his controversial opinions about women.

Should we care about his opinions?

What difference does it make that there has never been a female Beethoven? There has only been one male Beethoven, and you don't get to share in his genius simply because you have a penis.

There has never been a male Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, Chrissie Hynde, Georgia O'Keefe, Louise Bourgeois, Barbara McClintock, Lynn Margulis...

The discussion, as far as I followed it, seemed typical. Some guys were clueless; some were trying to be modern; and there were some fierce, indignant women. I was glad to see the women. My inclination is to ignore discussions like this, but someone has to jump in.

One thing checking on this controversy has done is show me how much is happening in the on-line SF community. I am torn between a desire to join in, and a feeling that I could waste a lot of time reading live journals.

I'm finding my current regime -- maintaining my own blog and taking part in two group blogs -- takes a lot of time already. I am a slow, over-careful writer, and I revise nonfiction more than fiction. A blog post can take a long time for me. Even reading the two group blogs takes time, because I have to check links, and that takes me into the seductive on-line SF community.

2 comments:

Timmi Duchamp said...

"What difference does it make that there has never been a female Beethoven? There has only been one male Beethoven, and you don't get to share in his genius simply because you have a penis."

LOL

I'd like to suggest two books which, though they've been around for awhile, are not as well widely known as they perhaps should be. They take a sophisticated approach to the subject readable by the non-specialist:

Christine Battersby, Gender and Genius: Towards a Femnist Aesthetics (Indiana University Press, 1989)

Griselda Pollock and Roziska Parker, Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology (Pantheon Books, 1981)

Margaret Ezell, Writing Women's Literary History (Johns Hopkins, 1973)

Ide Cyan said...

See also Dale Spender's Women of Ideas: What Men Have Done To Them, 1982.