Thursday, October 7, 2010

Stuff of Interest

First, a couple of Aqueductista-related items:

-- Robert Wood offers Some Thoughts on the Chandler Davis Collection.  He concludes:

As a whole, this book links up with the recent feminist cultural studies work on the subculture provided by Helen Merrick's recent book also published by Aqueduct, as well as the more formally academic books written by Justine Larbalstier. [...] It's a genuinely interesting history, and the more material that I read about it, the more complex and interesting the topic becomes to me.
--Kimberly Todd Wade will be doing a book-signing on Saturday, October 9, at  Mystery and Imagination Bookshop 238 N. Brand Blvd, in Glendale, which is in the LA area. She will aslo be signing in Austin, Texas, on October 23 at Bookwoman, a feminist bookstore. Both signings will be promoting her new novel, Thrall.

Then a couple of items about women and British science fiction:

--Tricia Sullivan talks about the women and the Clarke Award, noting a shift away from work by women making it onto the ballot since 2006 (link courtesy of Torque Control).

--Niall Harrison reports on Sullivan's remarks on Torque Control-- and receives more than 100 comments in response.

One comment, by Farrah Mendelsohn, is pretty stark: "I think the UK is extremely hostile to women sf writers at the moment. Given the decision of Illustrious (Eastercon 2011) to choose the first all male line up in some years (the first since 2002 when they had three guests, not the current four), I cannot see why this should change."

But another comment, by Jonathan McCalmont, is even more so: "It’s the fact that things seem to be getting worse that’s most unsettling. The image of a genre publishing world retreating into whiteness and maleness that has emerged from these discussions really is quite distressing. This problem is then compounded when you consider how few genre books get translated into English. At this point, it seems not unreasonable to say that if genre publishing in the UK were consciously racist and misogynistic then it would not be doing anything different to what it is doing today."

And finally, a few items on feminism and feminists:

--Over at the F-Word Blog, Jess McCabe interviws Jonathan Dean about his book Rethinking Contemporary Feminist Politics, which analyzes contemporary feminism in the UK. The F-Word itself was among the organizations and groups Dean studied. One of McCabe's questions: "Do you think ‘new’ feminists’ views, activities or concerns differ much from previous generations of feminists?" His answer fascinated me:
Obviously the ‘new’ feminists are quite a diverse bunch, so it can be hard to generalise. That said, I think there is an increasing move towards emphasising continuity between the present and the ‘second wave’. There was a period in the 1990s and early 2000s when the ‘third wave’ was quite popular, and much of the feminism coming under the ‘third wave’ banner was quite keen to differentiate itself from the ‘second wave’. Interestingly, you don’t hear the ‘third wave’ being talked about so much now. Personally, I think that is for the best, and if you look at the current feminist scene, you see a lot of fairly clear continuities with the second wave: you’ve got Reclaim the Night marches, protests against the utterly abhorrent Miss University UK pageants, and organisations like Women’s Aid who are still providing services to survivors of domestic violence, just as they were 35 years ago.

There’s also recently been a lot of oral history research with participants in second wave feminism, so I think all of this can be seen as a willingness on the part of many younger feminists to acknowledge these continuities. That said, in some respects these continuities are quite depressing, as it is rather sad that there is still a need for the same kinds of activism. To be honest, though, there are other kinds of depressing continuities: my impression is that, after all these years, issues of race, class and cis privilege remain, within feminism, as delicate as ever.
There's much more in the interview that's interesting. Do go read the whole thing.

--Over at the Nation, Katha Pollitt weighs in, with Feminist Mothers, Flapper Daughters

--Also at the Nation, Rebecca Traister notes that while the Republican Party is making a big deal about it's "CEO candidates and "maverick Mama Grizzlies, many Democratic women still relate to Abigail Adams's 234-year-old wry (and slightly pissy) plea to her husband, John, and his nation-building buddies to "remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors." Some of us find ourselves wondering why our party still shuns a public celebration of its female power and why it still appears hesitant to boost its strong female candidates."  Traister pounds home the irony:
Left-leaning lady trouble is ironic, since by many measures women are  the Democratic Party—or at least 57 percent of it in the 2008 election. Moreover, the party has long been tagged as feminine: focused on purportedly soft concerns like healthcare, reproductive rights, social programs and the economy, as opposed to the more testicular national security obsessions of Republicans. [...]

The gender quotas, (usually) female-friendly policy priorities and slowly but steadily improving stats are all terrific. So why are we not hearing the party own its commitment to women's progress by lending full-throated support to its female candidates?


Josh said...

Where is the Traister article?

Timmi Duchamp said...

At the Nation, also. Corrected now in the post. Thanks.

Nancy Jane Moore said...

Thanks for the alert about Kimberley Todd Wade at Bookwoman here in Austin. I'll put it on my calendar.