I know better than to promise this will become a regular feature on this blog, but it’s been a long while since I’ve done a links and commentary post over here, and I’ve missed them. Some of these links will be familiar to those of you following Sidetracks — apologies for that, but they’ve been on my mind enough that I wanted to go back to them.
- First of all, I really liked this Kameron Hurley essay Renay shared, particularly this quote:
For a while I became smitten with the idea of “power feminism” or the popular “lean-in” culture that passes for mainstream white feminism right now. We just needed to be smarter, faster, better. We needed to ask for raises, demand better treatment. Sexism was our fault, for buying into the misogyny ourselves, and operating like we were at a disadvantage.Seeing Hurley articulate something I keep trying to get at with such clarity was a reminder of all the reasons why I read. This is also the reason why I don’t only want to read stories of individual triumph. While we do need more narratives where ladies succeed, I don’t want to forget the ones who couldn’t because the game was so heavily rigged against them. (Though obviously there’s a big difference between these and gratuitously punitive narratives.)
But what much of that “lean-in” culture doesn’t acknowledge is that we do, in fact, operate at a disadvantage heaped on us by the assumptions of people in power, and thus some are able to “lean-in” more than others. If I’m working a retail job and demand $10.50 an hour instead of $10, in most cases they’ll be happy enough to let me go and replace me with some other hard-up person for $10 an hour. No contest. That’s the game. That’s how it’s rigged. And this doesn’t even touch on how someone will react to this assertion if you’re also a person of color, or gay, or trans, or an immigrant, or acting “too uppity” for how they believe someone of your “kind” should behave. In some cases, “acting uppity” will be met not with mere job loss or scowling, but violence.
You can fight all you want for individual wins, and fight to be the “exceptional” woman, but so long as there’s institutionalized oppression, bias, and unregulated, out-of-control capitalism that treats people as disposable objects, you’re an exception, not a rule. So long as the people with the power – to hire and fire you, approve or deny your loan, or write up your speeding ticket – look at you through the lens of institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other –ism they’ve learned from stories, videos, media, and other biased individuals, a single win means nothing.
We cannot effect true change alone.
- Related link I shared some time ago: Susan Faludi on the pitfalls of the “Lean In” movement.
- I’ve been thinking about this video constantly ever since I watched it. It’s thoughtful, passionate, articulate, and worth sharing widely:
- Unpacking an Erotic Icon: The Sexy Librarian:
In the end, the icon of the sexy librarian is about disempowering women who dare not only to move through public spaces but to exercise power, however limited (through the iconic librarian’s iconic “shhhh!”), by unveiling and conquering the sexual being hidden beneath her unassuming exterior. The image of the sexy librarian reminds us that, regardless of their appearance or accomplishments, women are first and foremost sexual objects. And that’s pretty much business as usual for American masculinity....or Western European masculinity.
- Patrick Ness judges Round 3 of the School Library Journal’s Battle of the Kids’ Books and picks between Far Far Away and the amazing Boxers & Saints. Along the way, he talks about what we expect from YA literature and CBAITs (Crappy Books About Important Things):
Boxers & Saints is exactly what I’d like to demand from YA literature, from ALL literature, for that matter: the truth, breathtakingly, intelligently told, through characters who act like real human beings, and a recognition that this is a world with endless, multiple endings, happy and otherwise, all leading on to more and more amazing questions.
- Here’s a piece on what it’s like to have my dream job.
- Inclusive Reviewing: A Discussion at Strange Horizons is well worth reading.
- Awesome tumblr of the week: Corpus Libris.
- Speaking of cool tumblr blogs (if I may say so myself), The Friendship Zone would love your submissions. You can read a little bit about the project here; if you have anything to share, please do send it our way.
- Lastly, Megan Whalen Turner is on tumblr!