Him: “I’m the boss and you’re nothing.”
Her: “I guess that makes you the boss of nothing.”
Subversive is a word I learned from my mother. She is the Queen of doing something great with virtually nothing. She taught me that no matter how oppressive a system can be, there’s a way around it if you’re creative and persistent enough. She taught me that one can use the system against itself, and sometimes that’s the best approach because ramming your head against the concrete wall not only doesn’t budge the wall–it results in a concussion. It’s sad, but a lot of the time that’s what’s going through my head as I write. However, that can be a trap in and of itself. Just as Jennifer Kesler says in her article “Why film schools teach screenwriters not to pass the Bechtel test.” minorities are often told to go along with the system “Just at the start. When you gain power you can press for change.” But here’s the deal: they never gain power. They’re always having to prove themselves. The ground is always shifting underneath them. So, the system perpetuates itself by getting the victimized to promote a system that oppresses them.
Another one I often hear is “Don’t like it? Don’t buy it!” No problem. That’s something I live by. This leads to my not buying comic books. People tell me I’m missing something. Occasionally, I’ll venture forth–more often not. Because it feels exactly like Laura Hudson describes here and frankly, I’ve been through enough of that garbage that I’m not willing to put up with more–not by choice and certainly not in my entertainment. The thing that angers me most is that women are asked over and over, “Why don’t women [fill in the blank white male dominated activity] more often?” Yet, when women bother to answer, they’re bullied and/or threatened into silence all over again or told they’re being bitchy or at best, simply blown off. You know, what, guys? Don’t ask the question if you don’t want to know the answer. Don’t bother with the flimsy justifications. Frankly, we’ve heard them over and over. They don’t matter. They only amount to “I don’t wanna change!” Fine. Don’t. But again, don’t freaking ask the damned question. Women aren’t going to magically change into men–no matter how much we’re pressured to do so. You wouldn’t like it if we did, anyway. Regardless, we all know the reason these things happen is because there aren’t more female writers being hired at places like DC Comics and fill in the blank game company. We know that isn’t likely to change either, alas. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the apalling “Geek Girl” panel titled “Oh, you sexy geek” at the last ComicCon. That’s a whole other level of depressing/frustrating.
All in all, you’d think that SciFi/Fantasy culture with its reputation for exploring difference would be fine with… oh, I don’t know… difference–even if the difference is as small as gender. As it turns out, not so much. Maybe it’s the economy? There is a theory that the worse the economy gets the shorter the skirts become. (Statistically, domestic violence goes up during economic downturns as well.) Nonetheless, it seems like the older SciFi gets, the more stuck it gets. A lack of diversity–whether it’s racial, class, or gender related–is a complicated problem with multiple criss-crossing factors. I wish I knew the answer. I don’t. If it were easy to solve, it’d be resolved already. But frankly, if the SciFi community doesn’t work to resolve the issue, SciFi is done for. As Kameron says, it’ll kill the creativity that keeps it alive and vibrant. And honestly, that would make me even more depressed.