Speak Out

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A couple of weeks ago, the news broke about Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg and the dialogue they had published in the SFWA Bulletin.  They were complaining about how once upon a time, “lady writers” and “lady editors” didn’t worry so much about all this equality nonsense.  If male SF writers wanted to judge them on the basis of their looks, those ladies were appropriately grateful.  Not like these young whippersnapper women trying to write SF today, as if women’s tiny brains could ever possibly understand such complicated subjects as…you know, science.  They were being bullies, and thought they were well within their rights to behave that way.  Suddenly, after people began calling them out on their behavior,  the word ‘censorship’ was being flung around, directed at all the folks who didn’t like Resnick and Malzberg’s comments.  A number of writers have been talking out here in internet-land, and Jim C Hines has gathered their thoughts all in one place for your convenience.

I just finished appearing at ConCarolinas, a wonderful SFF con in Charlotte, NC.  On Friday night, I sat on a panel called “Writing The Other” which was about putting aside one’s privilege in order to create characters who were not the same gender, race or sexual identity as oneself.  The moderator introduced herself to the room and included the fact that she is currently a Marine Corps aviator, specifically piloting C-130 aircraft.  An older man in the audience (alsp a con guest) raised a hand, and with the most condescending tone, told her that there was no such thing as a Marine aviator.  The Marines had soldiers, he said, but only the Air Force had real aviators.  The moderator didn’t rip the guy a new one (even though she’d have been well within her rights to do so, and I think the whole panel would have been cheering her on) but she calmly managed to let the man know he’d angered her.  He insisted it was all just a joke and that he teased some family member the same way, and the panel moved on.

I wanted to think it was a one-time mistake, but the next day, that same man was moderating a panel I was on.  Three separate times he referred to me not as ‘Misty’ or ‘Ms Massey’ but as ‘the young lady.’  There were three of us on the panel, and I had my name card propped right in front of me, so figuring out my name wasn’t difficult.  The problem was in how he perceived me.  I was not a writer to him.  I didn’t need a name.  He couldn’t even catch on that I was a 50-year-old woman.  To him, I was the token girl in the room.  I was furious at him and at myself  for not calling him out in front of everyone.  I should have, because bullies depend on their victims keeping quiet.  I was ashamed of myself for letting it go by.

Was this the most horrible thing that’s ever happened to me?  Hardly.  I could share the stories about men in writing groups telling me that there were no such things as female pirates, so I must have been on drugs when I came up with the idea.  Or the time I was 15 and babysitting my little sister while she played in a park and a middle-aged stranger interrupted my reading to tell me that I was “built like a woman”.  This time, the offense was minor, thank the stars.  Over the last two weeks, we’ve heard terrible stories from women in the community.  The trouble is that allowing bullies to get away with small cruelties increases their power sense, and tells them that bigger, more vicious attacks are also okay.  It’s time to make this crap stop.  Whether it’s coming from famous writers like Resnick and Malzberg, or local celebrities at a small con, whether it’s physical assault or verbal abuse, it’s still bullying.  If you’ve been a victim, tell someone.  Tell a trusted friend.  Tell the world.  On your blog, or someone else’s.  Hell, tell me right here if you want to.  I’ll listen.  But don’t try to pretend that whatever happened to you isn’t important.  It is.  Speak out. 

 

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37 comments to Speak Out

  • For just a split second, a part of me wondered if I should leave any comment at all today. It’s not that I disagree with anything Misty has said here. I don’t. It’s not the post isn’t beautifully and powerfully written. It is. It’s not that I don’t believe Resnick and Malzberg should be banned from ever again publishing their column in the SFWA Bulletin. I do. (That’s not censorship; it’s recognition that their time has passed and their views have become outdated, irrelevant and offensive. They are entitled to write whatever they want. But SFWA does not have to use my dues money to give them a platform.)

    My concern was that, as a guy, my comment might be an intrusion on a discussion that I cannot fully understand or appreciate. Gender bias is wrong. Sexual assault is, in my view, an act of evil. But I can never fully understand the damage it does, because I have never suffered from it, and probably never will.

    Obviously I got over this and posted anyway. Because men have to stand up, too. I am a husband, a father of daughters, a friend to women who deal with these issues every day, in writing, or in other professions. And even if I wasn’t those things, I would still know that it is wrong. Women don’t need me to protect them or stand up for them, but it can only help the cause if I stand up beside them.

    The one thing I will disagree with in Misty’s post is the notion that she somehow betrayed weakness in that panel on Friday night. Everyone there gave tacit approval to what the moderator did. Everyone there is to blame. And maybe one of the men on the panel should have stood up and said, “Unless you intend to call us ‘Young Gentlemen” I would suggest that you use her name.” It’s that simple.

    We ALL need to stand up. We ALL need to speak out. And, Misty, I am standing and speaking right beside you.

  • Is there a place where we can read the original SFWA Bulletin?

  • The original was in a print-only publication, but there are scans here – http://radishreviews.com/2013/05/31/linkspam-53113-edition/

    Scroll down past the links.

  • Yeah, I’ve been following Chuck’s blog about it. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/06/10/25-things-to-know-about-sexism-misogyny-in-writing-publishing/comment-page-1/#comments

    It’s sad, it really is, that this junk still goes on. Worse, that others don’t understand how big a deal it is. Some of the comments from an occasional guy on the blog sort of floored me.

  • Amy Bauer

    The terrible thing is how insidious sexism is. I like to think I’m thoughtful about sexism but I have gone through Internet arguments and only later on realized how patronizing someone was being to me because I am female. I would like to think I would have called out the guy on your panel if I was in the audience but I think what is most likely is that I would have sat there and since you didn’t seem to be having a problem with it I wouldn’t have said anything because everyone likes to be called “young” right? It’s only when you really think about it that it’s obvious how sexist it is. Thank you for the post. I think that there needs to be more thoughtful discussion like this so that women realize they are not being too “thin-skinned” when they demand to be treated with respect.

  • I’m so sorry, Misty. I know EXACTLY how you feel about not speaking up.

    On the one hand, I don’t want to be treated that way and it makes me feel uncomfortable and complicit. But on the other hand, if I rock the boat, I feel like I will perceived like *I’M* the one with a chip on my shoulder and being touchy.

    How often is “You just can’t take a joke,” a response when you call someone out on sexism?

    Also, http://everydaysexism.com/

    But yeah, the Bulletin was some BS. “Lady” this and “lady” that? Really? Just because my grandfather was from a “different time” in the South doesn’t mean it’s still okay for him to use racial slurs. Saying, “Well, I’m an ‘Old White Guy’ and women didn’t used to be so touchy,” doesn’t give license to act like women are “other” or second-class citizens.

    They’re just reinforcing how they wished the world worked and not the fact that women are independent actors in their community and not just amusing curiosities. I feel like they thought it would be okay because they didn’t even consider that men and women would bat an eye at their conversation.

  • Rhonda

    Daniel – if it was only “an occasional guy” then that comment thread was heavily moderated. Something about the subject seems to bring out the frothing in people who try to argue against but only end up proving the point.

    It’s one of the reasons that the majority of what I do/have ever done on the internet is under an ambiguous pseudonym. It’s a lot easier (and safer) to have opinions when you’re not immediately perceived as female. I still often feel this is a cowardly way to go about it, but it has meant that when I’m writing or conversing online about or in various male-dominated technical fields (I’m an engineer and I sometimes program computers for fun) the rest of the group reply as if I’m a human. The few times in those contexts that somebody found out I’m female before having accepted my skill level for what it is, their part of the conversation almost always immediately shifted to the topic of me being female. So, I didn’t lie directly, but I didn’t correct people when they used a male pronoun for me, and I let them assume I was male instead of the only female in the group.

    David – as much as I hate to say it, on this subject, yes, women do need the men to stand up. Not because we’re incapable, but because the people who most need to hear what we have to say won’t listen to someone unless they have a penis.

    Misty – speak out, yes – if you feel safe doing so. This isn’t always the case, so at the same time, don’t beat yourself up if you find you can’t speak out in every situation.

  • Rhonda: I’ve definitely avoided immediately revealing my gender in MMOs for the same reason! It’s like there’s sometimes to two kinds of players: “humans” and “girls”

  • “Women don’t need me to protect them or stand up for them, but it can only help the cause if I stand up beside them.”

    David, I’m so very glad you decided to post your comment. When we stand together, we’re all made stronger. *hugs*

  • Misty, I followed the Resnick / Malzberg discussion for a while but stopped. Resnick and I have a history — aired publicly at a con once (CC, actually, I think) and then continued in emails. Which I have saved. He is against anyone who is not just like him, who thinks differently, and who has the balls to stand up and say he’s wrong. (Yes. I have balls. Not testicles, which are superfluous in this context, but balls.) This time, I didn’t get in the middle of what was clearly a problematic and lifetime blindness on his part, and on the part of SWFA for not ending this situation immediately. And issuing an immediate apology. Yet another reason I’ve decided again not join this antiquated organization.

    That said, I totally understand you not standing up to a bully, while on a panel. There have been many times when I’ve been put down in public and not stood up for myself, because I know I’ll have a fight on my hands. And sometimes it isn’t worth it. Or I’m tired. Or … many other reasons. And then I’ve been mad at myself after. I love you and have the greatest respect for you. Thanks to your brave words here, the next time (and there will be a next time someone is stupidly racist, sexist, or any other -ist) we’ll all be ready to stand up together.

    This a teachable moment for us all. Thank you.

  • Hepseba ALHH

    Interesting, complicated topic. I think one good thing is that I still manage some level of surprise when this stuff happens. Because the majority of people in my generation really have been raised better. My husband occasionally describes his father as a racist – and yet, despite having a racist father, my husband had a black woman stand up as his best “man” at our wedding. (A black woman who, b.t.w., is now a physics professor).

    And, weirdly, we’ve been dealing with a low-level of this issue while buying a house. It’s true, I’ve let my husband deal with a lot of nitty-gritty of it but a) he’s more paranoid (careful) than I am, and b) he’s used to regularly interacting with vendors as part of his job. But my husband having to tell the realtor and the loan officer multiple times to “please email/copy my wife on communications; I’m freaking out of town this week” actually got pretty old. The most annoying was how they kept emailing my husband to get details about *my* employment – and the underwriter even decided he needed proof of my *past* employment – that I was really in gradschool in 2011. So my husband sent them a link to the thesis I wrote for my astrophysics Ph.D. – We didn’t hear any more on that subject.

    But I don’t (yet) just feel tired of all this. I still am mostly just floored – because the people I interact with most of the time are simple better than this.

  • Misty, I hear you on the issue of being so taken aback by what someone has said, and not knowing how to respond on the spot, and being angrier after about it. Twice in the past two weeks that has happened to me. It hasn’t been gender-related bullying, but it has been forms of bullying. The worst part is that by feeling the righteous anger after the fact because I’m too flabbergasted on the spot means that I wind up telling others what happened, and retelling the story more than once makes *me* feel like I’m in the wrong for holding onto those feelings. Should I have spoken up at the time? Would it have made a difference? Probably, but all I can do now is address those issues matter-of-factly the next time we meet. One of which proboably won’t be until next ConCarolinas.

  • Rhonda – Actually, Chuck takes all opinions on there, and tells them in his usual manner why they’re wrong when they are. 😉 Sorta what I like about his blog. He probably has deleted inflammatory posts on his blog, but for the most part, he’s pretty good about leaving the dissenting opinions up.

  • sagablessed

    First, I am sorry in this day and age you had to deal with that horse-puckey. It is sad beyond the pale.
    Misty, as a gay man, I completely understand being the recipient of discrimination. I also agree with Rhonda in stand up only when you feel safe. More than once I have had to deal with discrimination, and sometimes I bite my tongue as it kept me alive. Not joking: I am alive because I was silent.
    The sad thing is, in literary worlds, women are seen only as writers of ‘fluff’ as one misogynistic a-hole author put it. I do not name names as he is unworthy of mention.
    I have not followed the Resnick / Malzberg discussion, so can not comment on it.
    Keep peace when you can, and cut a b^^h when you have to.
    Faith, you and the ladies here do have some balls. WURK!

  • The following paragraph may not be what some here will want to read, but I feel I need to say it.

    I’ve known Mike Resnick for almost 20 years. While I won’t even try to defend what he said, I will say this. Mike may act the dirty old lech, but he is not sexist. He is intelligent and giving and has opened doors for many writers who happen to be women – some writing cutting-edge hard core science, others writing truly remarkable fantasy, others writing steam-punk, alternate history, even mainstream and romance. Is he opinionated? Yes. So am I. So is just about everyone.

    As to the overall discussion regarding bullying and sexism: I’ve been the target of both. I won’t say I was a victim of it, because I’m opinionated, and I’m not shy or retiring. When I worked for the military as a civil servant, a supervisor (not mine) questioned my qualifications for being assigned to a sensitive, classified job. He barely knew me. All he knew was that I was female and young. He talked to my co-workers about his “concerns.” One of those co-workers (male) told me. I walked into this supervisor’s office, slammed the door behind me, and told him I demanded a full, public (as in, in front of my co-workers) apology or I’d haul him in front of the Ethics Board. In another instance, someone in a meeting I was chairing said something to the effect of, “… humor the little lady.” I pinned him to his chair with a fingernail to the chest and informed him that this Little Lady could have his job and if he wanted to keep it, he’d better sit down and listen. There was dead silence for three full heart-beats, then applause.

    Bullying only survives when people don’t stand up against it. Sexism, racism, -ism of your choice is wrong and needs to be challenged. There may be times when you get poo-poo’d, but I think you’d be surprised at how many times others were just waiting for someone else to be brave enough to say something.

  • kwlee

    Oh my. As a man, I too am hesitant to comment on this particular thread. However, I do have an opinion, and I feel it must be stated.

    I think bullying and sexism can go all directions, from men to women, and from women to men. Not to make comparisons with what anyone else has experienced, but certain memories have remained with me where my competence was ridiculed as being “just like a man!” Granted, I was young and I *had* forgotten a pen to take notes down with. But, to degenerate my entire gender due to my own forgetfulness was a bit much. And I do remember having to lift my chin and ignore my ex-wife’s friends when they got together. So, I honestly don’t think that anyone is truely immune to bullying and sexism.

    As to Misty’s particular instance, and aside from being horrified by the rather blantant sexism displayed, I am also appalled by the lack of professionialism shown by the moderator. Having never been to a Con before, perhaps that is the way people are. But, if you are the big dog in the room, or believe you are, you represent authors everywhere… and for those neophytes, like myself, who might have never seen a panel before and may never see one again, all we’re left with is the memory of some neanderthal making fun of a member of our armed services and/or the volunteer panel.

    Anyhow. Sorry it had to happen. Personally, I’d have asked him to meet out back by the dumpster to straighten things out. But I suppose that wouldn’t have been very professional of me either.

  • quillet

    Misty, we all suffer from those day-after if-onlies. Sometimes you don’t quite recognise the bullying while it occurs because it’s so damn sneaky: poison delivered with a polite smile. Sometimes you’re so shocked during the event that the brain simply reels. Or there can be a million other reasons (see Faith’s comment for some). Often, the perfect comeback doesn’t occur until later — like when you’re trying to sleep but can’t because you’re stewing. And stewing. Grrrrr. But maybe you can channel that into your writing, and let a character say the perfect comeback for you! Not just as therapy for yourself, but to get the message out there another way, maybe. Bullies can be stood up to after the fact, and in other ways than a face-to-face confrontation.

    In fact, you’re doing it right now, with this post. Which is all kinds of awesome.

  • quillet

    ?? Messed up an italics tag there. Sorry!

  • Hepseba ALHH

    Just to add a comment follow on what kwlee said – I feel like sexism can be and has been a lot more damaging to women professionally, but right now it is a lot more insidious toward men because most instances there are still seen as socially acceptable.

    On more than one occasion I have been horribly incensed by one of my husband’s co-workers because of her derogatory views on father-hood, as if his being able to immediately rattle off my daughter’s age in months has *any* bearing on his parenting – but in her view that’s, “Just like a father.” Largely, of course, I get so angry with these incidents because I’m very proud to have a husband who is such a wonderful father.

  • Hepseba ALHH

    And, to bring things (my own comments) back around to writing, I strongly agree with the others who have stated the importance of story – books and movies – in combating all of those insidious -isms. So many of those damaging thought-patterns lie hidden beneath the surface, but can really be affected by things like seeing a bunch of movies with woman presidents, or black scientists, or any number “different” things. And genre fiction is particularly useful in that regard because of its more open boundaries.

    Recently, I was annoyed with myself because I was surprised to find out that a black woman I had met recently is married to a white man. Why was I so surprised!? I felt like a bigot. Particularly as all of the black people I know are actually paired with Caucasians. And then later on I was thinking – wouldn’t it be nice if movies depicted more inter-racial couples? Certainly there are already plenty shown out there, but very rarely are they in a movie casually, just as a “well, a decent fraction of couples are inter-racial” reflection of reality – rather than, “these two are special, see how well they’re doing.” Books and movies are *wonderful* for pushing people to see where society has had big, gaping misconceptions, but you know they’ve *really* succeeded when they’re no longer making any sort of big deal out of it.

  • “And then later on I was thinking – wouldn’t it be nice if movies depicted more inter-racial couples?”

    And not just as ooh look how hip this director is for casting an interracial couple, but just because those were the two actors who fit the roles properly. This is one reason I love British television. Maybe it’s just the shows I watch, but they seem to have interracial couples appearing all the time, and it feels as natural and normal as it ought to. My own beautiful nieces are biracial, and I’d love for movies to feature more families that look like theirs.

  • Razziecat

    Thank you, Misty. This needed to be said.

    This, too, needs to be said: Having helped women in the SF community does not preclude an underlying sexist viewpoint. It is possible for someone to DO or SAY a sexist thing (or racist, or ageist, or what have you) without even realizing it. Because certain beliefs and attitudes are so ingrained, so normal, so everyday and ordinary, that he (or, yes, she) does them without thinking, acting out of their comfort zone. It hurts to be brought up short and told that “what you did or said was offensive, and here’s why.” But if anyone should be open to new ideas, open to learning, open to reaching out and trying to understand, it’s people in the SF community! None of us are perfect. If someone says hey, what you did/said was offensive and here’s why, we owe it to ourselves, our readers, our fellow writers and the community at large to LISTEN and LEARN. No one is too old to do that. Some are just too close-minded and too defensive.

  • When I was in grad school back in the 70s there was only one female professor, and the vast majority of the male professors made it clear that women weren’t really welcome, and certainly women authors weren’t really worth studying. My thesis advisor (who was actually very cool, and so didn’t get tenure) actually advised me against writing my thesis on a woman writer because he was concerned the other faculty members wouldn’t see it as serious scholarship. The fact that this kind of thing still happens depresses me so much I can barely stand to think about it.

    And for some reason I find it even more disheartening when it happens in SF/F. I guess it’s because these are people I feel are like me in some fundamental way, and that those who love these fantastic and imaginative worlds, as reader or writer, will have more open minds and be more willing to accept everyone. Illogical on my part, I know. But I want somewhere I can go where gender, age, religion, race, sexual orientation–where none of that matters, and it just seems like SF/F should be that place.

  • Alex

    I’m going to offer a bit of a different perspective. I was at the Writing the Other panel. If the… gentleman you’re referring to is the one I’m thinking of, he wasn’t just “sexist.” He was all around boorish all weekend.

    He was overly familiar with several published writers before, during, and after panels (it wasn’t until the second time someone asked who he was that I realized he wasn’t actually pals with anyone). He loudly opined on politics, religion, history, literature, whatever with the air of someone who is an unquestionable authority. Every time I encountered him over the course of the con, he was making obnoxiousness an art form.

    The master stroke was one of the writing workshops. He attended, read first, and received lavish praise for his 100 word piece (I thought it was just above “See Spot Run” myself, but I suppose I could have been biased by that point). He then faked a phone call, left, and didn’t sit through anyone else’s reading and feedback – which was one of the rules for attending.

    Some people are just that way. Letting them get under your skin gives them a sort of power over you, IMO. Spending more time and effort on them than a snide remark assigns them the importance they seem to be looking for.

  • mudepoz

    Damn. I missed that panel. Hasn’t this changed at all? I remember 20 years ago presenting a paper at a large conference. My advisor told us (he had three female grad students, all of us with various shades of red hair) to submit with just our initials. When we picked up our badges the woman behind the desk commented that she didn’t realize we were women.

    And why would that have been important?

    We’ve come so far in so many areas, but there are still those that don’t get it.
    I’m sorry that happened to you. I did read about the SFWA on somebody’s FB page. Guess I’m just as bad, I scanned, but didn’t grasp the import.

  • It is often hard to realise what is happen as it happens because we are pre-occupied with other thoughts. It would be easy to miss the use of “young lady” instead of a name if you are thinking of what to ask or what to say. None-the-less I’m always reminded of Edmund Burke in 1770 who wrote:
    “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
    or to paraphrase:
    Evil can only prosper while good men (hey, it was 1770) stand idle.
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge made a similar point in the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner when, after the captain shoots the albatross, they don’t immediately condemn his actions and so make themselves a part of the crime.

    Since the birth of my daughter my stance on this has become firmer as the reality of gender bias has become more noticeable to me.

  • I am rather more disturbed by the above-expressed mentality that it’s fine or even desirable to censor distasteful opinions, than I am by said opinions (and I’m in a profession where I’m subject to all manner of JimCrow-ism, far stronger than anything you’ll ever see about gender). Free speech isn’t just for speech you agree with or that doesn’t offend you. It’s for all speech. Remember that in another generation, YOUR opinions might be the politically-incorrect ones that others will see fit to deprive of a voice.

  • Hepseba ALHH

    @Reziac: I very much agree with you that suppression of outside ideas is something that we must strive against. Too often, common wisdom has been later revealed as mere popular superstition. However, there is a certain danger inherent in a tolerant moral lifestyle. I believe tolerance is highly valued by most Americans, but by its very nature it is vulnerable and handicapped. Therefore, we must walk a fine line, tolerating those who play by the rules and express their views fairly, while actually being intolerant of those who delight in exploiting that weakness.

  • “Tolerance” is a pretty touchy word, to be perfectly honest. That was one of the first lessons we learned in Social Geography – by saying you “tolerate” a people or thing implies that you put up with it though you’d really rather not. The word we were urged to use instead was “acceptance”. Which doesn’t mean that you can’t disagree, just that you be willing to have fair dialogue about it.

  • Reziac, there’s a difference between expressed opinions and bullying behavior. While I absolutely agree that freedom of speech is vital, I also know that words can be weapons, and they should be wielded with care. No one is calling for censorship – we’re calling for kindness and decency.

  • Alex, you and I weren’t the only ones to suffer through the guy. The con has received a number of complaints about him.

  • Johnathan Knight

    @Alex, I do believe you might be thinking of the wrong person. I was at the workshop you’re mentioning, and I remember the individual who took a phone call and left. That was my only experience with him at the con.

    But I don’t think it was the same person. Clearly, Misty doesn’t want to mention him by name, but (after checking the con schedule) I think I know the guest she’s talking about. Well, I don’t *know* him. But I think I think I know which guest he was. Anyway, if I’m right, for whatever it’s worth, I don’t think it’s the same person you’re thinking of.

  • @Reziac> Free speech, as others have said, is not the same as a guaranteed platform. So the idea that saying SWFA shouldn’t allow a platform for sexist insult is NOT saying such people should be forbidden or prevented from speaking (or indeed the same as ever writing for SWFA again). The people in question have several other options including their own webpages, etc., and their own supporters. In this day and age, free speech is especially easy to exercise. Post it on facebook. Post it on your own webpage. Post in on magical words. Email it as a letter to an editor. It’s all possible. Don’t mistake people being happy with posts as trying to silence them, or people telling someone to shut up as censorship. Telling someone to shut up is free speech, too. 😀

    As for the guy at CC. *sigh* He was just what he seemed to be. I had a moment on a panel where I told him he was being an elitist and he should stop (on the Firefly panel). He said Hollywood had no new ideas. I pointed out there were no new ideas (not since Greece, and probably earlier). He was all pretentiousness. I cut off the sexism before it started though with a(n equally pretentious) “I have a PhD. He just looked stunned. I probably was out of line since I was in the audience, but I’d kind of had it (and since it was Friday night, it was a bit early to have had it with him).

  • After the last LosCon, I decided I’d had enough of the rampant patriarchalism and outright disrespect for younger/female/non-insider writers and simply wasn’t going to go back. (And for the record, the misogyny was coming from some women too, not just men – the female moderator of a panel on how to write strong female characters kept referring to such women as “just men with breasts” and actively shushing female questioners and panelists so she could invite male audience members to express their opinion of what made a strong female character and what defined femininity. Because I really NEED a man to tell me how to be a woman. But I digress.)

    I had made up my mind just to never attend again, but now I’m re-thinking that position. If I’m invited to be a panelist again, would it be better to accept and use that opening to be a voice against sexism? Or should I just turn them down and let them know why?

  • Emily, you were not out of line at all. I loved it!

    Sarah, I can’t really say whether or not you should go to LosCon again. You’re the only one who can really make that call. If you go, yes, you can be that voice. But if you don’t, and you tell them why, you’re still being a voice for change. 🙂

  • I wanted to respond to Lyn’s comment (last, as usual) by saying that Mike Resnick does indeed do good things for the community. That doesn’t preclude learning to be polite and think forward. The discussion he and I had on a panel was not pleasant and was a clear indication of his backward thinking and his elitism, which persisted in our lengthy emails after the event. Doing the right thing by lifting people up in one area doesn’t mean you can put people down in others. Just sayin’.

  • Misty,
    I totally understand where you are coming from. We were guests at a con in Atlanta at the beginning of May (Outlantacon) and when we were finished doing a panel which went quite well someone asked why I had not done science panels before. Men like that one at CC are the reason why.

    Now I have a B.S. and M.S. in biomedical engineering and worked at the FDA for 14 years. I deal with male scientists and engineers on a daily basis, luckily because I have specialists knowledge I don’t have too much of a problem on my day job.

    However, on the con scene there are still older men and women who have know me for 20 years or more who are still shocked to hear that I am a scientist. I have a friend who is a male scientist and every con I go to where he is also present he makes me wear a scientist tag on my badge because we were once in a panel on new technology, he was on the panel but I was an audience member. Someone asked a question about medical devices and he as moderator told me to answer it. Older panel members objected until he told them to shut it because I was an FDA employee (at the time), was the most qualified person in the room to answer the question and I didn’t do panels because of people like them. They just sat there stunned.

    I answered the question and the woman who asked it told me afterwards that she could see why I didn’t volunteer for panels.

    I think I am going to volunteer for panels next year at CC because our friend David Weber is coming. I would love to do some research and edit yourself panels with him.