January 15th, 2009


This is the really short version.

It may get longer and full of ObRefs and anecdotes like the outline of it is in my head. But at least it's down on digital paper and up for argument, unlike my attempt to address this exact same blogosphere event the first time it happened starting on the exact same blog which got to be pages and pages of incoherent free association and then got eaten in a computer crash. Via just about everybody now, via shewhohashope originally.

Disingenuousness & Denial

Here's the thing.

We ALL, for that given value of "all" that doesn't include luminaries like Frank Miller or Josh Tyler or any of their vast squadrons of defenders and fellow-feelers,, understand about Appropriation and Safe Spaces when it's Sexism or Homophobia, except that Sexism and Homophobia against PoCs doesn't even appear on the mental horizon for all too many of us white liberal feminists/GLBT/allies. There's imo a dual bad situation going on here in the refusal to extrapolate from one's own experience of being marginalized and invalidated to the rights of other people not to be marginalized and invalidated even by one's own precious self, and even before that, in the failure to even be aware that other people are being marginalized and invalidated, even as one is oh-so-alive to one's own group's negative treatment in the arts and entertainments of our day.

If you, as a white woman, or a white GLBT reader, or a white progressive straight/guy who considers yourself to be feminist or a queer ally, have EVAR been horrified to pick up a book and find that all the female characters in it are monsters or nonentities, helpless damsels or conniving poisoners or vapid bimbos or frigid killers, that IF (and it's a big one) there are any GLBT characters at all, they are picked from a very small stable of similarly repellent and unrealistic stereotypes, and the author doesn't even seem to realize that they've told a story in which anyone who isn't a straight [white] guy is an Unperson, existing only to be used as a prop, a thing to be bounced off of, to provide stage cues for the Hero's psychodrama, and doesn't understand and isn't sympathetic as to why this "light entertainment" is neither light nor entertaining for you, the [white] female/gay/lesbian/bi/trans reader, who only gets to see yourself in the role of villain or victim or foil or fool, and you don't ALSO turn IMMEDIATELY and listen and understand when someone ELSE comes along with a book and is horrified that there are no characters who aren't white who aren't repellent stereotypes, if you get all shirty about How DARE You Complain About Something That Doesn't Bother ME, How DARE You Complain About Something I Like, How DARE You Fail To LOVE Appreciate Something I MADE!?!

--well, if you do that, then go and do this right away:
1. Find a flashlight.
2. Find two mirrors.
3. Prop the mirrors up at right angles to each other.
4. Turn the flashlight on.
5. Looking into the mirrors, point the flashlight into your left ear.
6. Upon seeing the light shining out of the reflection of your right ear, call 911 (if you are in the US) and report a stolen brain promptly.

--This is being nice, for me. Honestly.

And if you seriously can't cope with the thought that somebody, somewhere, is not only not going to like something you've made, but gasp! may even have a valid criticism of it, then you should not be putting anything you create out in public. Don't karaoke, don't enter dance recitals, don't open-mike at the poetry slam nights, don't paint murals, don't write LTEs, don't blog, don't post fanfic, and don't for the love of Sarasvati publish a book commercially. It will only end in tears. (Assuming it doesn't end in swords, prisons, and/or graves, as Messrs. Dekker, Marston, and particularly Spencer could tell you something about.)