Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The 50% problem.

I believe 50% of CEOs, in a perfect world, should be women. But 50% would still be men, so I feel like I can't pick out a specific company and say "fire the man; this one should be run by a woman."

I believe 15% (or whatever; some, and not "basically none unless this is a Designated Gay Movie") of love stories should be non-heterosexual, but this leaves 85% heterosexual, so there's no one book or movie I can point to and say "no, really, why doesn't Harry end up with Ron?"

(Or, like, Ron and Hermione, but I'm pretty resigned to the fact that polyamory is a complete non-option in polite society.)

This puts feminism in the awkward position of being surrounded by obvious inequality, but no precise place to begin change, because the problem is systematic rather than localized. Protesting any single political appointment for being "yet another man" isn't right--but it's infuriating when nearly all of them are, yes, yet another man.

See, if feminists just wanted to take over the world and grind men down, this shit would be easy. But when you believe that of course lots of men do deserve positions of power in addition to women, it becomes really hard to know what to say when you're told for the millionth time "this was a tough decision because there were so many good [male and female] candidates, but we decided to promote Ed! For all his hard work! Everyone congratulate Ed!"

And you know, Ed probably is a super hard worker.

53 comments:

  1. Excellent post, with one little, itty bitty correction. It's Draco that ends up with Harry post-Epilogue. :)

    But really, you're very eloquent and I love the way you express these issues and your stand on them (which I find myself nodding along to).

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  2. I get this guilt and resentment from being a white man. Guilt because the world is run by white men, but resentment that I should feel guilty about something I'm not responsible for.

    It helps that I have absolutely no power, though.

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  3. One word: THIS.
    one more word: drarry <3

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  4. Somedy I will publish a novel that ends with a poly relationship. AFTER the series has become a bestseller, so that the publishers are stuck with it. :P I can dream.

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  5. Actually there are quite a few fantasy series that have interesting poly relationships. Often they're a sort of "they HAVE to be in poly relationships because of XYZ" kind of thing but in the end they work. Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry Gentry series and Anita Blake series both feature women who are committed to multiple male partners. There is the usual jostling for which man will "win" but most of the time the women choose a poly situation over a monogamous one. Of course it's telling that this type of romance usually only occurs in fantasy novels.

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  6. It's always intriguing to consider the push of minority groups for equality, despite their almost universal lack of parallel acknowledgment (and in fact, often parasitic competition).

    Every minority or "group"(however arbitrarily arranged) other than old christian white guys can point out the lack of representation of their group... But women are considered at only the tail end of even their own minority groups, so I suppose it makes sense to start there...

    So that being the case, I'll make the obvious point: Whether due to society/genes/etc.. there are currently more aggressive men willing to step on women to get to those positions. It only takes one formidable aggressor to taint an otherwise pure system: A thief spoils the open market, a con artist causes us to question identity, etc... As such, playing "equals" *cannot possibly* work in any logical model where the players do not begin on level ground.

    Much as with racism, a key element in women's equality is going to unfortunately be the passing of a previous and incorrigible generation (or three...) of *both* men who feel they are superior, and women who are acclimated to their role.

    Here's more food for thought: consider the correlation between societies which value tradition or cultural heritage, and the strength of women's rights. ......it's not pretty. Telling people to absolve themselves of their cultural identity since it makes them bad and biased does not go over well at all. However(!!!) most youth from these societies are showing substantial progress, and there is a great deal of hope in that.


    I'm a white guy, and the worst effect racism I've experienced was nausea after seeing what great favoritism I've been shown in a 3rd world country... and that's not exactly grounds for empathy. Still, from a logical perspective, I can only say that having great focus and interaction with today's youth, and instilling in them a sense of true equality and (more carefully...) entitlement is a proven model for progress.

    I do my part by volunteering at youth centers, meeting with underprivileged groups around the world, and donating a lot of books, but I honestly feel it's going to take some major population control and technological advancement/access to really establish things on a global level...

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  7. As said above, Harry doesn't get with Ron because he's meant for Draco <3
    >_>

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  8. I think focusing on the outcomes is mostly a mug's game. As an example, American CEOs mainly focus on short-term results, but this leaves them unable to grapple with longer-term problems. Thus our financial crash, and the hollowing out of so many American companies. Plus the parade of idiocy and waste any employee of a large corporation is familiar with.

    Lasting change comes from focusing on the system. It takes longer, but the upside is that people paying attention to the outcomes don't notice until it's too late. E.g., giving women control of fertility increased their opportunities for education and their economic power, which shifted power at home, which gave their daughters greater opportunities yet. And now women are a majority of college students, and in a way that's much harder to change than, say, a simple 50% admissions requirement.

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  9. Still, in the case of Harry Potter books, we can ask why absolutely no one, not even a minor character, ends up in a homosexual relationship. (One old, dead homosexual character whose only implied relationship was with a monster, and who isn't even explicitly gay in the books, doesn't really count.)

    Similarly, in the case of companies, we can ask whether a company is sexist if they don't have even intermediate-level directors who are women.

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  10. @Anon

    Wasn't the Harry Potter story supposed to originate from something the author made up for her kids? I'm all for equality in terms of sexual orientation, but having the sex talk with kids is hard enough, let alone having the gay sex talk.

    Huh, I remember my parents having the gay sex talk with my sibling. It was very awkward in fact...


    In any case, I know the story grew bigger than that, but I wouldn't be surprised if the author always wanted it to be that kind of presentation. When I was in Japan, I knew a family who taught their children English skills with those books, and they certainly would have hesitated if they had to explain homosexual relationships.

    I don't think it's a matter of right or wrong; kids see heterosexual couples and so they accept them without question. Adding homosexual relationships necessitates discussion which goes beyond the scope of the storytelling, and I don't feel it would have been "the progressive" thing to force them.

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  11. @ M4gast0n:

    How does having two gay characters in a relationship necessitate the 'gay sex talk' any more than Harry/Ginny necessitates the 'straight sex talk'?

    You're creating a false dichotomy here. My parents had that conversation with me when I was about six. It went like this: "You know how Mommy and Daddy are married? Sometimes two men get married to each other."

    Somehow, I grasped the general idea without an extensive explanation of gay sex.

    Gay people exist. Telling their stories is not 'forcing a discussion', it's just fucking honesty.

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  12. I'm certainly willing to say that Ohio Gov John Kasich needed to look at his cabinet selections in total and realize that the lack of diversity (not seen to this degree since 1962) is detrimental to success.

    Each individual may be qualified, but when you have a large and powerful group with no diversity, you miss out on huge opportunities. In that situation he needed to look at both the forest and the trees. It's not just about gender or skin color. It's about the entire socio-economic upbringing that goes into forming an adult.

    I was on a team of folks in college who were designing a logo for a company and they came up with an upside down pink triangle. And I was all like, "That's fine, but historically that symbol has this other meaning." NONE of them knew it. We may have all looked about the same but our slight differences allowed more knowledge to come into the group, helping them make an informed decision.

    When I'm planning an event I want someone on the team to say "wait, that date is Easter" or "how will folks in wheelchairs get to the bar" or "I've heard that DJ before and he swears like a sailor" ... I don't even know what questions will come up and the greater the differences in our backgrounds the greater the chances we'll be able to have an awesome event.

    I think people forget the benefits of diversity and just focus on the difficulty in achieving it.

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  13. M4gast0n - I think "aggression" matters less in business success (although it's important) than connections. Successful white guys aren't somehow go-gettier, but they're more likely to get sent to the good schools by their white guy dads, and at those schools they're more likely to bond with well-connected white guy buddies, and in interviews and at work they're more likely to impress white guy bosses.

    Oh, and as for your second comment: Telling kids about gay relationships is no more complicated, dirty, or "adult" than telling them about straight ones. I'm not advocating that JK Rowling write buttsex; I think that kids can read "Ron and Harry love each other and they like to hug and kiss and make each other happy" and understand it on that level just like they do with heterosexual relationships.

    "kids see heterosexual couples and so they accept them without question"

    EXACTLY. And if we let kids see homosexual couples more often and more normally, the same thing would happen. The younger you are when you're introduced to something, the easier it is to accept as just a natural part of the world.

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  14. You people are clearly wrong. Harry is straight.

    Remus and Sirius, on the other hand...

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  15. 300baud - Really, really excellent point. How many women are CEOs should be an indicator of success in opening up business to women, more than something to work on directly.

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  16. But what if women don't WANT to be CEOs? There are all sorts of reasons including socialization or biology, or just plain distaste for the life. If "Success in business" means "Devoting 90 hour work weeks and not taking a vacation." I'm outta there.

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  17. Interestingly, on the subject of poly/homosexuality in fantasy, Mercedes Lackey gets some mad props from me, because it's not "omg this relationship is such a big deal because it's a triad", it's more like "here we have Aerith and Bob, here we have Bob and Bob, and here we have Jane, Jane2, and Jane3", with the three relationships treated effectively the same way (though peoples' reactions to the relationships differ).

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  18. "I'm pretty resigned to the fact that polyamory is a complete non-option in polite society"

    Thank heaven for webcomics! ;)

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  19. Aaron: I was thinking Mercedes Lackey too. I'm not sure that one triad in the Valdemar books quite counts with what goes on around it, but there are a couple of really interesting relationships in her urban fantasy books.

    The only other SFF multiple relationship I can think of off the top of my head is the Alexander-Harringtons from the Honor Harrington series. It's kind of built like one of those "discount" technically-poly-but-really-vanilla relationships fiction does sometimes, but it does have an interesting multi-cultural aspect going on. And it was treated not as "god that's weird" but as "oh HELL why did we not think of this three years earlier."

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  20. Anon - "Maybe women just don't want to be in power" is a great way to justify just about any status quo. ...except the existence of the feminist movement and the gradual increase of the number of women in power as soon as it becomes possible.

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  21. I think to a certain extent you can say "In this situation, they should have chosen a woman." Like with your Ed example. In a case where you've got male and female candidates and they are all really close and it's a tough decision, you should probably go with the woman. If a woman is clearly more qualified than a man, unless the employer is more sexist than the norm, the woman will usually get chosen. But in situations where it's close, people are more likely to choose the man. This is a large reason why men are overrepresented in positions of power. In a lot of cases it's not that the equally qualified women aren't out there, it's that they are getting passed over because they weren't clearly MORE qualified than the men. Also, if men are overrepresented in positions of power at your company, you should make an effort to hire the qualified women until the gender ratio is equal. After that, don't make gender the conscious final deciding factor until and unless you see the inequality creeping back.

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  22. Yes, and not only that, the "equally qualified" woman, or minority-group man, may have had to overcome more obstacles to get to that "equally qualified" point, meaning that they may actually be made of sterner stuff than the more privileged candidate.

    flightless

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  23. The Same Anon As Last TimeFebruary 16, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    This brings up another point - I don't think the problem is as one-dimensional as biases and prejudices in the system, though I do understand that that's definitely a factor. I go to a school with a thriving debating society; we usually field 3-5 teams for each of the major national schools competitions every year. If you want to go, you go - membership in the society is not exclusive. However, I would generously estimate that only about 20% of its membership is female. The quality of the female debaters is no better or worse than their male counterparts' - indeed, probably the best debater in my year is a girl. There simply seems to be a more systemic reluctance on the girls' part to take part in this inherently active and aggressive activity.

    The point I'm trying to make is that the problem is not as simple as prejudices on the white guys' part - even if the people who decide on who gets to stand for election/become CEO/get whatever other high-flying job suddenly become unbiased and non-discriminatory, without a fundamental, sweeping change to the gender roles that are still in the 21st century (clichéd turn of phrase, I know) endorsed and pushed onto both women and men that 50% figure will remain a pipe dream.

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  24. Nentuaby: Heh, you picked both of my examples. I feel like the triad in Honor Harrington's example was perfect; I was unsurprised when I started socializing in the poly community just how many people have a very similar relationship to [spoilers].

    The Valdemar thing is a little weird because of the whole One True Love thing, but there is mention at one point of several stable triads in the ranks of the Heralds, in a very "well yeah, it's their business, and it works well for them!" way that warms my heart.

    I think poly is more likely to be socially (not legally, mind you) acceptable than open relationships, though. Open relationships... well, even my (often kinky, always geeky) friends are sometimes incredulous.

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  25. Funny story, I was a competitive debater for years.

    It's not about being "active and aggressive"--in fact, a good debater is not aggressive in the "GRRR" way but very good at politely and smilingly laying deadly traps.

    What keeps women out of debate is not our natural inability to debate (no doubt resulting from cavewomen's distaste for cavedebate) but the fact that it's a boys' club. It's a nerdy, rude, pushy boys' club. If you don't get along well with that kind of guy, your "natural aggression" won't do you shit.

    Hey, speaking of white guys--do black people naturally not want power? THERE ARE BIOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES, just look at their skin!

    Or is it just a teensy bit less comfortable for you to go there, huh?

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  26. The Same Anon AgainFebruary 16, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Holly, that's not *AT ALL* the point I was trying to make. God.

    I know I didn't make it very well, but what I was trying to say was that the issue was just as much about the gender roles society dictates men and women play as much as about prejudices by the decision-makers. Again, this is one of those times when it's very easy to appear like 'one of those people' when in fact I was just pointing out that it's not as an issue with the prejudices of the people in charge.

    I think an easy way to summarise my thoughts are that the problem is not only the prejudices that the decision-makers have, it is the prejudices that society instils in ourselves - women included - that are just as much the problem.

    Hence the entire last paragraph of my original post.

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  27. Um, OK, I realise the sense first paragraph there was lost in a number of revisions so here's take 2 on that bit of my comment:

    I know I didn't make it very well, but what I was trying to say was that the issue is just as much about the gender roles society dictates men and women play as it is about prejudices by the decision-makers. Again, this is one of those times when it's very easy to appear like 'one of those people' when in fact I was just pointing out that it's not as simple a problem as prejudiced decision-makers.

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  28. @Holly

    As for "biological differences" in race, I believe I started there ;) The story of William Bradford Shockley is quite interesting and relevant there...

    In any case, as for the storytelling aspect, I once again disagree about the inclusion of other types of relationships. As an ardent art hobbyist myself, I feel a deep personal connection to many of my creations, and wish them to represent my feelings. This doesn't NEED to be so, and *shouldn't* in many forms of public creations like journalism, murals, architecture, plays, etc..

    However, for materials which one creates essentially for oneself, forcing outside considerations is awkward and unnatural, regardless of the properness (which in turn is very subjective based on society).

    My feeling is that telling JK Rowling to include other types of relationship in any detail is the same as requesting that some person fantasizing about how wonderful their marriage will be images an arbitrary homosexual couple in attendance. Does it harm the story or cause unpleasantness? No, it should definitely not. However, it is an added factor which does not necessarily provide any pleasure as well, and is therefore difficult to justify unless one is clearly conscious of the cause.

    And if someone is conscious about that... why does the author not include a mention of global warming? Of overuse of plastics, and importance of alternative energy?

    I believe it is very easy to superimpose our own agendas onto existing models, and note with what ease we do so. However, it ends up becoming mental clutter which hampers the enjoyment for the writer/artist, and makes the beauty of creation something of a chore.

    Again, I believe that with the advancement of society, we will gradually come to take these things as so commonplace that they do naturally find their inclusion into our imagination. Until that time, the focus on inclusion would be better served on mass-production type projects like movies, advertising, and such, which are crafted through much more calculation, and less fanciful fluidity.

    Ms. Rowling would best do her part to assist by giving talks about the viability of a homosexual relationship in the world she laid out, and/or supporting (pointing out?) positive fan fiction or spinoffs with such that she supports.

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  29. M4gast0n - The thing is, though, gay people are normal. Not having gay people in your story because that would be an "agenda" is like going out of your way to not include anyone with blue eyes. (Fiction is no place to advance the blue-eyed agenda!) I'm not advocating Harry Potter and The Rainbow Acceptance Adventure, I'm advocating Harry Potter And Various Sorts Of Normal Person.

    This isn't about adding in gay people, it's about not excluding them.

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  30. @ M4gast0n

    So, basically...the only way to write about gay people is with an agenda? That's an interesting way of looking at it, I guess.

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  31. ...I feel like this conversation has so totally gone all sorts of ways away from the post, that I almost feel like a heel for adding to it. But away I go anyway!

    "...an added factor which does not necessarily provide any pleasure as well, and is therefore difficult to justify unless one is clearly conscious of the cause."

    Well, actually. It only "stands out" because it strikes us as "rare" because we live in a heteronormative society (in this case, but we could be talking about any kind of biased society that marginalizes certain groups.) If we did not, it wouldn't stand out as "odd" and there would be no "need" to "justify" the inclusion of "normal people in a story about other-wise-normal-people-with-fantastical-powers."

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  32. @aebhel
    "So, basically...the only way to write about gay people is with an agenda? That's an interesting way of looking at it, I guess. "

    If the author is unfamiliar with homosexual relationships, then "Yes", absolutely. If the author is not adequately confident in portraying such a relationship, and must hesitate or question their judgment in displaying it "properly" (something they wouldn't consider else-wise, even in showing a controversial heterosexual relationship), then any specific effort to include it fits well within the definition of the term "agenda".

    Now, I'm going to put words in Holly's mouth, and assume her reply to me aims to make the point that such effort or agenda wouldn't be a bad thing, as long as it substitutes a different controversial relationship, which could require intensive editing and consideration on its own.

    That's something I could agree with, since at that point it's become something targeted for mass-consumption, and bears the social responsibility of an extra few seconds to consider the other side.


    Fundamentally, I think the process would be broken though: people tend to write about what they know, and at 70%+, straight people don't know/empathize enough with the queer community -even if they try! I can sympathize, but not fully empathize. As such, there will be many books with only straight characters. Queer/homosexual authors may support the inclusion of characters which represent them, but sales figures will outweigh the general trend towards good.

    The greatest support I can offer for such arguments is that junk tabloids, and magazines like Maxim/Cosmo sell much better and are read more than progressive newsletters. Even the occasional anchor at the US' FOX news has been shown to be more intelligent and understanding than they let on, yet propagate filth media for popularity and profit (also radical agendas, but I doubt everyone there feels so strongly).


    Back to the post, and in juxtaposition, women in media as capable characters are progressing with measured success, and I think the greatest challenge those characters face is that sex sells, unfortunately reducing their meaningfulness. There really is a strong corporate effect, from both top and bottom..

    ...and with that I'm a little embarrassed about ranting all over your page Holly, but it is a great conversation. Many thanks.

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  33. Clarification:
    "different controversial relationship" - intended to mean controversy in how to depict, i.e. "a more difficult relationship for the author to include the way they want."

    Also: "agenda" is one of those more recently re-appropriated words, much like ideology, liberal, terrorism, etc.., and I meant it in its true sense, as something one undertakes as a directed effort. Ulterior motives are in no way intrinsic to the meaning outside of shady journalism. ..Or if they have (sadly) become so, then it was not the idea I wished to convey.

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  34. @Anon:
    What you're talking about is called "stereotype threat." It basically means that you're likely to suffer anxiety over a negative stereotype, often resulting in inadvertently conforming to it. This applies even if you do not consciously agree with the stereotype.

    For instance:
    If women and men are given a difficult math exam, and are informed that their scores will be categorized based on gender, women tend to score significantly lower than their otherwise no more capable male counterparts. When the same test is administered to participants who are assured that no distinction is to be made, the differences in score are negligible.

    From what I've learned, it applies to pretty much anything, in any context. So it's really not hard to see how it could be a factor in the corporate world.

    To clarify: performance/results are impacted due to complex subconscious processes based on expectations, not because "Have you ever noticed how [any group of people I'm not a part of] do [some culturally insensitive bullshit]?"

    Solution: Force people to revise their expectations.

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  35. @M4gast0n:
    If the author is unfamiliar with homosexual relationships
    If the author is not adequately confident in portraying such a relationship

    But but, isn't being unfamiliar and uncomfortable with a certain group of people the exact thing that prejudices are coming from? You're saying we can't really criticize an author for not portraying people of a certain minority if the author's unfamiliar with them and not confident in talking about them. But then that author is part of a prejudiced, white-straight-people only community, hasn't reached out from that community, and is writing fiction from inside that community, for people also inside that community. (And the publishers are choosing to publish and market that fiction, etc.) That is the exact thing we're criticizing here!

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  36. @Anon

    "But but, isn't being unfamiliar and uncomfortable with a certain group of people the exact thing that prejudices are coming from?"

    No, I don't believe it is. Prejudice against women, prejudice against blacks, and many other types of prejudice are blatantly apparent despite people being quite familiar with one another.

    It's a great fallacy that a lack of information or understanding is the root of the issue. Just as people bond together to insult other sports teams, it's often something primal and cruel which spurs prejudice of discomfort.

    I was talking about looking up information to write about it. If you seek a certain type of information for a specific use, then you will lack the full context to appreciate the full spectrum of its meaning. However, it's utterly impossible to understand all peoples and cultures, especially being able to grasp the positive nature of acts which we may view negatively - even IF culturally acceptable.

    Example: Chinese/Japanese use of shame to curtail unwanted behavior. I believe in many families this often is taken to the extent of emotional abuse by western standards. However, I am not anywhere near an appropriate place to judge. If someone outside the culture wanted to include something about this type of relationship in a story, say "The Joy Luck Club", it would contrast so dramatically with the ability to include a homosexual character, that it could not be reasonably included without a specific bias, EVEN IF homosexuality was commonplace in our culture.

    All cultures and understandings cannot be available to all people. I feel your comment references and ideal which is impossible, save for an extremely erudite minority.

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  37. @Anon

    My apologies, I attempted to rebut the beginning of your statement without consideration of the point. I was already in agreement with your final statement about the publisher's responsibility - in so far as any suggested changes were only made to sections which required amending already. e.g. a relationship in the story is poorly described and/or defined, and so the publisher suggests to the author to replace it, but do so with a non-traditional relationship.



    I think my previous post was logically correct, but I see an issue between our arguments is that many replies have focused on communities, while I address the issue as one of broad humanities. Perhaps it does make more sense to address the issue and begin with concentrated communities of acceptance, and grow and spread from there. In such a situation, my concerns about older generations are often moot, and even the economic aspect of profitability can be sated.


    As there is no ideal model of a society which has conquered all these issues, nor do I believe any can exist while humans are free to exercise their own ideology, perhaps I am just a pessimist. Profitability will go a very long way towards the "normalization" of any phenomenon, so as long as the publishers sell well, maybe that's all it takes, and I'd be delighted to see some top selling authors succeed in creating successful stories with believable and affable homosexual characters.

    It would only apply strongly to certain target demographics, but by my own beginning argument, it's the actions popular "western" nations take which influence much of the modernization of other cultures (for better or worse), so I suppose I must concede to having been a wet blanket.

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  38. "no, really, why doesn't Harry end up with Ron?

    Or, like, Ron and Hermione"

    Door into Fire is one of my favorite books, and the plot is pretty much like that. The Prince ends up with the hedge-wizard that's always getting him out of tight spaces and a couple other people I won't mention for spoiler purposes. :)

    Yeah, but neither poly nor same sex has caught on that much. :/

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  39. It IS scary to write "minority" characters as a "privileged" writer. You might get it very wrong and be accused of bigotry and stereotyping on the one hand or of token, slapped-on, superficial specialness on the other. You might get it more or less right and still be accused of exploitation and appropriation. If you get right, it's still only fair and normal and not deserving of any cookies.

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  40. Anon at 6:19 here

    @M4gast0n
    I wasn't really trying to analyze where prejudice comes from, psychologically. I was trying to say that not having enough information about $group and feeling uncomfortable to write about them is not a good excuse not to find out about them and stop actively excluding them. Staying in your privileged bubble is a choice, not a default state of being human. Anon at 2:39 is right, it is difficult and you rarely get a reward. But a huge author like J. K. Rowling, who is in her way portraying a whole generation of young British people, has a sort of a responsibility to try and include all kinds of regular people.

    J. K. Rowling might not have the possibility to find out about all the peoples of the world, nor should she attempt to. But she can find out about different kinds of young Brits. I'm not talking about books set in faraway places and times here, I'm talking about ones that are set in times and places similar enough to the modern western world that they seem to say "this is what we're like". And excluding, for example, sexual minorities says "...and what we're like is straight."

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  41. Why, there's an easy solution to the CEO problem: if a company was founded by a woman, feel free to point your finger, fire a male CEO and appoint a woman. That would be only fair, wouldn't it?

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  42. Anon - Yes, because founding a company has absolutely nothing to do with your connections, education, socialization, or freedom from childcare obligations, and everything to do with go-get-em-ness. Clearly women just don't got it!

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  43. Holly, you are talking about which world where women are deprived of connections, education or socialization?

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  44. THIS ONE BUDDY.

    No, not completely! That's the thing! Most obviously lots of women go to school and some of them have awesome business connections and lots of them are encouraged to succeed in the financial rather than family sphere!

    But less so than men. The fact that we don't keep women in little cages in the basement doesn't mean they're totally equal. It's actually kind of an in-betweeny situation, if you can imagine.

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  45. How long this in-betweeny situation is supposed to continue, another half-century or longer still? Really, how much longer y'all are going to blame your entitlement on being given less freedom than men?

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  46. We're going to be entitled to equal (not preferential! but ACTUALLY EQUAL, not "we gave you the vote and everything") treatment for... yeah, forever.

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  47. What, a request for non-hetero-normal relationships in fiction and NOT ONE Heinlein reference? I'm not THAT old, and that was the first place my mind went.

    And for all of the gay characters in Valdemar, the two most prominent ones that come to MY mind are, to put it uncharitably, whiny adolescents (Vanyel and Firesong) for large parts of their story arcs, and the third (An'desha) is legitimately adolescent. (ObDisclaimer - I read Mgic's price once and didn't care for it; I much prefer the stories set from Oathbound onwards to Mage Storms and am considering starting a re-read from there through the end of Mage Storms)

    OTOH, Honor's relationship with the Alexanders is unremarkable in-universe, ON GRAYSON. It's a massive issue on Manticore.

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  48. And _equal_ treatment means "if you want it to be yours - make it for yourself, not steal it from someone or grab for it on a pretext that you have a vagina." That is easy, you've got it for quite some time already. I wonder, what this topic is about tnen.

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  49. Wow, you totally knocked down the part of my post where I said we should fire random men and forcibly replace them with women. I stand totally corrected.

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  50. In my perfect world that might read like this: "I would want that everyone, who wishes so, had an opportunity to start their own business and run it all the way to their vision of success."

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  51. Hershele OstropolerFebruary 25, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    About Fortune 500 CEOs' genders: that's an illustration of Goodhart's Law: if there were no sexism, 250 or so of those companies would be run by women (though we might not notice), but it doesn't follow that if 250 Fortune 500 CEOs were women, there'd be no sexism.

    It IS scary to write "minority" characters as a "privileged" writer. You might get it very wrong and be accused of bigotry and stereotyping on the one hand or of token, slapped-on, superficial specialness on the other.
    As a straight would-be writer, I would have concerns that if I included a gay character, people would think I was Making A Point, especially if he or she were gay only because X% of people are. And I don't know how one would write a gay character without overemphasizing (that is, disproportionately mentioning) the character's sexual orientation and/or resorting to stereotypes. And putting a big neon signsaying "QUEER!" defeats the purpose.

    You might get it more or less right and still be accused of exploitation and appropriation. If you get right, it's still only fair and normal and not deserving of any cookies.
    It's high-risk and low-reward.

    12:57 Anon, that's entirely consistent with the post, with anti-sexism, with feminism.

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  52. http://www.faans.com
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