This is a blog I wrote two years ago on another site in repsonse to myself and two other female Sci-Fi writers being kicked off a certain Sci-fi website; all because we questioned the usage of a completely nude woman in one of their ads. With all this talk of Sexism in Comics, Gaming and the Science Fiction Novel genre, I figured it was time to revisit this essay and reflect on it
Refugee: Runaway Sexism in the Modern Literary World
Around this time last week I was battling the concept of using a black woman’s body as communal plate. Now that may seem a little dramatic, but I’m entitled given the situation.
I love to read books and comics, always have since childhood. As I grew older I began creating my own characters and stories. Through practice as well as formal classes I nurtured my writing ability and used it to win contests and college scholarships. About four years ago I decided to start publishing my own comic books and sci-fi novels. In beginning the endeavor, never once did I think that being a woman would ever become an issue or a topic of extreme interest, maybe it was naïve of me, but I did. I just wanted to make books people wanted read; nothing more, nothing less. But as I immersed myself into the world of comics it became more and more a topic of conversation and fascination. Although I’m used to it now, I never expected what happened last week to happen, and if anyone is curious you can read Vanee (Deep V’s) discussion “Women to be Seen and not Heard on BFSFS? My true Story”.
I joined BFSFS to commiserate with fellow black authors and artists. I wanted to be a part of an uplifting atmosphere that drew creative people together where one could get constructive criticism on their work, synergize with other creators, etc. But instead it became a place of sexism, silencing, and overall disrespect towards women. Nevertheless I must say, everyone on the site did not display those views or feelings and several of them have reached out to me as well as the other women involved in the ‘Nude Ad” debacle. And I appreciate their support more than words.
However, it still amazes me how the three of us were deleted from the site, disrespected by members, called out of our names by an administrator that claims to want to uplift the community and nurture creative works authored by Black writers and artists. I have never picked a fight or battle with anyone in this industry, but I fight for what I believe in. In this case, When I wrote my blog “Industry Faux Pas: Women in Comics Part Deux”, it was written with all the young women I meet at conventions who want to enter this industry in mind, as well as my fellow female writers, publishers, and artists that were appalled by the ad just like I was but didn’t want to say anything because they were afraid to be ostracized.
It seems to me that when one who is in agreement with a movement but is in opposition to an aspect of the overall cause, in this instance the uplifting of Black Authorship, that person is equated to being just as bad as the original oppressor. As a member of BSFS I disagreed with the usage of a nude woman in an ad advertising the site and all of a sudden I’m an enemy of the “cause” and every other name in the book.
I can live with agreeing to disagree. That’s not a problem, but to try to humiliate and derogate me and other, (talented and steadfast) female writers for not sacrificing our integrity for the sake of the community is deplorable. Nevertheless, I’m not going to dwell on this occurrence to the point that it affects my creative processes, and nor do I want that for anyone else. However, I do think it is important to not only acknowledge that this type of harassment and bullying exists, but to make changes to end it such as speaking out against it like Vanee and I are doing.
Ironically, this situation brought together three women who were virtual strangers to one another, who are now bonded under the same cause: Respect for all, Fool for none, with Creativity that knows no bounds.