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Does Gender Matter? – 5min

If you’ve been on social media lately you’ve probably heard about the man from Google who just got fired for an “anti-diversity manifesto.”

If you watch the main stream media you’re probably convinced that he didn’t site his sources, his sources were mostly Wikipedia, and that his entire goal was to make it look like men are better than women.

Or you could read the document. He does say that men are better at women for some things, but he also said that women are better at some things then men, and that if you want to get the most out of your employees you’ll take into account these differences so that you can get the best people into the best jobs, and they will work their best.

The biggest argument against this manifesto I’ve seen is “men and women are the same” from many people, including Laci Green who was pretty blatant about it. You shouldn’t use stereotype to judge people, they say.

Alright, then here is my question about that. Does gender matter? Is there a difference between men and women? Because I’ve seen plenty of feminists say that men are more violent, and men are rapists. If that is true then would the opposite also be true? That women are less violent and less likely to attack? That’s not called a stereotype (and it isn’t true of course, men aren’t more violent than women they just happen to have higher incidents of different kinds of violence for each gender. And men fail to report it more often.)

Regardless, if gender isn’t important, if there is no difference between men and women, then why are we pushing for transgender rights? Why do we call people male or female for anything other than reproductive purposes? Why are there genders at all?

But maybe that’s where they are going with this argument…

And that’s my five.

 

PS, these five minute writes don’t give a lot of time to go in depth on a subject, just hit the highlights most of the time. But the question is still a valid one. I do want to say that I do believe there is a difference between men and women (with some over lap of course) and that there are specific things that most men and most women do. And 51% is most. But regardless of gender, individuals learn and work better in different ways, so increasing avenues in a work place for those different mentalities to be more comfortable in a space isn’t a bad thing.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2017 in On Writing

 

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Strong Female Characters

I saw another post asking which stories could use strong female characters, and my answer probably wasn’t what they were looking for: None of them.

Now, before you get up in arms please hear me out, because I do have a reason behind it.

There are already a lot of wonderful books out there with strong female characters as the lead character. A short list:
Aurian by Maggie Furey
Rhapsody: Child of Blood by Elizabeth Haydon
The Hallows Series by Kim Harrison
Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
The Twenty Sided Sorceress by Annie Bellet
The Little Flame Series by Melissa Lummis
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Magnificent Devices by Shelley Adina
White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
Several books in the Xanth Series by Piers Anthony
Anything by Anne McCaffery
Elvenbane by Andre Norton
Several books in the Wool Series by Hugh Howey
The Shambling Guides by Mur Lafferty
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Hit Girls by Garrett Robinson
Anything from the Buffy the Vampire universe.
Harper Collelly series by Charaine Harris.

And these are just the books that I know of because I’ve personally read them (or watched the movie in the case of Hunger Games). There are over 6,000 books in this list with strong female lead characters, many of which have been on best seller lists, or made into movies. And this isn’t even counting all the strong, wonderful women that play secondary roles in books like Kitiara from Dragonlance Chronicles, Catti-brie from the Dritzzt series, or Hermione from Harry Potter. That’s not even getting into comic books. And I’m sure there are thousands more that aren’t even in that list.

All of the stories in my list are sci-fi and fantasy. That’s because I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. But I also know a lot of strong female characters from paranormal romance. I also know of characters from other books, games, and films in many other genres that are strong female characters.

Am I saying we don’t need any more? Of course not, that would be like saying we don’t need more books. I really enjoy reading about strong women doing extraordinary things, and even wrote my own series of books with that in mind so I hope my favorite authors continue writing theirs. I also enjoy reading about mages that slowly go mad, or women who are hell cats and need to be tamed. There are all kinds of books out there, with all kinds of characters, because people come with different attitudes, desires, ideas, and personalities. But I would also encourage more authors to include strong female characters…IF they are a benefit to the story.

Not every story has a woman in it. What if you wrote a story about a man in a men’s shower room? Or a group of men going on a camping trip together? Or a father and son sharing a moment? Or a group of dwarves out to save their mountain? Not every story is going to have a strong female character in it. Not every story is going to have a woman in it. In fact when they added a strong female into The Hobbit some of the fans were less than thrilled with the addition.

A story isn’t always about sex, gender, political correctness, or whatever. Sometimes it’s just a story about a leaf blowing in the wind, or the history of salt, or vampire bunnies. And if a story doesn’t have a female character that doesn’t automatically make it anti-women. Hell, there could be a character in the story that is utterly sexist and the story still might not be about women.

My thought for those looking for strong female characters: Expand your reading list, because there are THOUSANDS of books out there with strong female characters, you just have to be open to finding them. And just so you know, MEN need strong male character role models, too. And both sexes need the ridiculously heroic characters, or the weak ones, or the the psychopathic murderous kings/queens to show them what not to be. It does not take away from your enjoyment of books/films/games/etc because the other sex also has what you are looking for.

And if you think any gender, or genderless, or gender fluid individual needs more characters like them out there: GO WRITE IT! That’s the beauty of the indy world. Anyone can make anything that they think should exist.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2016 in Commentary

 

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Are My Little Pony’s for girls?

thingIf I said “Transformers and Superheroes are for boys and your little girl is weird if she watches it” you’d probably be pissed. I know I would. As a little girl I watched tons of X-men, Batman, Spiderman, and Transformers. Heck, anything with a -man at the end was okay with me. I also watched some She-ra and a few other cartoons that were specifically for girls and the boys would shun. But not a lot of them.

Honestly, I have to admit that a part of me thought “if this isn’t good enough for boys then why am I watching it. They think it’s gross, so maybe it is.” Even today there is a small hint of shame when I say I liked She-ra as a little girl.

The dilemma: Programs are still marketed for girls or boys. They still encourage a specific gender norm. Boys like cars and superheroes. Girls like make up and fashion. But what if they don’t? Is that wrong?

I could care less about fashion and makeup, the things that are marketed to girls. I like the way I look without those things, and I buy my clothes off the discount racks because I’m not spending $300 for a pair of shoes or a dress. I like to look pretty like any other girl, but I don’t like wasting my money on “fashion”. Does that make me less of a woman? Hell no!

Society won’t tell a girl that she is wrong for watching superheroes, but they will definitely tell a boy he is wrong for watching My Little Pony’s. Why? My Little Pony’s has catchy music, nice animation style, good morals and themes, and most of all it focuses on how important friendship is. Something many children have problems with add they are distanced from one another with computers and tech. And for boys who learn that showing emotions is “girly” and makes you weak this is even better. Finally they have a role model that lets them know it’s okay to tell people what you’re really thinking/feeling.

I think the stereotype of what girls and boys like (or rather what can be sold to their parents) has been shifting for a while, and toy companies are slowly being dragged along kicking and screaming. Take the #wheresrey hashtag that’s been going around since the release of “Force Awakens”. People were PISSED that the main character of the show was no where to be seen in any of the merchandise. Because Hasbro, who had the contact for merch on Star Wars, believes that little girls don’t buy merchandise, and little boys don’t buy toys with girl dolls in them, she was no where to be seen. And it wasn’t the first time they did this. They also left out Black Widow from the Avengers set, and Gamora was left out of the Guardians of the Galaxy set and t-shirts. The Black Widow issue is so annoying they have a whole tumbler for it.

That’s why there is a difference between dolls and action figures even if they look the same. An action figure of She-ra is a doll. A doll of GI Joe is still an action figure, even if it looks a lot like a Ken doll in camos. Girls get dolls, boys get action figures, right? That’s been how it was for decades, but we’re also breaking down that stereotype. My son had a baby doll when he was two years old. He carted it around all over the place, and he loved it. I had no issues with it. I’ve seen other little boys holding dolls as well, and there are some great reasons to let kids, boys and girls, play with baby dolls. Why wouldn’t you want a boy to grow up thinking that it’s okay for him to hold a baby? Or would you rather stick with the idea that it’s “women’s work” to take care of babies?

The biggest problem is that cartoons are made to sell merchandise, not to get kids to watch them. When the creators of My Little Pony came to Hasbro with the new format (which was geared to a more modern and slightly older generation) Hasbro would not give them the go ahead unless they made the show about fashion and makeup, two things that weren’t suppose to be in the show at all when first developed. They had to make Rarity a pony with her own fashion studio to satisfy the requirements. So imagine their surprise when teen boys became their biggest demographic.

Trying to perpetuate age old stereotypes has not helped the toy industry, which is sad. The movie industry is starting to break free with movies like Frozen and Force Awakens with women playing prominent, strong roles. Why shouldn’t it be the same for boys who are allowed to watch My Little Pony’s?

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2016 in Commentary

 

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Publishing, Gender and Genre

Gender. It’s rarely as cut and dry as male and female in this century, but it still influences a lot of things, and people.

Right now the writers forums, blogs, and news sights are blowing up with articles and commentary about gender roles in SF and fantasy. Articles about women who hide their sex so they can break into the elite ranks of SF, and those that question if they are starved for great women authors, or just sexist. A Tor UK team member even weighed in on the matter, complete with graphs.

4SB4smI will be putting up “Small Bites 4” tomorrow which is Science Fiction. It is the first time I will be sharing my science fiction writing. I’m kind of nervous. I’ve done stories with horror, blood, torture, rape, abuse, and sex. I will never be as nervous about them as I am about something that delves into the science fiction (except maybe erotica).

Why? I chose to use my personal name on my books. “Crissy Moss” isn’t a pen name. It’s me. I kept it because I’m one of a very few people online with that particular name. And it is incredibly feminine. I can’t hide behind “Chris” and still be visible. I chose this.

It’s odd that the two genres that worry me are on complete opposite sides of the spectrum. I am afraid to publish in erotica because I don’t want people to judge me because I am a woman that likes sex. And I am nervous about publishing in SF because I know people will judge me for not being steeped in science enough.

Caring what other people think about us… man or woman, this simple foible is enough to keep people lost, alone, and unable to attain their dreams. This very simple fact is why I won’t sit back and let my stories sit on a hard drive collecting virtual dust. Accolades, comments, and compliments are nice, but being true to yourself is far more important. It’s worth risking one star reviews, flops, and hate mail.

I don’t pretend to know why women aren’t as prominent in the SF/F publishing ranks. I think it is a self perpetuating cycle. Fewer women try to publish in SF, so there are fewer SF books written by women. There are fewer SF books published by women, so fewer women see role models in the SF realm and don’t take the plunge.

I do know that it isn’t just about women. Male authors trying to break into erotica often have to use pseudonyms as well, and they usually have to be female, or non-gender names.

And it’s about readers, too. Readers sometimes wont get past the name on the book.

Gender is more fluid then we think it is. Anatomy doesn’t make us who we are. People can change sexes, or act in non-masculine and non-feminine ways, regardless of the equipment birth gave them. There are even those among us who have no affinity to either sex.

True equality… That’s going to take some time.

Some articles about the subject:

Is the book industry sexist or just starved for great women authors?

Women Who Pretended to Be Men to Publish Scifi Books

SEXISM IN GENRE PUBLISHING: A PUBLISHER’S PERSPECTIVE

The best women authors of science fiction and fantasy

The Greatest Female Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors of All Time

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Commentary, Copyright

 

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