Monday, November 14, 2005

Meghan has started another discussion of gender inequity in the genre. It reminded me of a discussion I had at Wiscon last spring. Jenn asked if I had experienced any sexism as a co-editor for the Rabid Transit series. It hasn't been a lot but there have been a few times when the other editors were mentioned and I was forgotten. She said Heather had experienced some of that as co-editor of Flytrap. I don't know if Gwenda's had the same experience with Say... It's hard to tell how much of it is because my co-editors have a lot more stories published than I do, but I do think sexism has been part of it. It's even happened at Wiscon which is a little haven of feminism in a wider world of sexism. I've been groped at a SF conference before but I think the editor stuff bothered me more. The groping was just one boorish man.

8 comments:

Gwenda said...

I've definitely noticed that sometimes you get missed when people talk about the Ratbastards. I was hoping it was because people feel uncomfortable calling you a bastard, because you're the best.

I usually get left off when people talk about Say..., but that's sort of my own fault. I don't think I was officially an "editor" until issue two and Christopher and I kind of trade off slush reading/picking on issues informally. So the fact that I get mentioned at all is interesting. I'll also note that once I started sending people acceptances and rejections, those people always address their stuff thereafter to me and not Christopher.

Karen said...

It happens very often that authors talk about the Strange Horizons fiction department as Jed, rather than as Jed, me and Susan. I try to reach for a non-sexist explanation, which is that Jed is our senior editor, he's the most visible one when it comes to official correspondence, and people don't quite know how to deal with a triumverate editing team. But since the fiction in our magazine reflects the three of us choosing stories, sending rejections, and doing the editing in equal amounts, it's hard to escape the conclusion that a lot of people just automatically think of the guy as the authority.

Not Jed's fault, and I think most people have no idea that the three of us work as a team so equally, because it's far more typical to have one editor in charge. But when the three of us are clearly listed as co-editors and we still get so much correspondence addressed as though two of us don't exist, it does kind of drive me crazy sometimes.

Karen said...

I think also, from the other end, this can get into questions of self-presentation and how much a person is willing to put themselves forward and talk about their work and self-promote. For example, of all the Ratbastards, I'd say you keep the lowest profile. I don't think of this as a feminine virtue; in my mind you're embodying a kind of classic understated grace that's not gendered, and in the movie you'd be played by Sam Shepard. But I'm willing to believe there might be a general tendency at work that has to do with learned m/f personality traits, too.

Kristin said...

Not that my other co-rats are bastards either! I'll take being Sam Shepard. I'd agree that a large part of recognition is how visible people are. I had a conversation at the 2004 Wiscon with a couple of new writers who came up to me at the beginning of our party. One was wondering why my name didn't come up when people were talking about the chapbooks even though my name is with the other editors. The other said he didn't know I was involved until he picked up the chapbook and saw my name listed. I didn't know what to tell them. They speculated that a lot of it was sexism. I didn't really think about it until my conversation with Jenn.

Anonymous said...

sorry 'bout groping you that time.

-barth

Christopher Barzak said...

Barth only groped you cause he saw me grope Alan, and he thought it was okay to start groping. You know, he gets carried away sometimes. So I'll take the blame on this one.

Oh and just for the record, Alan said it was okay to grope him, so there was no harrassment going on there. In fact, anyone can feel free to grope Alan. He doesn't mind. Really.

Kristin said...

You guys...

chance said...

Heya - regarding Say ..., for the latest issue, the guidelines said to send stories to Christopher's attention, so even though I know Gwenda is co-editor, I can't remember if I addressed the letter to both of you or just to him.

Regarding SH, I have a tendency use whoever rejected me last as shorthand for all three of you. (Especially if I get a couple of rejections by the same editor in a row.)