Since (fairly) recently joining the endless ranks of reviewers and individuals with an opinion that is regarded with little more value than a grain of salt, I’ve noticed a reoccurring theme in the social media circles which before my induction, I would have never noticed, never cared about, and most definitely not have scribbled down my own personal thoughts on. This prevalent issue I’m talking about, is one I’m sure most of my audience who reads this post will be familiar with: Sexism towards female authors in the Science Fiction and Fantasy industry.
My opinion is slightly varied than what I’ve seen so far and this post isn’t
about to go into every single demeaning issue that is on the table. My post is a
simple self-stating rant about how I can’t believe we are still having these
same issues that I figured women’s rights and the endless ticking of time should
have solved so long ago.
When I was younger I loved to read. Want to know one of my favorite series of
all time as a child? Animorphs by K.A. Applegate. You can guarantee I didn’t
give two shits about whether K.A Applegate was a male or female, black, white,
purple, five arms, and three heads or from planet Googleplex. All I cared about
was that K.A Applegate better keep churning out my precious Animorphs or I was
going to be one pissed off little kid. But wait, lo and behold, looking back she
was a female author in the Young Adult Sci-Fi genre.
Next as I got a little older, I developed my number one book crush: Warhammer /
Warhammer 40k and I’ll talk a bit more about those later. However, also at this
time, I had a budding affection for anything involving fantasy and medieval
worlds. I was thrown into Raymond Feist’s Magician, Janny Wurt’s Mistwraith
series, and Kate Elliott’s Crown of Stars. These were my high school loves
and guess what? Once again a multitude of brilliant female authors paving the
way for my enlightenment into the wonderful realms of fantasy.
At this age, I still didn’t give a second thought about whether the name on the
spine of my books belonged to a male or female. It all simmered down into the
same pot: great writing, enchanting worlds and characters, and a voice for
addictive and passionate story telling.
Finally, I only briefly started to realize or even notice a trend when I started
to collect Warhammer novels. It quickly dawned on me that all the authors were
predominately male. In fact, they all were and it wasn’t until semi-recently
that the mold was ripped apart. The first case of the breakthrough, (that I
know of) was by Juliet E. McKenna in the anthology Fear the Alien. Now, there is
a current female Black Library author who is making the rounds and she is the
famous Sarah Cawkwell and her Silver Skulls. Am I surprised that there haven’t
been more female authors writing Warhammer novels? Meh… Not really? Warhammer
is an extremely niche part of the Space Opera section, it is hard for anybody to
break into that, male or female alike. I can just imagine Lorena Bobbit writing
a tale about an errant Imperial Guardsmen who besmirches a Battle Sister’s honor.
Things don’t turn out well for him. (I’m just kidding) But this did open my
eyes a bit more to the fact that predominately males seemed to have this
cornerstone in the market.
Wrapping all this up, brings us at last to my opinion. My opinion isn’t subtle:
I don’t care and you shouldn’t care either what the sex of an author. The fact that we are talking about this, caring about it, and bringing attention to this at all, makes me a tad
disgusted. I don’t care because no one should care, it shouldn’t matter who or
what you are, when it comes to writing; if the story is fantastic then you can be
a freaking six-legged creature from Neptune for all I care. Equal is equal and
fair is fair. Maybe I was brought up differently, or whatever the reason, but I
have such a difficult time wrapping my head around the notion that out there
are still people who really do care and really do discriminate. All I can say to
those individuals is grow up, get out, and live a little and most likely if you
are worried and care about the sex of the individual who wrote your book you
probably have more problems than just being sexist.