Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The role of women in fantasy and science fiction

Lately, I have read blogs and articles about the role of women in my chosen genre, fantasy and science fiction. This includes both the authors and the characters/tales.

For women authors, the genre is full of fabulous women. I do know there has been cases where women who submitted with a male name instead of a female have gotten better responses. This sucks, and needs to stop. It is not everywhere or everyone, but even a little bit of this attitude needs to stop...now. I command it. I am not sure why there is still a lingering attitude, but then the publishers are run on corporate ideals bot just or creative ideals. You can say the same for Hollywood. it is not whether the project is good or well cast, but how much money it will make. When I read an article about a female author who submitted to agents and was refused, but when she submitted the same material with a male name, she got good responses. Women have always suffered from the double standard. We need to keep fighting, channel our inner Xena or Buffy, and bust down the doors of stupid narrow-minded trolls and demand equal time.
 Image result for female fantasy authors

There have been incredible female authors in the genre and we must not forget about them. there are too many to list them all. Tanith Lee, Octavia Butler, Andre Norton, Ursula K. LeGuin,  Julie Czerneda, Naomi Novik , C.J. Cherryh, and many more. We are there. Some of us are very well known. Some are rising (I hope to be the princess royal of heroic fantasy). Prejudice is everywhere and in all businesses and all societies. We need to fight it. David Eddings Polgara the Sorceress is always a favorite.
For characters in fantasy and science fiction, it has been an evolutionary process. Stop and think about it. How things begin is based on who has control of the pen and the publishing. But things have changed and are ever changing. The shallow or vague concepts of female characters by authors like Tolkien and Robert E. Howard are products of the time. They have evolved. I adore Captain Kathryn Janeway and Deanna Troi form Star Trek shows. Buffy and Xena were revolutionary. In film, who can forget Sarah Connor, Princes Leia or Ripley? Early tough chicks we love. Yes, I used the word chick. It can be a strong positive term. I love it. Claim it.  Don't whine.

Image result for Sarah Connor Terminator 1984

The current rush of comic book films has many female characters in the fight, which is good. I do miss seeing fantasy and science fiction  away from the comic book genre though. I am looking forward to some upcoming BBC productions of War of the Worlds and His Dark Materials from the books.

We can rule this genre. We can have a voice. Until later, read more great female authors!

Verna McKinnon

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Myth of Strong Women in SFF...and Oreos

Hello Familiar Friends:

It has been a long time since I posted a blog. I have been very involved with a lot of things, mostly writing new tales and attempting to master social media to promote sales for my two books out there in the abyss of Amazon. I have wondered if it was worthwhile to continue blogging with the mass of social media swarming around us.  Plus social media platforms like Facebook and twitter have been a storm of political chaos, which had me in its grasp too. But, maybe it is?

I try to post interesting articles about my beloved fantasy and science fiction genre on Twitter and Facebook.  One article I ran across, which I shall not name, but a rather confusing article with a definite attitude about what strong women are and why aren't there any real strong women in science fiction and fantasy. There were other issued addressed in this person's blog-but first I want to address the point on strong women in fantasy and science fiction, or the lack thereof.

No strong women? Really? That sent me into tizzy as I gobbled some oreos and tried to understand this blogger's reasoning. I had trouble getting through the article to be honest. The author of this piece argued women as only being seen as strong if they kick butt, or they were submissive like Bella Swan. She made points about fantasy and science fiction being gender biased. There was a section on how common rape is overused in the SFF genre as a means to show women will never be equal with men.  There was much note about how it was "male genre. The blogger referred to characters as being either too strong or weak, with no balance in between. They long for more developed characters. I do not agree with this blog. Let me explain....

Any genre has issues, but I do not think this author is very well read in the SFF genres, at least in my personal opinion. Maybe they have seen too many comic book films, which are not the best examples for three dimensional characters male or female. The common bestsellers are not always the best example of any genre. Twilight set female characters back 50 years. Has this person read any Tanith Lee, Davis Eddings, Neal Gaiman, Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury, Martha Wells, or even my work?? Yes, I name myself. Indie writers deserve attention too. Really-I have several strong female and male characters that are not black or white in development. There are tons of great books out there with fully developed female and male characters. If you want to talk TV, look at Babylon 5, X-Files, Stargate SG1, and Stargate Atlantis,  and even some Star Trek for good role models. Do not look to vampire TV unless it's Buffy. 

For myself, SFF in book or media form has had on opposite effect on my perspective. I treasure SFF because it showed women could do more than bake pies or be just the hero's girlfriend. We all have our opinion. This is mine.

More to come...in the meantime read more fantasy!