Harassment and Writing

Fiction Writers are supposed to be slightly more intelligent than average. It takes a lot of effort, and thought, to build a plot, a setting, and characters. It also takes a lot of practice.

So why are certain writers acting, well, the best polite word I can come up with is, STUPID.

A bunch of stuff happened all around the same time. It involves some members of the Science Fiction Writers of America. I’m not a SFWA member, and wasn’t directly involved. Everything I know is second or third hand.

Apparently a couple of writers wrote something that was, well, not necessarily out-right nasty, but showed a lack of respect for women. A lack of respect for women hurts all of us. Do you really want to treat half of the population as less than the other half?

I’ve seen a lot of this sort of stuff in Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom (including Trek Fandom). More than most of us would want to admit. I’ve seen it when I was working in sales. I’ve seen it in all sorts of places. Too much of it.

There’s nothing wrong with having sexual attractions. There is something wrong with treating another person as an object, or considering one half of the human race as useless unless they are sexually attractive.

We are talking STUPID here. Darwin Award stupid.

The problem is that STUPID is STUPID. It doesn’t get that it’s wrong. You can’t expect it will realize that it’s wrong. It’s too STUPID to understand.

You have to fight STUPID with fire. John Scalzi’s My Convention Harassment Policy Co-Sign Thread is a great start. There are 1098 signers as of this time. My name is on it. Is yours?

But signing a document is easy. What are you going to do next time you see harassment? If you don’t take action, you are effectively giving the harasser permission. As Nora J. Jemisin said in a speech at Continuum about those who stand back and do nothing:

Unlike the ten percent, these people do not overtly hate me, or people like me. But they are not our friends, either. And after all: what is hatred, really, but supreme indifference to the suffering of another?

Let’s face it. Harassment is ugly. Fighting it is ugly too. The harassers all too often are our friends, family, and neighbors. Everyone knows an Archie Bunker analog. Or a Homer Simpson analog. A weird uncle. That oddball father of your friend…

This isn’t going to be easy. It isn’t going to be fun. It is necessary. Do you want your children to grow up in a world where one half the human race is less than the other half?


Wayne Borean

Saturday July 13, 2013

PS: Below are a couple of links to articles well worth reading.

Timeline of the SFWA Controversies

Miscellaneous Thoughts on the Sexism Mess

Dear Twelve Rabid Weasels of SFWA, please shut the fuck up.


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