Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Presidential Statement Regarding the SFWA Bulletin

So, if you're a member of the scifi community/a fan, there's been a kerfluffle about the official bulletin of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). It roughly started here (with the cover and some content within this issue.) Then, two Bulletin columnists defended the cover and added fuel to the fire by making statements such as:

The reason for Barbie’s unbelievable staying power, when every contemporary and wanna-be has fallen by the way-side is, she’s a nice girl. Let the Bratz girls dress like tramps and whores. Barbie never had any of that. Sure, there was a quick buck to be made going that route but it wasn’t for her. Barbie got her college degree, but she never acted as if it was something owed to her, or that Ken ever tried to deny her.

She has always been a role model for young girls, and has remained popular with millions of them throughout their entire lives, because she maintained her quiet dignity the way a woman should.

I am sorry to say that this and other offensive, sexist, outdated remarks were made in context of how women can be successful writers.

I know. I'll give you a moment for your head to explode.

The continuing brouha has devolved into this. This "petition" has no merit. It invokes the First Amendment, which doesn't even apply in this case. It is so clearly an attempt to capture and freeze the "golden days" of scifi--when the genre was white-male dominant, and women "knew their place." When writers of color and those who wrote non-hetero-normal themes were simply curiosities.

And here is the very restrained, classy response to this non-petition petition by the current SFWA President:

Over the past few days, there has been much public discussion about a non-member’s petition to SFWA regarding oversight of our member publication, the Bulletin.
While this petition has not been formally presented to SFWA, I have seen versions and they express concerns for something that does not and will not exist:
Specifically, the editor of the Bulletin will not have to go to any selection or editorial review board to approve material.
In compliance with the by-laws and the will of our members, there will be regular oversight of the Bulletin to ensure that it is inclusive of and reflects the diversity of all our members, and that it continues to address the changing needs of professional writers.
With all of our publications, SFWA will continue to stand strong for the rights of writers. This includes opposition to censorship.
Finally, I want to thank the Bulletin Task Force for all their hard work on updating the magazine and to all the members of SFWA for their patience while we make the changes that many of you have asked for. I think you’re going to be proud of what we’ve done.
In a perfect world, this would be end the matter. But it won't. Because some people just have to push forth their bullshit. Some people have to apparently take an oppositional position to everything they see.
And some of the authors who have signed their support of this petition are off my reading list.

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