Storm in a B Cup or the SFWA Glittery Hoo Haas
I admit I thought about not adding my $2 (adjusted for inflation) to the whole sorry mess, but then I figured that the best weapon against these idiots is mockery and lots of it. So, herewith you will find my not in the least bit humble opinion of the whole thing.
It’s a storm in a b cup. I’d have gone a or aaa, but it doesn’t scan as nicely. I read the articles the silly twits have their knickers all knotted up over. They’re about as innocuous as you can get. We’re talking Malzberg and Resnick reminiscing about the ladies – editors, authors, publishers – from the Golden Age, people who they knew and clearly respected (I suspect at least one possible crush, but that’s just my suspicion). Of course they used “lady” as a term of respect. These women were ladies. They asked no quarter, got none, and used all their abilities and assets to the max – without batting an eyelash. This is the SF sub-definition of lady, the kind Heinlein so clearly adored. Smart, capable and emphatically not ersatz men.
Of course the Interchangeable Feminists got their tights in a tangle. Heaven forbid that anything remind them that they couldn’t hold a candle to the ladies of the Golden Age.
Here’s the problem, in a rather crass nutshell. The Interchangeable Feminists have succumbed to the feminist flavor of the Glittery Hoo Haa. Unlike the romance version where the glitter unaccountably activates when the heroine takes off her glasses (presumably blindness is sexier), the Feminist Glittery Hoo Haa is a thing of mysterious magical powers allowing the possessor to be better than everyone at everything she tries, without having to work at it. She doesn’t even have to wiggle it to get magical results. All she needs to do is let HR departments know she has one (they seem to be shy creatures in the wild, hence the Interchangeable Feminist insistence on proclaiming they have one), and she’s on a fast track to promotions without having to actually do the work involved. That’s what underlings are for.
For the Interchangeable Feminist author, the Feminist Glittery Hoo Haa magically transforms her grocery lists (should she ever deign to commit such a patriarchally derived act as create one) into high art (those of you speculating on precisely what one has to be high on to consider it art may stop now). Editors, agents and publishers recognize the brilliance of her FGHH and – judging by the samples I’ve read – don’t bother to read the piece before publishing it and pushing it harder than a heterosexual male backstage at a pole dancer’s convention. Obviously their brilliance is lost on the rest of us who lack this magical piece of anatomy and possess the usual combination of a pair of functioning eyes and some brain cells that don’t faint in shock when they’re called on to do any thinking.
The rest of us also failed to fall for the notion that math and logic are tools of the patriarchy. Possibly because we’re capable of performing both. The FGHH is even worse than the romance variety when it comes to rotting brains, you see. The poor things that have one spend all their mental energy trying to hold on to such utterly conflicting and ridiculous notions (simultaneously all-powerful and a fragile flower that wilts at anything resembling a harsh word? Yep. Got it in one) and they’ve got nothing left to actually use whatever brain function they possessed before the FGHH poisoned their lives.
In short, neither Mike Resnick nor Barry Malzberg did or said anything wrong. Jean Rabe, the now-former editor of the SFWA Bulletin, did nothing wrong either.
There was nothing wrong with the cover that’s got the FGHH owners and their lackeys screaming, either. It was a very pulpy cover with the typical metal bikini almost worn by a luscious female warrior who’d just finished finishing off a beastie. Now sure, there was snow in the background of the picture. But I guarantee you, if that cover had been drawn with a male in the same or equivalent pose he’d have been almost wearing an itty-bitty loincloth or a metal posing pouch. Well, maybe boots (she had boots on) and a cloak blown back so that it rippled gracefully in the breeze (which, being clearly magical would not turn the expanse of manly chest exposed by this posture into a mass of goosebumps). But you get the idea.
Besides, it’s a picture. I can come up with a bunch of scenarios for that scene that explain the metal bikini in that climate (near-freezing metal on skin… OUCH!). Who knows, maybe she got dragged from her exotic dancing job in some warm, steamy climate by an evil wizard with a strange sense of fun. Now she’s killed the critter, she’s going to cut it open, climb in, and hold her nose while she stays in there so she doesn’t freeze. Or maybe make herself some critter-skin clothes to supplement the metal bikini until she can get the hell out of there. The point is, it’s not exploitative unless you want to think it is. I see worse on a regular basis every day.
So… Maybe instead of the witch hunt against all who offend the FGHH, we should be hunting the possessors of the FGHH and destroying the blasted things before the Hoo Haas cause any more hoo haas. Because of all the SFWA shitstorms I’ve seen, this has to be the most pathetic.