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This post is of course sparked of by the kerfuffle over the Hugo list, but also comes out of a panel at Eastercon, on gender-bias in genre. I think the basic question asked at the panel was 'Are women discriminated against in genre?' I didn't want to just say 'No,' and then go to the bar...We had an interesting panel alongside, among others, Jo Fletcher, who pointed out that genre is full of female editors at both book and magazine level.

[livejournal.com profile] fjm also has an interesting thread on this at the moment. I don't have much to add to it, really. I can only say that I've had a huge amount of personal support from both male and female pro writers, and that the issue that mainly preoccupies us isn't gender, but simply the thrall in which publishers are held to the bottom dollar. That's a question of the nature of capitalist enterprise, at base.

There are exceptions - the vilification of Catherine Asaro for daring to combine physics with romance is particularly shameful. But in general, as one of the more overtly feminist writers in genre, I have had very little flak for it. I think at the end of the day, whether something is a good novel is really the question, regardless of the gender of the author. One can argue for cultural bias in that, of course.

And the panel touched on the apparent reluctance of women to submit and re-submit short fiction. This may well be so. When reading various slush piles. I don't tend to notice the author's name. The magazines for which I read have some very good submissions by both genders, and some very poor submissions by both genders - one wouldn't expect it any other way.

What I would be very averse to are hypothetical claims that people are being discriminated against for various reasons ('I'm female', 'British SF is so parochial' etc etc). Well, yes, quite often the person is being discriminated against - for writing shite. Alas, this is not a profession for the prickly or the over-sensitive.

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lizwilliams

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