VIDA released their annual count see that here.
You can also read some commentary here at HTMLGIANT.
What strikes me when this sort of thing comes out, what I find far more telling is the reactions.
If you read through the comments at HTMLGIANT, as when discussing any ism there are those who want “proof” MORE NUMBERS, MORE DATA.
There are the ones saying well if you don’t get published at XYZ big balls place then you must suck.
The thing is both of these attitudes miss the important points. I’ve witnessed this time and time again in a social justice context and all I can ever do is shake my head.
The solution to any problem like this as in representation and opportunity will not lay in finding the exact number of women submitting, or writing in general. The solution has to start from admitting that there is an issue without the qualifiers, without demands for “proof”. The solution has to come from both sides of the equation.
Women* (I use woman loosely here, as in anyone who self identifies as a woman) need to make themselves heard. This is problematic for us because when we stand up and say, hey fuck you this story isn’t fluffy just because it involves women, people freak out. That is a problem that men and women and others need to say leave this person alone, let them do their work without bullshit.
It’s not just the job of women to stand up for women and make sure our voices get heard. When it is left up to us nothing happens because like any person in a marginalized position, those who are not marginalized just don’t give a hot fuck.
Speaking from experience in order to make these big changes pressure has to be put on those in a position of power. That means the big name dudes instead of flying douchebag dudebro colors and letting their sexism fall out of their mouths. It takes those in power to confess that they are fucking up and actively police themselves and teach themselves how to not do these things.
Now, I don’t honestly have a lot of faith that these things will change in a major way anytime soon. The fact is, it hurts to admit when one has privilege. It hurts and is really fucking hard to change.
It’s major work to undo years of cultural training. It’s really fucking hard to tell yourself to shut up or to hear someone else tell you that it’s time to shut up and listen.
And frankly a lot of people don’t want to do the work.
Am I being over cynical today? Probably.
A lot of what I’m saying here is not personal towards anyone but comes from almost 35 years walking around in a Black female body.
I’m not saying that people aren’t going to fuck up sometimes. It happens. I accept and embrace that.
I’m really saying that the means of change are right there but hard to hold on to.
Also I frankly am not personally vested in the Big Boys. I am pretty fully well aware that I have a very slim chance of going mainstream big.
At some point in my early 20’s I accepted that. Actually I’ll tell you exactly when. I accepted that when I got my first check for a porn story for a lesbian website about voyeurism and lesbians having some rocking birthday buttsex. I put my full name on that story and promoted it proudly. When a lot of other authors I knew told me my career was over because people would “find out” I had written porn I was done.
As the years have gone by since that check with my name on it (I never cashed it, I wish I would have framed it) things have happened in the industry that tell me that mainstream literary superstardom is probably not for me.
It’s not okay to not have that door open for women who want it.
So what do we all do?
We write. We submit. When we feel (we as in all of us) like something is bullshit we say, hey that’s bullshit. We talk about it. We blog about it. We will probably argue about it. Sometimes we have to apologize to each other. Other times we just have to let it go and live to fight another day.
That’s about all I have to say about it. I have a lot of writing to do today.