Per usual when I am in a regular submitting schedule I am using Duotrope to look for new markets, look at submission stats for zines etc.
Something I have noticed even prior to them going pay is that if one uses the descriptor: Ethnic/Cultural as part of your search string, it will cut out about 90% of magazines.
Right now I have a search going with the following criteria:
Fantasy, flash length (under 1K), electronic submissions, electronic submission.
That search returns a total of 160 listings for this search.
If I add the Ethnic/Cultural criteria the number of listings goes down to 8.
If I change that to GLBTQ the number shrivels to 5.
I change it to Women/Female Issues (also a side not wtf exactly are “female issues” who the fuck came up with that term? Does that mean stories about periods?) the search hits 6.
Changing from fantasy to General (as in not genre specific) and using no subject (Ethnic etc) I get: More than 300 results.
I add Ethnic/Culteral and get 37 listings.
I change that to GLBTQ and get 15 listings.
I change it to Women/Female issues and get 26 listings.
Okay here in a nutshell is a big problem.
Why do so many lit mags feel fine listing fantasy, experimentalism, blablabla but can’t include POC or women or Queer people with the same specificity?
I find that when I go read guidelines often I run into the same discomfort. Why go out of your way to mention you read a Toni Morrison book once, but there’s no specific mention of interest in “ethnic” or Queer stories?
Also let’s talk about Ethnic/Cultural.
Right now I have a story that is absolutely “Ethnic” in that it is not part of the White Dude’s literary Universe. I have had one editor admit that they wouldn’t use it because it is so far outside of what’s “usual” that they didn’t think their readers would get it.
In this instance “usual” is Whiteness.
As I am writing more of these stories that are so far outside of the White Dude’s Universe, I’m seeing more and more things that are more and more deeply problematic.
It is exhausting to me to continue seeing editors/others in the lit world flap their gums about diversity and whatnot when there is nothing to back it up.
I was just reading a zine and I honestly went back six issues. Every author was college educated, White and fairly attractive.
The fact that I am not just aware of these things but that I need to think about them before submitting to a magazine is just exhausting.
I don’t like having to pump myself up and tell myself that if I get accepted to X zine I will totally be the Brave Black Lady who broke through the Big White Wall.
I don’t always want to play that role.
Most of the time I just want to be that lady Shannon who writes some cool stories that people read sometimes.
I honestly wish I could not notice these things, not think about them, have the privilege of never having to look at a magazine and say to myself well self, those are good stories but those are so not your people. RUN RUN NOW.
I my position as a distinctly not famous writer toiling away in obscurity (mostly happily) I feel powerless and sometimes want to just give up and only try to get my Whiteness friendly stories published and self publish everything else.
On the other hand, I don’t want to spend all my time doing that. I have shit to write.
Days like today, I just don’t know what to do or how to deal with these feelings so I’m going to close Duotrope and write another story because I just don’t have the energy for all of this.