I’m not sure who first coined that phrase but it’s a good one. It is also, sadly, a phrase I recently realized applied all too well to me.
I’ve ranted and raved, both in the world of pixels and the world of flesh and bone, about the need for respect, equality, and equity when it comes to women. On my blogs, I’ve written about the need for unity among my gender and—on a much lighter note—about the women of character who have inspired me. On Twitter and Facebook, I post “Yay women!” stuff on a regular basis, and my real life friends can attest to my xx chromosome cheerleading.
Of particular interest to me is the representation and treatment of women within the world of science fiction and fantasy. This is a place where both the real and fictional ladies often get the short end of the stick—be that stick wand, lightsaber, or pen. I have argued for the need for gender equality in this realm. Argued! USING WORDS AND EVERYTHING!
Then I realized something troubling.
I looked at my reading list from the past few years.
Were there women authors on that list? Yes, there were. Female writers of general, literary, and some genre fiction were well represented. But in speculative fiction? Science fiction, fantasy, horror, and their many sub-genres?
*insert image of the author looking very sheepish here*
For all my talk, the overwhelming majority of SF/F books I read are written by male authors.
Watch and be amazed as I resist the urge to trot out excuses for this. There is no excuse worth trotting. What do I, as an author of speculative fiction, want most—someone shouting from the rooftops about the awesomeness of female SF/F authors or someone actually forking over cash to buy and read the words I’ve sweated over?
It is time to put my money where my big fat flapping talk hole is.
I have purchased ten books, all speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror, and sub-genres thereof), written by female authors. I chose a mix of old and young, known and unknown, indie and traditionally published, established and up-and-coming, local (i.e. Canuck) and foreign authors. The stories range from Austenesque fantasy to military sci-fi. I also chose books I may not ordinarily have considered, to force myself out of my comfort zone.
I am not only going to read these books but I am going to take the time to rate and/or review them on Goodreads, Amazon, and on my blogs. I will share my thoughts on these books on social media and recommend them to real life friends who I think would enjoy them.
Men, I am not shunning you. I have male-authored books on my to-read list, but the gals get priority for a change.
But wait, there’s more.
The final part of this little project of mine is a challenge to you, dearest Nutters. Make the next book you buy a female-authored book. That’s it. One book. One measly little volume of scribbles. Slightly more costly than a latte but cheaper than a night at the movies!
Oh, you also have to read the book. That’s part of the deal.
Aaaaaaaaand you could always write a review, if you were that kind of a super extra amazing person. (I know you are!) Authors love reviews. It is our crack.
You can also post a comment here to talk about your fave female scibblers. Links are most welcome.
Less talk, more action is not just a good idea for reading lists, either. When it comes to equality, verbal support is wonderful but it’s our actions that bring meaningful change. Spread the good word, by all means, but make sure you’ve got some deeds to go with those words.
Happy holidays to you all, no matter what holiday you celebrate at this time of year. Until next time, I hope this finds you healthy, happy, and lovin’ life!