cynthia1960: (Down with patriarchy)
Trigger warning for fatphobia:

[personal profile] emceeaich brought today's poor excuse for an April Fool's joke perpetrated by one of his long time acquaintances to my attention. As I've had time to think about this so-called attempt at humor, I've also had to deal with some personal triggers having to do with fatphobia and Wiscon. Five years ago, I was one of the Wiscon attendees that was targeted by a trolling attack directed primarily at those of us who are fat.

Flash forward to today, and the article screencapped by [personal profile] emceeaich and others brought up a whole lot of memories. When I think back to the Wiscon 32 incident, I felt a bit of compassion for the troll, but today I really don't have any to spare for (redacted). I've seen several folks targeted by his Islamophobia speak out with eloquence and power, but I want to address the misogyny and fatphobia directly.

When he used the name of a historical serial killer as an alias for the con chairs, he directly insulted several people who I've been honored to meet over the last few years through my participation in Wiscon. Then he added a festering pile of snark directed at "sinful, wanton flesh" that needed to be covered up and made invisible with the so-called intention of dealing with lookism and adding the Islamophobic trimmings as a really nasty additive.

He's telling me that I need to cover up my body and silence my voice, and he used the primary newsmagazine covering the speculative fiction field as his medium to spread this message in the guise of a joke. And then, when many members of the community as well as others not as invested in it called the magazine's attention to this post (which has been taken down with an apology), he then managed to flounce on his blog and cry censorship by humorless feminists.

This person is coming from an even more privileged situation than the Wiscon 32 troll (age, gender, etc.) so I have no inclination to cut him any slack whatsoever, especially because he seems to be playing the "oh noes the meen wimmin are harshing my fun" card.
cynthia1960: (fight all the oppressions!?)
Go read this from [personal profile] yeloson and this from [personal profile] onceupon. They say more eloquently than I can how Wiscon isn't just a parade of parties over a nice long weekend, it's a place where ideas get challenged.

When I was a little girl, I was extremely smart in some ways, and scarily clueless in others (this can still be said of my fifty-year-old self, but I hope I fix the scary clueless bits as needed). I could (and did) read encylopedias about the world around me and still think that everybody around me was white, middle-class, American, and Catholic. Srsly, think about the large steaming pile of unexamined assumptions and privilege heaped up there. My large steaming pile has its own unique fragrance and the smell was so powerful that I missed noticing that there are unique stinky piles everywhere for a while.

Cue forward into my school years and early adulthood, and I start learning about the different smelling piles all over the place. I had some options: one could be that I stay unmoving right next to my own dreck because I'm familiar with and inured to the smell. Another could be expecting everybody else's pile to change to match mine, and yet another would be that I would assert that my pile has the One True Fragrance, and the other smells are Evil and Wrong. It could even be like the sign outside my organic chemistry lab in college that jokingly said "clean air smells funny".

Flash forward some more to the present, where intersectionality kicks in.
I start noticing how different smells work together in each unique pile, and even though I may be comfortable with certain fragrances and repelled by others, I cannot expect all the other piles to automagically emit only the smells I like. I get the whole spectrum. And also, I start learning that even though I like bits of my own smell, other folks cannot abide them. And no matter how loudly I assert that my pile doesn't have those particular stinky bits, that doesn't change the overall composition.

The only way to change the overall composition of my pile takes a lot of hard work, first identifying the varying smells, good and bad, choosing which ones are useful to keep around and others to discard, and then a whole lot of heavy lifting that I cannot pass off to others to do for me. The pile never goes away, but the fragrance can morph.

Wiscon gives me the opportunity to meet with a large variety of people that I would ordinarily never get to interact with and learn about the subtleties of various smells, as well as how people are learning how to morph their own fragrances without losing their individuality.

When Elizabeth Moon posted that inflammatory entry in her lj, a lot of people went "ooooeee, that reeks!" and let her know about it (for the most part politely in her comments). She then chose to disappear the responses, which basically asserts that her pile isn't stinky at all. And that, for me, was the kicker for my believing that Wiscon 35 should withdraw her GoH invitation. Even though I have read and enjoyed many of her writings, this showed a unwillingness to learn from frakking up that isn't worthy of special notice, especially by a gathering of people who are trying as much as they can to learn and challenge the systems that keep privilege in place.

People frak up, that's part of the human condition. Learning how not to frak things up so spectacularly and learning where your unexamined privilege keeps frakked up systems going, that's hard work.

Do I wish that this hadn't happened? Oh hell yes. The struggle is difficult enough without adding all this pain. I breathed a sigh of relief, but not gladness, when the announcement was made. Now the work changes yet again.
cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
SF3 is doing the right thing, the Giants won game 4, and if the Sharks can demonstrate they know how to play hockey tomorrow night, it's a nice end to the week.
cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
I was talking to [personal profile] emceeaich yesterday over dinner, and it seems to us that the con is becoming more about intersectionality and less feminism-centric over the past few years. Note that I do not find this a bad thing in the least.
cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
And trying to catch up on all the DW/LJ I missed since last Wednesday.

What's with all the cool Lady Gaga vids? First, [personal profile] firecat points me to the Univ. of Washington Information School filk of "Poker Face", and then [personal profile] litotease tells us about National Public Radio folks doing a version of "Telephone"!

Wiscon 34 was most excellent, and much love to all who provided hugs and listening aid during my periodic angstfest.
cynthia1960: (Down with patriarchy)
We've got until the end of tomorrow to submit ideas on the website.
cynthia1960: (Down with patriarchy)
It's a fairly light schedule, but that means I can go to other people's panels!


21 Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Sniffing
The Gathering•Wis/Cap• Friday, 2:00-5:30 p.m.
Come and sniff the wonders from the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.
Cynthia Gonsalves

Smut, Enraged Bunny Musk, Monsterbait: Underpants, and other goodies! Intrigued? Baffled? Wondering what in the hell Cynthia's inhaling out there in the Silicon Valley? Come on by and find out...

Heh, some of my key primary BPAL enablers are at Wiscon, this way we can share the fun! We can do other meet-n-sniffs throughout the con, because I know [livejournal.com profile] elisem has her dealer's table and can't easily hang out at the Gathering.

124 Feminist Romance
Writing SF&F: The Business•Capitol B• Saturday, 4:00-5:15 p.m.
First off, is there such a thing and how would it be accurately portrayed? Very often romances in sf/f short stories and novels follow very traditional patriarchal patterns, even when fairly feminist individuals are writing. What does a feminist romantic storyline look like? Why don’t we see these more often? How can writers who like to think of themselves as feminist avoid falling back on the old standbys without looking either unrealistic or like they are pushing a "message"?
M: Jennifer Stevenson, Emma Bull, Stephanie Burgis, Cynthia Gonsalves, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Lyda A. Morehouse

I'm on this panel as an interested consumer in the feminist literary food chain. Am I doomed to be stuck with just chick lit and Anita Blake wannabes? Don't get me wrong, chick lit and vampire shaggers can be part of a balanced literary diet (the junk food part), but I want to read stories with romances transformed by a feminist worldview instead of yet more patriarchy. We have to imagine it before we can truly live it.

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cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
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