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  • Magnificent. Prose to aspire to.
  • asher wrote: »
    Gwai wrote: »
    We have been having a long discussion about whether sci-fi and fantasy portray women well or not. I think that can be applied to other traits too. How is the portrayal of race, disability, or queerness done when written by others. Does anyone who is not a straight white able male see themselves portrayed well in most fiction?

    @asher have you read any books, or been told about any books, with depictions were felt to be good ?

    I'm blushing to admit I'm on a grimdark bender....so no one is represented well.
    .

    I suppose I meant accurately, as opposed to necessarily positively.
  • That thread reminds me of a review of a novel by Anne Widdicombe where the critic pointed out you could tell she’d never married, because she had the man of the house sitting down to eat in the evening whilst still wearing a tie.
    I guess that critic has never had supper at my in-laws’ house.

    Or perhaps that critic didn’t know about domestic details different from his or her own.

  • ... and I confess I don't skin out of my bra the moment I get home, being rather generously endowed, and not inclined to... incline. Ouch!
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    (Not all x ...). I imagine there are variant child rearing practices in black communities too.

    I’m fairly sure there are women who check the mirror and consciously evaluate their breasts too, especially in the age of the selfie.
  • Doublethink, your 'titted downwards' passage made me fall off the sofa, laughing. Masterful prose.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    As Coaster's Retreat has a population of well under 50, it's not really much of an example.
    Sorry, Australia is massively white, so any random neighborhood would likely have worked. Doesn’t affect my point.

    The description "massively" is becoming less and less accurate every day. And Coaster's Retreat would scarcely qualify as a neighbourhood in any event. It's on the western side of Pittwater, with no road access and surrounded by Ku-ring-gai Chase.

    Do you want to have a third go?
  • Autenrieth RoadAutenrieth Road Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    I wonder how many male writers, writing women, know to have the woman take her bra off at the earliest opportunity when she gets home.
    As a woman, this implication about what is an authentic portrayal of women really bugs me. I’ve spent decades leaving my bra on until I go to bed.

    I think it’s a choice in characterization for whether a character wants to get out of her workday clothes as fast as possible, or not. We’re not all Kinsey Milhone ditching tights and dresses as fast as possible.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »

    No. Women represent 78% of publishing (in the US - it seems no one has collated figures for the UK). This is not just SFF, this is children's books, romance, non-fiction, mainstream fiction, every genre. If anything publishing has a massive gender imbalance against men. Likewise, romance and historical fiction, YA fiction, are largely, or overwhelmingly, written by women. Are you going to start agitating for better representation of men in these categories? Asking questions as to where all the men are in publishing?
    This is not just a goalpost shift, it moves them into another field.
    This began talking about writers and how unseen bias affects how they write characters unlike themselves. The gender imbalance in publishing is a separate issue.
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    That a small corner - science fiction (and by sales, it is a small corner, even if its cultural impact is larger, due to adaptations) - is slightly more male than female is not explicitly a cause for concern, unless you think that every genre/sub-genre should have equal representation. (For the record, I don't.)
    Did you read your link? SF/Fantasy is 79% male. Only by selectively picking sub-genres can one possibly get parity.
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    I'm not going to argue that BAME authors have, and do, face extra difficulties getting their stories to publication. I've never argued otherwise.
    This is a separate issue, though related. Racism is part of it, but so is the same cultural blindness.
  • asher wrote: »
    Thing is though, these people are white, so they must be privileged. The majority of them are men - they must be part of the problem. They must be part of the same culture as the white people who leave racist notes.
    Polish people face discrimination in the UK because they are perceived to be not British. In other words, not of the default culture. Which is what I am taking about.

  • I wonder how many male writers, writing women, know to have the woman take her bra off at the earliest opportunity when she gets home.
    As a woman, this implication about what is an authentic portrayal of women really bugs me. I’ve spent decades leaving my bra on until I go to bed.

    I think it’s a choice in characterization for whether a character wants to get out of her workday clothes as fast as possible, or not. We’re not all Kinsey Milhone ditching tights and dresses as fast as possible.

    ... plus, unless it's important for plot or characterisation, there's no reason to describe what she does with her bra. When any character, male or female, comes home, the reader doesn't really want an exhaustive checklist of 'He took his gloves off and put them in his coat pocket; then he took off his shoes, put them on the shoe-rack, and changed into his slippers; then he hung his coat on the peg over the radiator ....'
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    I wonder how many male writers, writing women, know to have the woman take her bra off at the earliest opportunity when she gets home.
    As a woman, this implication about what is an authentic portrayal of women really bugs me. I’ve spent decades leaving my bra on until I go to bed.

    I think it’s a choice in characterization for whether a character wants to get out of her workday clothes as fast as possible, or not. We’re not all Kinsey Milhone ditching tights and dresses as fast as possible.

    ... plus, unless it's important for plot or characterisation, there's no reason to describe what she does with her bra. When any character, male or female, comes home, the reader doesn't really want an exhaustive checklist of 'He took his gloves off and put them in his coat pocket; then he took off his shoes, put them on the shoe-rack, and changed into his slippers; then he hung his coat on the peg over the radiator ....'

    Except lovers of James Joyce.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    I wonder how many male writers, writing women, know to have the woman take her bra off at the earliest opportunity when she gets home.
    As a woman, this implication about what is an authentic portrayal of women really bugs me. I’ve spent decades leaving my bra on until I go to bed.

    I think it’s a choice in characterization for whether a character wants to get out of her workday clothes as fast as possible, or not. We’re not all Kinsey Milhone ditching tights and dresses as fast as possible.

    ... plus, unless it's important for plot or characterisation, there's no reason to describe what she does with her bra. When any character, male or female, comes home, the reader doesn't really want an exhaustive checklist of 'He took his gloves off and put them in his coat pocket; then he took off his shoes, put them on the shoe-rack, and changed into his slippers; then he hung his coat on the peg over the radiator ....'

    Did you read the thread on what white creatives get wrong about black culture ? I was mirroring that - fairly obviously not all members of any group behave in the same way.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    asher wrote: »
    Immediate vigils, artwork from schools next day, all shops carrying signs for welcome, multifaith response.
    Thank you. That's good and encouraging.

    Like it or not, though, it's my suspicion that even though they may not express such prejudices overtly, somewhere between ¼ and ⅓ of the UK population do think like the person who posted that notice, don't really see why they shouldn't, and imagine that's how the 'real people' think. That and they are a major competent of those who voted Conservative in the recent election. The Conservatives would not have won without them. So they are a constituency to which, whatever noises it might make to deprecate such prejudices, the government is busy pandering.

  • Doublethink, your 'titted downwards' passage made me fall off the sofa, laughing. Masterful prose.

    Just be clear that’s a quote from reddit that went viral, I didn’t write it.
  • (Extra post because I missed the edit window: things like this exist, because the bra issue is very common.)
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    Enoch wrote: »
    asher wrote: »
    Immediate vigils, artwork from schools next day, all shops carrying signs for welcome, multifaith response.
    Thank you. That's good and encouraging.

    Like it or not, though, it's my suspicion that even though they may not express such prejudices overtly, somewhere between ¼ and ⅓ of the UK population do think like the person who posted that notice, don't really see why they shouldn't, and imagine that's how the 'real people' think. That and they are a major competent of those who voted Conservative in the recent election. The Conservatives would not have won without them. So they are a constituency to which, whatever noises it might make to deprecate such prejudices, the government is busy pandering.

    If you want to depress yourself, try reading the army social forum. That’s one of their more ‘progressive’ threads - warning it contains clips of the black and white minstrel show and posters with black face avatars, whilst discussing how not racist they are and how much the prevalence of racism has decreased in the service.

    The thread on the woman who just passed paratroop training is also not the hotbed of feminism it thinks it is.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    I wonder how many male writers, writing women, know to have the woman take her bra off at the earliest opportunity when she gets home.
    As a woman, this implication about what is an authentic portrayal of women really bugs me. I’ve spent decades leaving my bra on until I go to bed.

    I think it’s a choice in characterization for whether a character wants to get out of her workday clothes as fast as possible, or not. We’re not all Kinsey Milhone ditching tights and dresses as fast as possible.

    ... plus, unless it's important for plot or characterisation, there's no reason to describe what she does with her bra. When any character, male or female, comes home, the reader doesn't really want an exhaustive checklist of 'He took his gloves off and put them in his coat pocket; then he took off his shoes, put them on the shoe-rack, and changed into his slippers; then he hung his coat on the peg over the radiator ....'

    Did you read the thread on what white creatives get wrong about black culture ? I was mirroring that - fairly obviously not all members of any group behave in the same way.

    That thread is about people choosing to include details and getting them wrong. Your bra comment was about people not including details at all. My point is that writers always omit lots of details unless, as @mousethief says, they are channelling James Joyce (and there is a reason why there has only ever been one Ulysses ...)
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Taking your bra off before bed is a thing? Really? I receive this intelligence with the same surprise I did that some people do housework in the nude.

    Moral: never assume even people the same gender/race/culture/eye colour as you behave the same way.

    (Moral 2: people are WEIRD)
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    No, it isn’t, for example they talk about directors omitting black people using lotion for their skin or caps to protect their hair showering and sleeping.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Doc Tor wrote: »

    No. Women represent 78% of publishing (in the US - it seems no one has collated figures for the UK). This is not just SFF, this is children's books, romance, non-fiction, mainstream fiction, every genre. If anything publishing has a massive gender imbalance against men. Likewise, romance and historical fiction, YA fiction, are largely, or overwhelmingly, written by women. Are you going to start agitating for better representation of men in these categories? Asking questions as to where all the men are in publishing?
    This is not just a goalpost shift, it moves them into another

    Well, it's a tangent you started back on page three when you wanted to talk about 'gatekeepers'.

    Perhaps I made an assumption that you wanted to discuss about the gender and ethnic make-up of publishers, backed up by actual data.

    Personally, I think it's important that publishing becomes more diverse as it'll publish more books by diverse authors.
  • No, it isn’t, for example they talk about directors omitting black people using lotion for their skin or caps to protect their hair showering and sleeping.

    I.e., choosing to include a montage of the character going to bed, and getting it wrong, rather than just skipping to the next day.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Ricardus wrote: »
    ... plus, unless it's important for plot or characterisation, there's no reason to describe what she does with her bra. When any character, male or female, comes home, the reader doesn't really want an exhaustive checklist of 'He took his gloves off and put them in his coat pocket; then he took off his shoes, put them on the shoe-rack, and changed into his slippers; then he hung his coat on the peg over the radiator ....'
    We all know that the reason why there are no lists of people taking off their shoes etc but there is plenty of the sort of stuff about what Cassandra does is because the former isn't going to get any female readers feeling sexy in their own skins or any male readers slathering over it, whereas the latter is written with precisely that intention.

    Stereotype alert
    On there not being a fair balance of women SF writers getting published, might not the problem be that fewer women actually want to write SF?

    Writing a book is difficult enough anyway. It must be a lot easier to write a book that goes with one's own flow, that's about the things one is interested in, and where one meets the sort of people one likes. After all, writing is a solitary job and presumably the writer has to spend quite a lot of time in their company.

    Even if one manages to finish writing it at all, I'd have thought a book is likely to carry a lot more conviction if it has a bit of the writer's fervour in it, rather than she has written it because she feels she ought to, or she wants to restore some sort of societal balance. Why write in a genre where one suspects a high proportion of the readers are people much like Dominic Cummings unless you are that sort of person too?

  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    Doc Tor has responded to this better than I possibly can but here goes anyway. It's not a cop out, it's a serious reaction to the futility (if not stupidity) of going on a constant box-ticking exercise in order that everyone can give their tick of approval in "their" box.

    I have actually heard of people doing writing courses basically being told that their story was great except that it lacked a character of some group or other.
    It is situation dependant. Lisa Dunham's Girls television show is set in Brooklyn, which is 50% not-white. And yet the cast is significantly more white than that. Not just the main cast, but those they interact with as well. If it were set in Coaster's Retreat,* then fair enough. But it is set in Brooklyn.

    *Very white Sydney neighbourhood.
    orfeo wrote: »
    Which is just a complete misconception of the difference between systemic issues and individual cases.
    Individual and systemic are not so separable. It is very difficult to track the path of an individual with complete accuracy but very easy to track the path of a crowd. Crowds are made of individuals. Individuals are part of the force that move the whole. In other words, individual cases contribute to systemic problems.

    orfeo wrote: »
    It's like the Bechdel test, which was only ever intended to be a commentary on the lack of films with meaningfully independent female characters. A systemic issue.

    What it became was a box to tick. Do we pass the Bechdel test? Hooray, our film is okay! Doesn't matter if it's still essentially a male-driven story like all the other essentially male-driven stories that are still tending to dominate the industry, we've passed the minimum standards! Tick!
    The Bechdel test is one indicator of a problem, A first step, not a complete solution.
    Passing or failing the test is not necessarily indicative of how well women are represented in any specific work. Rather, the test is used as an indicator for the active presence of women in the entire field of film and other fiction, and to call attention to gender inequality in fiction. Media industry studies indicate that films that pass the test perform better financially than those that do not.
    Bold mine.
    orfeo wrote: »
    The issues are solved by those who act as gatekeepers to the relevant industry ensuring that the range of creators invited to create is sufficiently diverse such that, when each individual creator gets to tell the stories they want to tell, the overall systemic effect is a range of representation.
    Individual creators have always been telling the stories they want and yet the problem with representation persists. Most of those individual creators are white men and because of the way the system works, that means they remain mostly white men. By calling out individuals who fail, it calls out the system and has resulted in progress.
    The gatekeepers are overwhelmingly white. And so are less likely to notice problems. And they have been historically reluctant to change from the formulas that perceive to have made them money in the past. Often they ignore things that have made them money if they do not fit their preconceptions of what will make money. In other words, films with strong female and/or minority representation often do very well at the box office, but what is greenlit after is predominately white and male.

    Is every creator called to fix the problem? No. They are asked to not be part of it.

    There are at least 2 bits of this that read as if you looked at what I said, didn't process it all, and then regurgitated it back to me.

    But the bit that is your own and which I simply cannot agree with is the claim that "calling out individuals who fail calls out the system".

    Really? Do you actually believe that this is how systems work? Because I see a hell of a lot of systems where, when an individual fails, the system is very capable of explaining why that individual was atypical or took a wrong turn etc etc and that their failings in no way reflect upon the system.

    Plus you've just advocated calling out authors NOT gatekeepers. So how does that fix the gatekeeper problem? I suggest that it doesn't.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Did you read your link? SF/Fantasy is 79% male. Only by selectively picking sub-genres can one possibly get parity.

    This is amazingly ironic given that you are doing exactly the same thing by selectively picking genres (SFF, in this case) in order to claim that parity doesn't exist in publishing as a whole.

    It's especially galling given that you're picking on a relatively small and niche genre for being overwhelmingly male while ignoring that the big, lucrative genres (YA and Romance) are overwhelmingly female.
  • GwaiGwai Epiphanies Host
    edited February 2020
    To be fair, I am one of the people who picked Sci fi/ fantasy, and I did it partially because it's what I read (and write, though I have not tried to publish yet.) lilbuddha joined the rest of us who started a sci fi fantasy tangent in the other thread. There are other reasons lack of female representation in fantasy is relevant though. For one thing, it's read by non-intellectuals too not just college professors. But it's not soft porn, which very often applies to the other really big genre, romance. If you see a teenager reading a book on the train, it's often either for school or it's sci fi fantasy.

    @Enoch , re what women want to produce, I would argue we have no evidence, so we cannot know. Even if fewer women submit manuscripts for publication--and I have no idea whether that is true; it may be--that is not evidence that fewer women wish to be published. People try to do what they see other people like themselves doing. I remember an interview with a boy who fenced extremely well. His mother was asked whether she wanted him to be an Olympic fencer. She basically said that black people didn't do that level of fencing, so she doubted he would either. I don't know whether she was right about him or about other fencers, but it said a lot about how her perceptions were formed.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    I wonder how many male writers, writing women, know to have the woman take her bra off at the earliest opportunity when she gets home.
    As a woman, this implication about what is an authentic portrayal of women really bugs me. I’ve spent decades leaving my bra on until I go to bed.

    I think it’s a choice in characterization for whether a character wants to get out of her workday clothes as fast as possible, or not. We’re not all Kinsey Milhone ditching tights and dresses as fast as possible.

    ... plus, unless it's important for plot or characterisation, there's no reason to describe what she does with her bra. When any character, male or female, comes home, the reader doesn't really want an exhaustive checklist of 'He took his gloves off and put them in his coat pocket; then he took off his shoes, put them on the shoe-rack, and changed into his slippers; then he hung his coat on the peg over the radiator ....'

    Did you read the thread on what white creatives get wrong about black culture ? I was mirroring that - fairly obviously not all members of any group behave in the same way.

    Yeah--I explained yesterday to a budding novelist I know that most women don't spend a lot of time thinking about their own clothes once they are actually on their bodies and in proper order in the morning. (It struck me as a very guy thing to pay attention to, and his viewpoint character was female.)
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    I wonder how many male writers, writing women, know to have the woman take her bra off at the earliest opportunity when she gets home.
    As a woman, this implication about what is an authentic portrayal of women really bugs me. I’ve spent decades leaving my bra on until I go to bed.

    I think it’s a choice in characterization for whether a character wants to get out of her workday clothes as fast as possible, or not. We’re not all Kinsey Milhone ditching tights and dresses as fast as possible.

    ... plus, unless it's important for plot or characterisation, there's no reason to describe what she does with her bra. When any character, male or female, comes home, the reader doesn't really want an exhaustive checklist of 'He took his gloves off and put them in his coat pocket; then he took off his shoes, put them on the shoe-rack, and changed into his slippers; then he hung his coat on the peg over the radiator ....'

    Did you read the thread on what white creatives get wrong about black culture ? I was mirroring that - fairly obviously not all members of any group behave in the same way.

    That thread is about people choosing to include details and getting them wrong. Your bra comment was about people not including details at all. My point is that writers always omit lots of details unless, as @mousethief says, they are channelling James Joyce (and there is a reason why there has only ever been one Ulysses ...)
    Writing details is part of building a character. It is, IMO, a better way of describing a character's character than bald exposition. Yes, one can write a good story without doing so, but it is a legitimate way to do it and not limited to Joyce.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    I wonder how many male writers, writing women, know to have the woman take her bra off at the earliest opportunity when she gets home.
    As a woman, this implication about what is an authentic portrayal of women really bugs me. I’ve spent decades leaving my bra on until I go to bed.

    I think it’s a choice in characterization for whether a character wants to get out of her workday clothes as fast as possible, or not. We’re not all Kinsey Milhone ditching tights and dresses as fast as possible.

    ... plus, unless it's important for plot or characterisation, there's no reason to describe what she does with her bra. When any character, male or female, comes home, the reader doesn't really want an exhaustive checklist of 'He took his gloves off and put them in his coat pocket; then he took off his shoes, put them on the shoe-rack, and changed into his slippers; then he hung his coat on the peg over the radiator ....'

    Did you read the thread on what white creatives get wrong about black culture ? I was mirroring that - fairly obviously not all members of any group behave in the same way.

    That thread is about people choosing to include details and getting them wrong. Your bra comment was about people not including details at all. My point is that writers always omit lots of details unless, as @mousethief says, they are channelling James Joyce (and there is a reason why there has only ever been one Ulysses ...)
    Writing details is part of building a character. It is, IMO, a better way of describing a character's character than bald exposition. Yes, one can write a good story without doing so, but it is a legitimate way to do it and not limited to Joyce.

    Which is why I said 'unless it's important for plot or characterisation' above (admittedly, this got lost in the quote chain).
  • Firenze wrote: »
    Taking your bra off before bed is a thing? Really? I receive this intelligence with the same surprise I did that some people do housework in the nude.

    Moral: never assume even people the same gender/race/culture/eye colour as you behave the same way.

    (Moral 2: people are WEIRD)
    NO, not everyone in a group behaves the same way. But there are behaviours that are common enough to add authenticity to a character. As DT mentions, black hair is not the same as white hair. Whilst not every black woman wraps her hair at night, it is common enough that including it makes the character more relatable and feels more authentic.

  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Doc Tor wrote: »

    No. Women represent 78% of publishing (in the US - it seems no one has collated figures for the UK). This is not just SFF, this is children's books, romance, non-fiction, mainstream fiction, every genre. If anything publishing has a massive gender imbalance against men. Likewise, romance and historical fiction, YA fiction, are largely, or overwhelmingly, written by women. Are you going to start agitating for better representation of men in these categories? Asking questions as to where all the men are in publishing?
    This is not just a goalpost shift, it moves them into another

    Well, it's a tangent you started back on page three when you wanted to talk about 'gatekeepers'.

    Perhaps I made an assumption that you wanted to discuss about the gender and ethnic make-up of publishers, backed up by actual data.
    I want to discuss writing outside one's own culture, especially if that culture is the default one.
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    Personally, I think it's important that publishing becomes more diverse as it'll publish more books by diverse authors.
    orfeo wrote: »
    But the bit that is your own and which I simply cannot agree with is the claim that "calling out individuals who fail calls out the system".

    Really? Do you actually believe that this is how systems work? Because I see a hell of a lot of systems where, when an individual fails, the system is very capable of explaining why that individual was atypical or took a wrong turn etc etc and that their failings in no way reflect upon the system.

    Plus you've just advocated calling out authors NOT gatekeepers. So how does that fix the gatekeeper problem? I suggest that it doesn't.

    Answering both of these at once. I've not "advocated" for ignoring the gatekeepers/publishers.
    Addressing the final product addresses them as well as the author. Despite women being part of publishing, women are still depicted poorly by male writers because publishing is about money, not activism. By addressing the books, one addresses the money and that gains the attention of the entire chain.
    I can advocate for more diversity in publishing, but without threat or incentive to the bottom line, there is no reason for that to change.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Did you read your link? SF/Fantasy is 79% male. Only by selectively picking sub-genres can one possibly get parity.

    This is amazingly ironic given that you are doing exactly the same thing by selectively picking genres (SFF, in this case) in order to claim that parity doesn't exist in publishing as a whole.

    It's especially galling given that you're picking on a relatively small and niche genre for being overwhelmingly male while ignoring that the big, lucrative genres (YA and Romance) are overwhelmingly female.
    As Gwai mentions, that is where this started. But, for the 40 millionth time, my point is about writing in other's spaces without understanding that space.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    I wonder how many male writers, writing women, know to have the woman take her bra off at the earliest opportunity when she gets home.
    As a woman, this implication about what is an authentic portrayal of women really bugs me. I’ve spent decades leaving my bra on until I go to bed.

    I think it’s a choice in characterization for whether a character wants to get out of her workday clothes as fast as possible, or not. We’re not all Kinsey Milhone ditching tights and dresses as fast as possible.

    ... plus, unless it's important for plot or characterisation, there's no reason to describe what she does with her bra. When any character, male or female, comes home, the reader doesn't really want an exhaustive checklist of 'He took his gloves off and put them in his coat pocket; then he took off his shoes, put them on the shoe-rack, and changed into his slippers; then he hung his coat on the peg over the radiator ....'

    Did you read the thread on what white creatives get wrong about black culture ? I was mirroring that - fairly obviously not all members of any group behave in the same way.

    That thread is about people choosing to include details and getting them wrong. Your bra comment was about people not including details at all. My point is that writers always omit lots of details unless, as @mousethief says, they are channelling James Joyce (and there is a reason why there has only ever been one Ulysses ...)
    Writing details is part of building a character. It is, IMO, a better way of describing a character's character than bald exposition. Yes, one can write a good story without doing so, but it is a legitimate way to do it and not limited to Joyce.

    Which is why I said 'unless it's important for plot or characterisation' above (admittedly, this got lost in the quote chain).
    Sorry, I missed the characterisation part. However, it can also create a feel in the writing beyond plot or characterisation. Think of a film set. The decoration in a room creates a mood, an atmosphere for the scene and contributes to the feeling of a film. Even if the individual items are not important to the plot or a particular character. In a real way, the sets are characters, so dressing them matters. Same with details in a book.
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    Enoch wrote: »
    Stereotype alert
    On there not being a fair balance of women SF writers getting published, might not the problem be that fewer women actually want to write SF?

    Perhaps. However, with all due respect to our in-house SF authors (whose work I'm in the middle of reading), I would assert that a majority of the interesting writing with novel modes in SF lately have been mostly by female authors. There's a je-ne-sais-quoi that hasn't historically been part of the genre before, and it's hard to ignore the correlation.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Addressing the final product addresses them as well as the author. Despite women being part of publishing, women are still depicted poorly by male writers because publishing is about money, not activism. By addressing the books, one addresses the money and that gains the attention of the entire chain.
    I can advocate for more diversity in publishing, but without threat or incentive to the bottom line, there is no reason for that to change.

    I would, along with others, argue that addressing the individual author, does not address the final product. An individual author will have one book published every year, maximum. A single imprint will publish dozens (if not 100+) a year. And women are not 'part of publishing', they represent the overwhelming number of editors and commissioning editors.

    That women are (in your opinion) depicted poorly by male writers doesn't seem to bother their female editors so much as to prevent their publication. So, if true, there is no incentive for male authors to change. (Anecdata: the book just gone, my editor gave me lots of notes on the male protagonist, and some on the female principle antagonist. The edited ms reflects those notes. I don't know what other authors do during editing, but I pay close attention to my editor's comments, and they often turn out to be highlighting problems with the ms that I'd missed. I change the ms to fix those problems: the editors themselves don't prescribe how I fix them.)

    The incentive to the bottom line is surely, a larger pool of customers. There is data to say that women buy 2/3rds of the books sold in the UK. If there is such a thing as the 'brown pound', then publishers will chase that wherever and however.
  • RooK wrote: »
    Enoch wrote: »
    Stereotype alert
    On there not being a fair balance of women SF writers getting published, might not the problem be that fewer women actually want to write SF?

    Perhaps. However, with all due respect to our in-house SF authors (whose work I'm in the middle of reading), I would assert that a majority of the interesting writing with novel modes in SF lately have been mostly by female authors. There's a je-ne-sais-quoi that hasn't historically been part of the genre before, and it's hard to ignore the correlation.

    I am now a *huge* fan of Claire North. I think what she's doing with the genre is nothing short of incredible.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Firenze wrote: »
    Taking your bra off before bed is a thing? Really? I receive this intelligence with the same surprise I did that some people do housework in the nude.

    Moral: never assume even people the same gender/race/culture/eye colour as you behave the same way.

    (Moral 2: people are WEIRD)
    NO, not everyone in a group behaves the same way. But there are behaviours that are common enough to add authenticity to a character. As DT mentions, black hair is not the same as white hair. Whilst not every black woman wraps her hair at night, it is common enough that including it makes the character more relatable and feels more authentic.

    I'm wondering if the bra thing is generational, but its certainly common enough for multiple memes - to get talked about in stand up comedy routines (Sarah Millican for example), and for there to be memes / discussions about taking it off in the car through the sleeve on the way home.

    But - and this is really the point of the comparison - I've never seen men talk or write about it.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I'm wondering if the bra thing is generational

    Possibly. I do at least take my underwear off at night: my grandmother went to bed in her stays.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    !

    I have heard people sometimes sleep in bras for structural reasons - but I find the idea uncomfortable.

    I imagine a male generational equivalent maybe, that almost all men I know well enough to have been told (or again comedy skits etc) sleep naked or in pants. Almost no one wears pyjamas anymore, it would seem. But I think this is more widely known.

    In terms of queer culture, I am a woman with short hair - at work other women with short hair tend to make a point of smiling or saying hello to me when we pass in corridors. This is not flirting, more the equivalent of vw beetle drivers beeping at each other. I don’t know if straight people notice or are aware of this.

    (Some years ago, I met a colleague who always took the day of her birthday as annual leave. It had just never previously occurred to me to do this, now it’s my custom. So, you know, feel free to escape the foundations garments early if you wish to - it’s comfy !)
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    I wonder how many male writers, writing women, know to have the woman take her bra off at the earliest opportunity when she gets home.
    As a woman, this implication about what is an authentic portrayal of women really bugs me. I’ve spent decades leaving my bra on until I go to bed.

    I think it’s a choice in characterization for whether a character wants to get out of her workday clothes as fast as possible, or not. We’re not all Kinsey Milhone ditching tights and dresses as fast as possible.

    ... plus, unless it's important for plot or characterisation, there's no reason to describe what she does with her bra. When any character, male or female, comes home, the reader doesn't really want an exhaustive checklist of 'He took his gloves off and put them in his coat pocket; then he took off his shoes, put them on the shoe-rack, and changed into his slippers; then he hung his coat on the peg over the radiator ....'

    Did you read the thread on what white creatives get wrong about black culture ? I was mirroring that - fairly obviously not all members of any group behave in the same way.

    That thread is about people choosing to include details and getting them wrong. Your bra comment was about people not including details at all. My point is that writers always omit lots of details unless, as @mousethief says, they are channelling James Joyce (and there is a reason why there has only ever been one Ulysses ...)
    Writing details is part of building a character. It is, IMO, a better way of describing a character's character than bald exposition. Yes, one can write a good story without doing so, but it is a legitimate way to do it and not limited to Joyce.

    Which is why I said 'unless it's important for plot or characterisation' above (admittedly, this got lost in the quote chain).
    Sorry, I missed the characterisation part. However, it can also create a feel in the writing beyond plot or characterisation.

    To be fair, I think I am fixating excessively on the specific example at the expense of the wider point. I think we are in agreement that a.) a selection of details is important to establish character and setting; b.) getting those details wrong is jarring at best and potentially offensive. But there are many reasons why a writer might omit mentioning any specific detail.
    Think of a film set. The decoration in a room creates a mood, an atmosphere for the scene and contributes to the feeling of a film. Even if the individual items are not important to the plot or a particular character. In a real way, the sets are characters, so dressing them matters. Same with details in a book.

    There are major differences between a book and a film.

    I've just written a passage describing a character travelling across London. He is the viewpoint character and he is in a hurry for what he imagines to be a Pivotal Meeting, so I pick out the details that build up his frustration: congestion on the bridge, vehicles unloading, etc. If he was in a mellower mood I might instead describe the sparkling Thames and the bustling crowds. OTOH, I think that by drawing out his journey I am building up tension, but I am also at risk of killing the pace stone-dead, because if there is any degree of complexity in a scene then I have to describe each bit sequentially, unlike a picture where you can see the whole thing at once.

    So the choice of details isn't just about setting but about the inner life of the character and the pacing of the narrative.

    A film director would probably just cut to the destination because filming the journey would be monumentally expensive. But if they did film it, they would not be able to pick and choose details in the same way. Everything in shot must be right: if there happen to be houses or people in the shot then they must be right, regardless of whether the viewpoint character cares about them. At the same time, you can film a complicated bustling scene in a few seconds that would take many paragraphs to describe, so you are not weighing down the pacing in the same way.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    I wonder how many male writers, writing women, know to have the woman take her bra off at the earliest opportunity when she gets home.
    As a woman, this implication about what is an authentic portrayal of women really bugs me. I’ve spent decades leaving my bra on until I go to bed.

    I think it’s a choice in characterization for whether a character wants to get out of her workday clothes as fast as possible, or not. We’re not all Kinsey Milhone ditching tights and dresses as fast as possible.

    ... plus, unless it's important for plot or characterisation, there's no reason to describe what she does with her bra. When any character, male or female, comes home, the reader doesn't really want an exhaustive checklist of 'He took his gloves off and put them in his coat pocket; then he took off his shoes, put them on the shoe-rack, and changed into his slippers; then he hung his coat on the peg over the radiator ....'

    Did you read the thread on what white creatives get wrong about black culture ? I was mirroring that - fairly obviously not all members of any group behave in the same way.

    That thread is about people choosing to include details and getting them wrong. Your bra comment was about people not including details at all. My point is that writers always omit lots of details unless, as @mousethief says, they are channelling James Joyce (and there is a reason why there has only ever been one Ulysses ...)
    Writing details is part of building a character. It is, IMO, a better way of describing a character's character than bald exposition. Yes, one can write a good story without doing so, but it is a legitimate way to do it and not limited to Joyce.

    Which is why I said 'unless it's important for plot or characterisation' above (admittedly, this got lost in the quote chain).
    Sorry, I missed the characterisation part. However, it can also create a feel in the writing beyond plot or characterisation.

    To be fair, I think I am fixating excessively on the specific example at the expense of the wider point. I think we are in agreement that a.) a selection of details is important to establish character and setting; b.) getting those details wrong is jarring at best and potentially offensive. But there are many reasons why a writer might omit mentioning any specific detail.
    Think of a film set. The decoration in a room creates a mood, an atmosphere for the scene and contributes to the feeling of a film. Even if the individual items are not important to the plot or a particular character. In a real way, the sets are characters, so dressing them matters. Same with details in a book.

    There are major differences between a book and a film.

    I've just written a passage describing a character travelling across London. He is the viewpoint character and he is in a hurry for what he imagines to be a Pivotal Meeting, so I pick out the details that build up his frustration: congestion on the bridge, vehicles unloading, etc. If he was in a mellower mood I might instead describe the sparkling Thames and the bustling crowds. OTOH, I think that by drawing out his journey I am building up tension, but I am also at risk of killing the pace stone-dead, because if there is any degree of complexity in a scene then I have to describe each bit sequentially, unlike a picture where you can see the whole thing at once.

    So the choice of details isn't just about setting but about the inner life of the character and the pacing of the narrative.

    A film director would probably just cut to the destination because filming the journey would be monumentally expensive. But if they did film it, they would not be able to pick and choose details in the same way. Everything in shot must be right: if there happen to be houses or people in the shot then they must be right, regardless of whether the viewpoint character cares about them. At the same time, you can film a complicated bustling scene in a few seconds that would take many paragraphs to describe, so you are not weighing down the pacing in the same way.
    Books and film are not identical, but they are not antithetical either. But this is getting too tangential for me.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    I think the thing is this. A book might say of a male character, “Twice he snoozed his insistent alarm, before surrendering to its piping call, and getting up with a groan he readied himself for the day ahead.”

    Probably there’s nothing there that offers any indications of class, race, sexual orientation or anything else. But to film the same scene there are multiple unanswered and maybe race, class, or other culture specific questions. Is the alarm on his Rolex, his Apple watch, smartphone or bedside alarm clock? What is he wearing in bed? Is he going to shower or bath? Will he shave, and if so wet or dry? What is he going to wear? What will he do to his hair - wash or not wash, towel or blow dry, brush or comb, will he use a hair care product, and if so what? If the film is going to skip any of that detail, is it just going to skip somehow from alarm sounding to fully dressed? How will it convey the implied reluctance to get going?

    The author can convey what is wanted in a sentence that doesn’t have to cope with any of that complexity. The film maker has to get it all right including appropriate cultural detail or the jarring element will break (maybe only briefly) the audience’s wiling suspension of disbelief.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Addressing the final product addresses them as well as the author. Despite women being part of publishing, women are still depicted poorly by male writers because publishing is about money, not activism. By addressing the books, one addresses the money and that gains the attention of the entire chain.
    I can advocate for more diversity in publishing, but without threat or incentive to the bottom line, there is no reason for that to change.

    I would, along with others, argue that addressing the individual author, does not address the final product. An individual author will have one book published every year, maximum. A single imprint will publish dozens (if not 100+) a year. And women are not 'part of publishing', they represent the overwhelming number of editors and commissioning editors.

    That women are (in your opinion) depicted poorly by male writers doesn't seem to bother their female editors so much as to prevent their publication. So, if true, there is no incentive for male authors to change. (Anecdata: the book just gone, my editor gave me lots of notes on the male protagonist, and some on the female principle antagonist. The edited ms reflects those notes. I don't know what other authors do during editing, but I pay close attention to my editor's comments, and they often turn out to be highlighting problems with the ms that I'd missed. I change the ms to fix those problems: the editors themselves don't prescribe how I fix them.)

    The incentive to the bottom line is surely, a larger pool of customers. There is data to say that women buy 2/3rds of the books sold in the UK. If there is such a thing as the 'brown pound', then publishers will chase that wherever and however.
    That is just not true. America has had the brown dollar to chase for over 150 years. They still have a deficit. Britain is different, but not that different.

    And the market will fix inequities? I think it might be time to turn in your socialist card.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    On what basis could you possibly say the brown dollar has been in America to chase for over 150 years?

    Do you think emancipation just miraculously put copious leisure-spending money into brown pockets and equalised economic power?

    I don't think you actually understand what Doc Tor is saying, not least because translating it to "the market will fix inequities" tends to indicate you don't understand which inequities we're talking about. Inequity in who has money to spend and inequity in what is on the shelves to buy are two very different questions.

    This thread is primarily about the latter. Doc Tor's point is that if/once the spending money is available, then business will offer ways to spend it.
  • Hang on, @lilbuddha . You were the one that brought market forces into it.
    I can advocate for more diversity in publishing, but without threat or incentive to the bottom line, there is no reason for that to change.

    I was simply giving one reason why publishers have an incentive to change. They chase markets as much as the next rapacious capitalist.

    Given that the 'pink pound' has only been a mainstream thing in the second half of my own life, that BAME Brits are now considered a sufficiently important economic force for white capitalists to pay attention to their consumer requirements will hopefully mean a similar (if not equally cynical) shift in attitudes.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited February 2020
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    Hang on, @lilbuddha . You were the one that brought market forces into it.
    I can advocate for more diversity in publishing, but without threat or incentive to the bottom line, there is no reason for that to change.

    I was simply giving one reason why publishers have an incentive to change. They chase markets as much as the next rapacious capitalist.
    Yes, they do. The same rapacious capitalists that ignored products for black people for decades and decades. Take the humble plaster. Available in various shades of white, pink or clear despite there being a significant market for other colours. When, in the late 1990's an entrepreneur developed colours for people with melanin, They were not shelves with the other plasters, but tucked away with black hair products. Caused the company to fail. It was not until the 1980's when large cosmetics companies finally began producing products for black people. Again, after protests.

    Doc Tor wrote: »
    Given that the 'pink pound' has only been a mainstream thing in the second half of my own life, that BAME Brits are now considered a sufficiently important economic force for white capitalists to pay attention to their consumer requirements will hopefully mean a similar (if not equally cynical) shift in attitudes.
    Capitalists didn't chase women's money until women protested the inequities.

    If there being an opportunity to make money were all that was necessary, then every niche but the smallest would be filled.

    Even if you were correct, it doesn't change that white people writing POC should write them with authenticity.

    A friend of mine worked for a large, American retailer in the 1980's and 1990's. That retailer would not stock black products. Not even in stores in predominantly black neighbourhoods. Something at work there other than chasing money.
  • Nothing of what you have just said contradicts anything I have previously said.
    Even if you were correct, it doesn't change that white people writing POC should write them with authenticity.

    Again, I have never suggested otherwise.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    Nothing of what you have just said contradicts anything I have previously said.
    Except that it does. You are saying the market follow potential money and I am saying that the market has to sometimes be forced to take that money.
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    Even if you were correct, it doesn't change that white people writing POC should write them with authenticity.

    Again, I have never suggested otherwise.

    Yeah, but:
    Saying
    Being white is, uncontroversially, just one aspect of a character. That they are white doesn't mean they are anything "like me". We share a skin colour. Yay.
    and
    My culture is human
    doesn't indicate to me a proper understanding of how being of the culture works.
    I applaud your doing research, too many authors don't. But not talking to people representing the groups you write about? I would not write a Jewish character without talking to Jewish people.
    If one is writing culturally generic people and randomly assigning colour, the I suppose no interaction is needed. But if culture is a part of the depiction, I think it is.
    And after reading more books with poor depictions of people like me, I think I have a reasonable point.
  • So, can I interest anybody in a discussion of queer coding ? In Agatha Christie or more generally ?

    Meanwhile, I am reading Wild Seed by Octavia Butler (per a recommendation from lb) - wanted to note, I went with an audio book - because I thought a good narration would help undercut my default “unless you tell me they’re white” bias. I’ve found it quite helpful, though in fact the book does goes through bouts of talking about colour explicitly.
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