Welcome to “Women in Genre Month” on The Alternative Typewriter, running from April 1st to April 30th. I hope you can spare me a few minutes and hear what I have to say. Genre fiction and its surrounding community has brought me many joys over the years. Most of the happiest moments I had as part of this community have been brought by women – wonderful, crazy talented, passionate and generous women.
Women in genre have brought me into reading and writing. The books crucial to my growth as a person and creator have been written by women in genre and serve as foundation to my craft. My period as a reviewer saw a great many women influence me in my technique. Women in genre have taught me how to be honest online without being offensive. It’s safe to say I’m who I am in the genre community thanks to the women in genre.
I love the women in genre. It’s that simple. My relationship with them runs deep and is powerful, so I get aggressively defensive when they’re questioned. I’m tired of the magical hunt for women in genre, because someone can’t think of a woman writing X, Y or Z, or doesn’t trust a woman to write X, Y or Z.
Where are they? Why are they underrepresented?
Newsflash, women are here. They’re not invisible and they’re having a marvelous time kicking ass, taking names and snatching critical acclaim. Nevertheless, there’s a problem in how we see gender in genre, because I still see women treated as a novelty when they contribute worthwhile material in genre. Janet Harriett writes about this on her blog as a prelude to this month.
I think we’re stuck on the idea of women as a minority and it’s playing a joke on our community as to how we see women or if we see them at all. It’s partially why we can’t move on and escape the loop we’re caught when it comes to discussing women in genre.
Where are the women in genre? This isn’t the question we ought to answer. Who are they? That’s the right question to ask.
This is the purpose behind this small project – to shed light on the 30 women in genre who have made significant difference in my life through their work and friendship. Each day, I’ll share one story – some will be raw and personal, others not so much.
I want us as a community to celebrate women and I’d like you participate the women in genre that have left a mark. Name books, give names and say thanks. The more we discuss women in genre as individuals, the less we’ll need to talk about them as a group. It’s time we change this conversation’s tone and ensure future readers won’t feel the necessity to wonder where the women are in genre.
Are you game?
I hope you are, because I’m one person. I can’t do much, even if I’m on all the channels.
Write about the women in genre you know and appreciate.
If you’re on Twitter, use the #WomenInGenre hashtag to find other people involved and spread the word wide and far.
Comment here and leave the names of women in genre. By the end of April, I’ll gather all names suggested and create one giant list so that we see just how many women there are.
However, what I truly and utterly hope for is for this conversation doesn’t end with April and the last day of this project. Please talk about women in genre every day. I think it’s one pretty good remedy for the problem of their underrepresentation.