It’s that time again: that time every week where I round up links to articles written by marginalized people pushing back against oppression in publishing. I’m aggregated as many marginalized voices as possible from as many vectors as possible, and the more intersectional the better. As always if you’ve read something I missed please link it in the comments.
Is Schlitz–through her characters–pushing against the growing call for diversity of authors? I think so, and, I think it is an overt move on the part of Schlitz, her editor, and her publishing house.
“Accuracy or Bias: On Prejudicial Characters in Children’s Literature and Beyond” by Justina Ireland for Book Riot
It doesn’t matter that this book may be offensive to Jewish or Native people. As long as it satisfies the majority, in this case a white, Christian audience, it must be “quality.” The book is one more microaggression against readers that fall outside of the imagined audience, and the conversation surrounding the book further marginalizes these groups because it makes very clear that their opinion is inconsequential. A book that is offensive to them can still be considered award worthy.
“Same Old Script” by Alisha Harris at Slate
A Writers’ Guild of America report released earlier this year noted that staff employment for people of color actually decreased between the 2011–12 season and 2013–14 season, from a peak of 15.6 percent to 13.7 percent. The number of executive producers of color also decreased in those seasons, from 7.8 percent to 5.5 percent. While the 2014–15 season may have seen those numbers increase thanks to the addition of a few shows with diverse casts, such sharp declines demonstrate how tenuous progress in Hollywood can be.
The Rhimes effect onscreen is real. But can the remarkable diversity in those few writers’ rooms spread to shows across the television landscape?
I want to ask you about the cover of About a Girl—because isn’t this the first mass-market YA cover to show two girls kissing??
It’s the first cover of a YA novel published by a Big 5 publisher (Big 4 now? I can’t keep track) to feature two girls kissing, yes! It came about because I am a belligerent pest, is the short version of the story. I am still delighted about that.
“Sleeps With Monsters: Strong Female Characters and the Double Standard” by Liz Bourke for Tor.com
But the double standard of content, the double standard of criticism applied, bothers me really quite fundamentally. We fall into the error of really rather relentlessly applying criticism to female characters. They’re too domestic! They aren’t domestic enough! They have too little agency! Or too much, having unbelievably few constraints on their choices! They’re too violent, too shallow, too brittle. They’re too gentle, too generous, too forgiving, too soft. They’re insufficiently maternal, or too much so. They’re too independent! They’re not independent enough!