Writing diversity: sensitivity readers

23 May

Originally posted to the Literature forum at MyMedia. I have imported a few
of those posts here under the Publishing tag, if you are interested.

While it may seem, particularly when reading the “classics”¹ and the ‘great literary fiction masters’¹ that there is a default in characterization (heroes are straight able bodied white cis males, and most often, of Anglo Saxon descent), the reality is that people come in many more flavors than that.

In the past few years, readers who do not fit this ‘universal’ characterization, have started seeing themselves represented in the fiction they pay good money to read, in still small but increasing percentages.

All good, right?

Except, not all representation is good representation.

If the one homosexual/non-binary/non-gender conforming character in the work is written as a deviant.
If the one person of color is either a criminal or a victim.
If the one immigrant speaks broken or no English.
If the one female character with speaking lines is there exclusively to either be killed or rescued.
If the one neuro atypical person is either a savant or an idiot.

In short: if whatever diversity is there, consists of clichés, that representation is more harmful than the outright absence of anyone who doesn’t conform to the white, straight, male characters of yore.

Enter sensitivity readers.

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Catify to Satisfy, by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin

18 May

This review is for our very own, awesome, Queen Librarian of the Universe, SuperWendy’s TBR Challenge.

The theme for this month is Something Different, and boy, oh boy, this is different.

How different? Well, it’s somewhere between interior design and self-help, neither of which I ever read.

(Spoiler: if you enjoy either of these types of books, or the show, you’ll probably want to skip this review)

Catify to Satisfy, by Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin

A dude at work often gets print ARCs directly from publishers, and every so often he goes around the office, handing them over to people according to what he knows of their interests. This is…a very hit and miss way of giving books away.

Because I rescued two kittens. back in the fall of 2015, he just knew I would love this book, and so he handed it to me, with an admonition to let him know my thoughts.

Seventeen months later…::crickets::

But where are my manners? Here, allow me to introduce you to our characters, via the blurb:
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Understanding consent: a cup of tea

13 May

Originally posted almost two years ago to the Community section of MyMedia.

I thought I had posted something about it here as well at that time, but a search shows me that I hadn’t. Unfortunately, people (mostly men, but not just men), seem to continue to struggle to understand consent as a concept, so I’m remedying the oversight now.

~ * ~

A couple of months ago, someone sent me a link to a blog post that used an innocuous, simple analogy to explain consent.

Why even go there? Easy. As the author, one Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess, explains, it’s because it would seem people just don’t get it:
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The Girl Who Knew Too Much, by Amanda Quick

9 May

thegirlwhoknewtoomuch

I received an ARC for this novel sometime in late 2016, and it was one of only two new books I read in the months following my mother’s death.

Although I have not yet written any reviews for them, I own and love all of Ms Quick’s early historical novels (Surrender, Mystique, Ravished, etc). In later years, I had given up on her books, after growing a bit fatigued by some writing tics, and frankly tired of the Arcane Society novels.¹

However, the cover caught my eye, and the blurb makes it clear this novel is not part of a series. Best of all, it’s set in California in the 1930s!

Warning: there are a couple of murders, though not much gore; there’s adult language, and sex on the page. If any of these bother you, avoid this one.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much, by Amanda Quick

I liked many things about this novel, starting with how well the setting is rendered. I felt immersed in the period without awkward lectures or info-dumping. Both of the main characters are complex and three dimensional, and their world is populated by three dimensional, complex people.

The suspense thread is a lot more layered than the blurb would make one think, and the story is told from several characters’ point of view, which allows the reader to believe she knows more than our hero and heroine.
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Women have it SO good.

6 May

(Originally posted to the Community section of MyMedia)

Another day in that Utopia where “women have it so good.”

A couple of months ago, Oklahoma State Representative Justin Humphrey kindly explained that women who become pregnant are merely hosts, stupidly deluded into thinking that it is their own body going through the pregnancy. Therefore, and whether that pregnancy is simply unplanned, not wanted, or the result of rape, those women ‘invited it in’ and should therefore be required to obtain the father’s permission in order to obtain an abortion.

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IWD thread: an update

7 Apr

(Originally posted to the Community section of MyMedia)

For those who read this thread, I offer an apology.

It’s very difficult for me, given current events, to find motivation to continue talking about the need for everyone–including women–to see everyone else–particularly women, both cis and trans, and gender fluid/gender queer people–as equals.

The current administration has declared April to be “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.”

Irony has died.

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Oooopsss — status report chez aztec

5 Apr

Just a quick note: a number of posts that I thought I had scheduled to post over the past month and a half never posted–because aztec didn’t pay attention, and saved them all as drafts.

Most of them belong to the International Women’s Day thread/page, and a couple of reviews, so they will be back dated to when I originally had intended them to post. I apologize in advance, particularly if you subscribe to email notifications and get a bunch of them today.

On other news: I caved to peer pressure and am now on twitter, @herhandsmyhands.