Some weeks it seems like I can't walk across my own living room without tripping over some new moment of !fail in the genre. This weeks glittering gem: "The War on Science Fiction and Marvin Minsky."
Now, before I go on, it bears pointing out that the blogger -- who believes "technology is the key to defeating feminism" -- is the sort of man who feels threatened now that the dominant-heterosexual-breadwinner-in-charge-of-his-women-and-children model of masculinity is no longer the only game in town. When men are made to share the cultural mic in a proportionate, appropriate way, he lashes out at women and declares that he is being oppressed.
In short, this man is a gutless, whinging wingnut. His opinions should by rights be beneath the notice of sane (or at least observant) people anywhere. Even ignoring the batshit rhetoric, his post is so riddled with half-truths and inaccuracies (Dirk Benedict's personal butthurt notwithstanding) that debunking him almost a waste of time.
And yet, while his screed is the kind of tripe that I ought to be able to dismiss out of hand -- like so -- his attitude is something that I keep seeing played out in the industry. (See Also: the aforementioned !fail problem.)
That writers who are not white, male, heterosexual, or cisgendered have to work twice as hard as writers who are (just like everywhere else) isn't exactly a secret. You only have to look as far as a certain anthology, or consider the matter of gender bias where certain awards are concerned, and...
Well, to be frank, if we're not being That Guy, many of us are certainly walking in his footsteps. The writers I know, read, and listen to are still complaining that it's harder to sell books with female protagonists because the industry thinks 'boys won't read girls, but girls will read boys.' There's still fallout from Amazon!fail. Queer writers, writers of color, and women writers often see their books pigeonholed based on content, who they are, or both. I can't count the times I've heard women writers talking about using a pseudonym or initials.
This isn't a zero-sum game, people. The LeGuins, Atwoods, and Butlers writing in the genre haven't diluted it, nor have the Captain Jacks and Kara Thraces diminished it. It's the small-minded men who throw little tantrums when confronted by the possibility of having to work and succeed according to their merits rather than the privilege afforded them by their masculinity that make us smaller.
It's a ridiculous lack of imagination that locks people and characters out, and if one boy fails to be inspired by a hero of science fiction because she happens to sport a pair of breasts, or he happens to like kissing other men?
Well, he's probably not somebody I'd want my friends' kids to be an astronaut with when they grow up anyway.
1 Women have written science fiction as long as it's existed; Captain Jack Harkness was created by a married heterosexual man; the SyFy name change happened on Dave Howe's watch, not Bonnie Hammer's, though the WWE came to the channel while Hammer was President of the channel; and Captain Kirk was doing aliens long before Captain Jack, so drop the shock-horror act, Techie-boy.