Yes, it made me angry, and I encourage women everywhere to speak up when you are angry. Don't let pressure to be polite or fear of being branded as a bitchy cunt who's probably on her period or something stop you from speaking up when something makes you mad.
But understand that it was never my intention to vilify organizer Lou Boxer or nuke NoirCon, which remains one of my favorite crime-related events in the US.
I will not be driven out of the boys club by this. I plan to attend the next NoirCon and keep the dialog going. I hope to see you all there.
Here’s the email I sent to Lou Boxer, the organizer.
I just saw the cover of the NoirCon catalog posted on twitter and am really upset. While I’m a huge fan of vintage pulp art and totally understand what you were going for in that painting, I’m hurt and offended to be portrayed as a half-naked damsel in distress. I try so hard to be taken seriously as a writer and to break out of the sexist mindset in which women are viewed as nothing but vixens and victims. I feel like that cover undermines everything I represent as a writer and a person.
To Lou’s credit, he got on the phone and called me right away, with the artist on the line. They apologized to me and told me that they never meant to offend me. The artist then went on to explain his intention, that it was meant to be ironic and that portraying me tied up and helpless was funny because it’s the opposite of how I really am.
While I appreciate the apology and the effort to communicate instead of hiding from conflict, I just don’t think that an image like this, ironic or not, is the kind of thing we need any more of in our genre.
So, Faustketeers, what’s your take? Do you think this painting is funny and ironic? Or does it reinforce the sexist stereotypes female writers have been up against for years?
Edited to add: This image is on a program book that has already been distributed to con attendees for an event this weekend, so there's no way to nix, pull or change it. In fact I didn't even know about it until an attendee posted a photo on twitter, which is a major part of my beef as well.
Edited again to add: In the interest of fairness, I have been asked to post the back cover of the book. (Sorry for the blurry photo quality.) It depicts other women, so I'm not the only female, but I am the only one who is overtly sexualized and portrayed as a victim. That's Megan Abbott and a female DJ behind Reed Coleman and SJ Rozan holding the arm of Nazi Ken Bruen. And, as far as Reed and some of the other men being nearly naked too, as I stated in the comments, a straight man portraying another straight man half naked and/or victimized as a joke is not as creepy as a straight man portraying a woman half naked and victimized as a joke. Especially when the woman in question is not in on the joke.
THE FUTURE OF PUBLISHING
Presented by the Mystery Writers of America, So Cal chapter
Saturday, November 3
Sherman Oaks Branch Library
14245 Moorpark Street
Sherman Oaks, 91423
Please join this intriguing and engaging cross-section of writers and book
people who have experience doing e-books, self-publishing physical units,
have done successful Kickstarter campaigns, done print on demand, marketed
small press books and more.
James Scott Bell (traditional & e-books)
Christa Faust (traditional, e-books & Kickstarter)
William Goldstein, marketing, Red Hen Press
Diane Vallere, Polyester Press
Moderator: Gary Phillips
(traditional, e-books & Kickstarter)
Free and Open to All
Today, I woke up to the news that my old friend Chef Damon Bruner had been found dead in his San Francisco apartment. Details are still sketchy, but the police are apparently regarding it as a "suspicious death." He was 44.
Damon was an amazing cook. His Thai squid salad is what I always said I would want as my death row meal. He used to rag me about my sorry-ass knife skills, and joked that everything I prepped for him during the fetish dinners at the Ivy Manor would have to be presented as "rustic." He was charming and funny and gifted. And I haven't seen or talked to him since 2009.
Because I was busy.
When he moved to San Francisco after his wife Edith's suicide, we made the usual promises to stay in touch, but my deadlines got in the way. Like they always do. I thoughtlessly assumed that it was no big deal. That a few years down the road, I'd be up in the Bay Area with a little time on my hands and I'd swing by the latest restaurant where he would be cooking. We could always catch up later. But now there is no more later, and I feel like shit about that.
You see, this is a lesson that I've failed to learn over and over again. That life is what happens while you're on deadline. That if you put everything and everyone on the back burner in order to pay the bills, then you miss out on the things that really matter.
So, even though I'm on the tightest deadline of my life right now, I'm gonna take the day off. Call my friends and listen to what they are up to, not be in a rush to hang up and get back to work. Spend some time with my Pop and Charles. Take my dog for a long walk. Take the time to cook a nice meal for myself and not just eat cereal for dinner at my desk. Be alive.
Not later. Now.
I’m not denying that female only (or male only) space can be a good thing in certain contexts, but this suggestion that we’d all be better off if we go back to gender segregated education is just plain wrong.
For starters, there’s the underlying heterocentric pretense that completely negates the experiences of gay and lesbian students. A gender segregated school system would increase the possibility of sexual and romantic distraction for them, rather than eliminating it as the author suggests.
Second, it puts even more unfair pressure on young transgendered people, who have enough battles to fight on a daily basis and don’t need yet another opportunity be catastrophically misgendered.
Then, here we go again with the pervasive idea that all men are slavering rape monkeys who just can’t be trusted. And according to this article, the answer isn’t to teach our sons not to rape people, it’s to send our daughters to what the author apparently imagines would be a peaceful, penis-free utopia where nothing bad, scary or mean will ever happen to them.
Which brings me to the last and most deeply personal reason why this pissed me off. Because I was never date-raped or sexually harassed in school, but I was relentlessly physically and psychologically tortured by other students. Female students. So you’ll forgive me if I find the idea of being sent to an all girl school to be less than fucking idyllic.
Instead of sending your daughter to Barbie’s Malibu Dream School, how about teaching her to handle herself in the real world, where there are male people, good, bad and indifferent. Where things aren’t always going to be easy and she will need to be strong and focused and confident enough to handle whatever comes her way. Where not everyone she meets will fit into the standard pink and blue cliché of what “girls” and “boys” are supposed to be.
But that would require actual parenting.
You guys all know that Pop Faust has been having a lot of health problems recently, and that I had to take on a tremendous amount of care-taking, shopping, driving and other responsibilities in order to help him out.
Well, as a thank you for taking care of him, my awesome family has gotten together and chipped in to pay for my airfare and hotel at B-con! So a zillion thanks to the far-flung Faust clan. Couldn't have done it without you guys.
Anyway, I won't be on any panels but I'll be in the bar, so feel free to come on over and say hello.
On an interesting side note, I'm on a skin-tight deadline for my current tie-in project (soon to be announced) so I'll be working in the mornings and doing the B-con thing in the afternoon and evenings. This will be my first time trying to rack up a serious word count while traveling, and I'm very curious to see how it goes. I don't have a laptop, so I'll be using Pages on my iPad with a keyboard dock. Wish me luck.
Writers: Have you ever be able to write on the road? Any tips or tricks to share?
Misogynistic politician is misogynistic!
I was born in 1969, brought up by idealistic, intellectual hippie parents who fought for women’s rights and thought they’d won. They taught me that girls and boys are equal and I could grow up to be anything I wanted. That I had the right to do whatever I wanted with my body and my mind. That I could love anyone I chose, or be alone if I chose. That I was born free, just like the sappy song my dad used to play for me on his guitar.
As a kid, I was an avid reader of science fiction and imagined the future would be this wondrous, enlightened utopia of science and reason. We all would wear togas and Lucite sandals. We’d zip around in our flying cars and meet up with our brainy friends to discuss complex and exciting new scientific concepts over protein pill lunches. Equality for all would be a given and we would laugh and shake our enlightened heads over how silly our caveman ancestors used to be about things like genitals, skin color or sexual orientation.
Obviously, that’s not what happened.
How is it that, decades later, long past the iconic year 2000, a basic human right like a woman’s control over her own body is still up for debate? How is it that the most irrational and hateful branches of religion are still alive and kicking while science is increasingly under funded and marginalized? And where’s my fucking flying car?
All jokes aside, I can’t help but feel a kind of hate fatigue, wading through the deluge of misogyny and willful ignorance that seems to fill the interwebs these days. I want to be angry, but most of the time I just feel numb and disgusted. I feel like the Marching Morons are winning.
What do you think? Will we as a society ever move past this superstitious pussy-hatin’ ass-backwards kind of thinking or are rational, compassionate people the ones that will end up loaded into boxcars on the old Dodo Express?
By happy accident, I ran into Max and her partner last night at OutFest 2012.
She's even more dapper and charming in real life.
I'll be working with Max to come up with a final book trailer for the Butch Fatale series. My original plan was to shoot something from scratch with the winner and edit it myself, but Max did such an outstanding job of nailing the flavor and feel of the series that I may just end up using a slightly modified version of her video.
If more than one entry is received by the cut off date, then readers will be invited to vote for who should play Butch Fatale in the new book trailer. May the best butch win!
Max does Butch Fatale
I'm blown away by how perfectly she nailed the feel of the character and the novel with her entry. The sense of place, the cocky, sexy attitude but also the sense of humor and fun. She tips a hat (literally) to the 50s but it still reads as modern.
I found Max through her blog, which was recommended to me by one of the butches in my own Butch Hunt video from Dyke Day LA. When I contacted her, I told her I wanted her own take on the character and that she was free to express her own personality and style. She nailed it. I couldn't have done better if I had been directing her myself.
In light of this awesomeness, I've decided to extend the deadline for the contest. Deets here. Assuming I get at least one more entry, I'll set up a poll to vote for the face of Butch Fatale right here on this blog. Stay tuned, Faustketeers...