Well, as you will. I'm not sure we read the same type of books, so you may not like her [Storm Constantine], and that's a valid opinion. It seems that males tend to not like her moreso than females, probably because the Wraeththu story tends to make you open your mind about masculinity, femininity, and sexuality in general.This reminds me of a discussion I had with another about a year ago regarding how male and female authors in general tend to depict male suffering and indignity. The friend I was discussing this with observed that in her opinion, based on what she's read by contemporary male authors, in most cases, a male character might suffer physical or even sexual abuse, but the effects on the characters' psyches is rarely explored, while with many female authors (Karin Lowachee and I believe Sarah Monette were discussed here), not only are the effects shown, but they are shown in such a direct way that seems to make many male readers "uncomfortable." Although I disagreed as to the extent of this "uncomfortableness," I couldn't think of a plausible refutation to her claims.
- Ekaterina Sedia's article for the current issue of Clarkesworld Magazine, "Cheer Up Emo Kid: Being Depressed (or Gay) is Not All in Your Genes":
This article led to some interesting discussion about research fallibilities and (to an extent) about the "nature" (or is it nurture causing all this?) of being gay. While the discussion on homosexuality interests me only because of the friends and acquaintances of mine that are gay, the depression bit is what I really paid close attention to, since I have suffered periodically from it, mostly as a reaction to sustained and often-intense workplace stress or as a reaction to certain medications that I was taking for unrelated matters.
In recent years, popular science journals have been full of articles excitedly reporting "genetic markers" for depression, sexual orientation, alcoholism, IQ, and any number of other behavioral traits. The scientific journals cheerfully publish heritability statistics, which are often mistaken for estimates of genetic contributions to behavior, and used as justification to start looking for genes. And the common assumption is that there is a gene (or several) for just about everything.
Genetic explanations are a double-edged sword — on one hand, they remove the stigma sometimes attributed to a choice of an unpopular behavior; on the other, they have been used to justify mandatory sterilizations and other violations of human rights. The current fashion for uncovering genes underlying everything from alcoholism to schizophrenia is not exactly new, but quite pervasive. Without much proof, a sizeable chunk of the population is branded as "hardwired" for depression and other mental illness, and most of the population is convinced that genes affect human behavior in a straightforward way. They are wrong.
Sorry, but your depression is probably not due to your genes. It is a popular view seemingly substantiated with many news articles, but the evidence for this is a lot less impressive than what popular media would have you believe.
- An irritating and rather philistine topic raises its ugly head (again)
While I don't believe that the adage of people fear what they least understand holds true in every situation, I would have to say that it does apply here. Most of those who express a "distrust" of female authors admit to reading a very few (if any). And of those very few, it appears that most write in a style that is closest to the forum's predominant emphasis: epic fantasy. The fact that almost 300 comments have been made over the course of a year on that topic indicates something more than just a vocal minority (majority? plurality?) speaking their piece. If I had to postulate reasons for such concerns, I would refer back to the first link and the poster's observation that many males tend to be "uncomfortable" with certain themes that subvert or invert the "natural" order (i.e. male "superiority" over suffering and passion).
But it runs much deeper than this. I think there's so much uncertainty about gender roles and expectations that people are willing to grab at this or that label (Sedia's article can be read as a critique of those who grabbed at a "lifeline" in regards to sexuality or depression issues, although there's much more to it than that). In uncertain times, people often fall back upon "tradition." Being "manly," or strong and rough and tough - those are some attitudes that can be found in certain commercials, talk shows, lead ups to wars, "man programs,"...and fiction, including some SF and epic fantasies. Things that run counter to this are often shunned or feared out of hand. "Distrust" is a revealing term in that one forum post. Distrust of what? Of being exposed to other interpretations of the world and of how the genders deal with matters of love, hate, joy, pain, sorrow, happiness, sadness, boredom, and desire?
Guess the work begun at Seneca Falls (Stonewall, etc.) is far from complete. I wonder what the next generation of spec fic readers will worry about.