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Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule

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ALL GIRL ACTION
modern lit
catvalente
So Realms of Fantasy is having an all women-authors issue.

And how do you feel about that, brain?

Well, it's always good for women to get published. But on the other hand, I feel certain that there have been all male issues without calling them THE ALL DUDE REVUE. By definition, herding women authors into a single book or magazine and proclaiming it special for their appearance there is, well, segregation, and has an ugly implication that they won't be appearing in regular issues.

Of course, women do appear in RoF. Maybe not with the density we'd all like to see in a field in which women are doing thrilling, daring work, but they appear. So a special issue is all the more emoticon-inducing.

And if this issue doesn't sell, will it be used as an excuse to buy fewer stories by women in the future? Who knows?

But brain, isn't this what we want? A high percentage of female authors in a table of contents? Well, 50% would be good. 40%, too. But creating Very Special Issues once in a 15 year run isn't the same as addressing the problem head on by understanding the psychology at play and changing the editorial paradigm. It's just a bone, thrown.

I guess I prefer Weird Tales' approach, which is to do an issue dealing with gaze and gender, inviting writers specifically to contribute, and welcoming both genders as long as they engage with the subject matter.

I also shudder to think what the cover will be on this. It's gonna be bad, y'all. Bad.

All in all it feels a bit like a way to shut up those of us who criticized the magazine. And this sort of thing never shuts anyone up. Will I be submitting? Prooobably not. The email issue remains, and I don't have a lot of time this year--again with the issue of I get asked personally for stories too often to regularly submit blind.

I think I'd be happier about an All Email Submissions Issue. That would actually address one of the criticisms, and not discriminate against any one group (people who submit on paper can also submit online, I promise), and would be interesting: would quality drop, as has been claimed? Would the workload become untenable, as has also been claimed? Even better, email with numerical codes so that authorial gender was unknown, as in the famous orchestra experiment. I would submit to that so fast.


Because really, I fight the women's visibility issue all the time, by working as hard and as much as I can, as well as I can, and being in those ToCs, with my oh-so-feminine name right up there next to the male ones. I fight that fight, every day. It's not a Very Special Episode for me, it's my whole life. And that's tru for most women writers, I think, if not all of us. The way to win this fight is not to submit to segregated spaces, but to exist unashamedly and frequently in public ones.

But no, we have the hoary old moon-hut issue, where all the ladies sit together and don't touch the boys' stories with their cooties.

And the cover. Well? Boobs, chained women, girls making out, or disembodied ass? Taking all bets!

I don't think it's yearly, it's something they're doing this year. But send them something!