I'm not really back yet, though I'm feeling better and working on editing my Small Fandom Big Bang. I'm looking at my inbox which has 50 items and feeling too overwhelmed to deal with that yet however.
I do want to share this though, something non-fiction related which I dashed off and posted to Tumblr.Silencing Women
I watched Murdoch Mysteries s13e01 Troublemakers and the Georgian set Canadian crime drama in this episode was looking at female suffrage, i.e. allowing women to vote.
There was opposition from men. There was opposition from women, one in particular, a society lady who told titular Detective Murdoch that his wife, a respected doctor, was in the wrong for being a suffragette and wanting the vote, that she and those speaking in favour were "leading women astray."
She claimed that "It denigrates women. We are the moral centre of society; we should not be sullying ourselves with politics."
What struck me was how this statement has and continues to be applied to women on any number of issues. That women are easily 'denigrated' if they don't 'behave properly'.
Change sullying ourselves with politics for "business matters" "higher education" "the military" "the law" "the medical profession" "writing" - women have had to fight for acceptance to every profession there is.
Change sullying with politics for "reading novels"; from When Novels Were Bad For You
an op-talk article from the nytimes:
“In Madame Bovary, I think Flaubert is channeling a century of worries about young women as particularly susceptible to the fantasies they find in novels and the seductions of reading,” Margaret Cohen, a professor of French language, literature and civilization, told Op-Talk.
From the late 18th century through the middle of the 19th, she added, women “were considered to be in danger of not being able to differentiate between fiction and life.”
Change politics for "writing", for "writing fanfiction" for "being in fandom", for "shipping x" (and even if you're not a shipper you probably can think of at least one ship that's caused outrage and harassment).
This latest toxic phase of fandom, the anti-shippers who bully and harass and dogpile shippers - often sending rape/death threats and/or suicide baiting - is not truly about the ship in question. This latest round of fandom policing is not about making society better but keeping the status quo, of trying to 'protect' women from being lead astray. It claims women can't tell fiction from reality and that if they read a story about an abusive relationship they will idealise it and seek out a similar relationship, too muddle-headed to realise they are being abused.
Trying to control what people ship and accusing them of crimes (e.g. calling someone a pedophile if they enjoy a ship between the 'wrong' adult characters who have any sort of age gap) is not really about protecting women. Bullying and false accusations cause harm.
It is about sexism, and sexism that comes, as that episode noted, as much from other women as it does from men. They want to keep women from "sullying" themselves, "denigrating" themselves, no matter how much the women they're trying "protect" would rather have agency and make their own choices and take responsibility for their own actions.
When someone says they're trying to "protect women from thinking abuse is bad" by harassing shippers, they are echoing the same ideas as those who would deny women the right to work, to vote, to have control over their own bodies, or to otherwise be full participants in society.