Over the past couple weeks I’ve basically deluged myself in reading up on areas of fantasy WHEREIN I KNOW NOTHING.
It’s been simultaneously illuminating and depressing, both for myriad different reasons.
For one thing, the privilege-y-ness that shows up in posts I wrote even earlier this month, even last week, but especially in months and years gone by, is more blindingly obvious. Sigh. Shit, I mean even on dating website profiles I’ve written! And I always think I’m doing so perfectly well at the time.
Lack of self-awareness: it’s tough shit.
For another, I’ve been reading a bunch of deconstructions of shit I really like and they’re both unflattering and right. It’s just that it’s easy not to notice and even easier to not acknowledge. I actually don’t find that depressing – I find it refreshing, even. What’s depressing is the degree to which I’m willing to rationalize it when it doesn’t deserve it. Someone on the Internets who was trying to talk about how there’s totes awesome feminist stuff in teh Bible really drove this home – we discussed the story of Esther, which is one of my favorites but which is massively problematic and at least in part actively anti-feminist. Which isn’t even something I remembered before I googled it.
I mean, there’s a difference between loving a story & acknowledging its flaws, and loving a story & ignoring or rationalizing its flaws. [Same goes for authors.] And too often I’ve fallen on the latter side of things except when convenient for me. I must confess to some hypocrisy here. And yet I’m so eager to judge others. WOO.
Relatedly, here is a post I discovered via a link and enjoyed: http://www.socialjusticeleague.net/2011/09/how-to-be-a-fan-of-problematic-things/. Is really pretty excellent advice.
There’s another side of this, though: I’m an aspiring author. I’m also a white person with male privilege [being GQ notwithstanding], and even though I am relatively speaking “poor”, the fact that I can access the internet every day on a nice laptop speaks to class privilege. I also have able-bodied privilege that I am really bad at acknowledging.
So reading this stuff with other similarly-or-more-socially-privileged authors fucking shit up right and left, including authors I deeply admire and whose work I love… and realizing how much crap I miss just in my friggin’ internet ramblings…
Welp. I think you can see where I’m going with that.
Hopefully, if I succeed in getting published, I don’t fuck it up too badly. I GUESS WE’LL SEE.