Friday, December 14, 2007

The Default is Faulty

Although I think Bryan [unwisely] gave me posting privileges over at the TNOC Zone, I don't want to just step in and hijack the site without telling him. So I thought that I would post a link here to a very interesting discussion on people of color in fantasy literature.

I'm sure that everyone reading this blog -- including that knucklehead steady googling "street hoes" and ending up here -- knows that I wrote a rather dashing dissertation on race and gender and sexuality in fantasy literature (well, its attendant ephemera, at any rate); so this is a subject quite close to my heart. I'm particularly I2I with the writer who notes that assumption of a default subject position (white, male, straight) is never the default for writers of color, and only rarely so for writers from other marginalized positions. It's something to think about, surely. Why is it that when Tony and I swap "Here's What I'm Working On Now" updates, I always have to make it clear that I'm writing about a black woman/a black man/people of color in general; but it's just assumed by both of us -- because he doesn't say -- that Tony's characters are white? And why is it that I'm made to feel as if my focus -- as a black woman -- on black female characters is somehow solipsistic? I'm not navel-gazing here, but I'm made to feel as if I am. Does Tony feel the same thing when he writes yet another white male character? Thefuckouttahere.

There's a whole discussion we could also have about the nasty sexist undercurrent in the denigration of what's euphemisitically called "Mary Sues,*" but I have neither the time nor the energy to get into it with you hoes. Plus, I have an interview in 45 minutes. Wish me luck, ya bastids.

* I'm not denying the reality of the phenonmemon; I'm suggesting that every heroic female figure in fiction is not simply adolescent wish fulfillment on the part of hysterical women authors.


ktempest said...

Oh now I really, really want to read your dissertation! Is it published yet?

Adams said...

No, thank goodness.

But perhaps I'll randomly post key sections in future posts and encourage readers to try to reassemble them.

But really, it was just 200 pages of me arguing [with myself] about Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo.

Adams said...

Oh, and thanks for having/posting the conversation in the first place.