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Author Topic: Is Podcastle Sexist?  (Read 55442 times)

SFEley

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Reply #25 on: July 01, 2008, 03:34:06 PM
Folks, I'm within a cat's whisker -- nay, a paramecium's flagellum -- of locking this thread for going too deep into personal attack. 

I don't want to lock the thread.  Although I was up front in expressing that the question in the topic annoys the crap out of me, I don't consider that sufficient grounds for stifling a discussion.  Opinions matter, and if I shut down this one thread but people really have a problem with a podcast, it's just going to come up in other ways.  I try hard to maintain an allergy to political censorship.

However.  This is starting to get mean.  We will abide discord but not nastiness.  I ask everyone from this point on to make a conscious, explicit effort to keep your debate focused on the ideas we're talking about here, and not the people you're talking to.  Let's not dwell on who said what and when, or who's holding to what patterns, or anything like that.  It doesn't matter.  This goes for everyone in this thread, including Escape Artists staff and including myself.  I brought up the original poster's name far too often in my prior reply.  It was not necessary to frame my points as a personal retort.

Thank you in advance.

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eytanz

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Reply #26 on: July 01, 2008, 03:44:16 PM
You know, I have things to say here that I'm not going to say because I don't see what good they'll do. So I'll just say this:

I do not know if there is some sort of agenda or trend behind the PC stories. I believe Rachel, Ann and Steve when they say there isn't a concious one, and I believe other people here when they say they are detecting one. I don't think those are incompatible facts, and there are many possible explanations. What I do know is that, in the weeks since Podcastle's launch, there have been more podcastle stories I really liked than EP and PP stories (in that period) in I really liked, taken together. However Rachel and Ann make their decisions, it is working for me.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2008, 03:45:57 PM by eytanz »



Anarkey

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Reply #27 on: July 01, 2008, 04:00:52 PM
I was totally going to stay out of this thread, because of the whole pot/kettle black thing, and my being the fool who renounced PP over a story so jaw-droppingly sexist I had to check a calendar to make sure I still had the right to vote.

But here's the thing.  I never said PP as a whole was sexist.  That would have been a ludicrously vague accusation.  I said,"Holy effing cow, this story just totally ruined the PP flava for me because it's incredibly sexist and here is why."  And then I wrote a compulsively detailed reasoning behind what I saw as sexist and why. 

That's the responsibility of someone laying a claim to sexism.  You got to bring out the flowcharts, and the deconstruction, and the nitpicking.  Otherwise, your claim cannot be taken seriously.  (My accusation wasn't taken all that seriously even WHEN I did all of that work, btw, so don't be surprised if yours isn't either)  It's terribly convenient to say "Oh the whole thing just feels sexist but I'm not going to tell you what or why."

If one is vague, then one isn't presenting something the editors can address in their choice of content.

So, if you are trying to be constructive with your criticism, what is this agenda you so decry, and where do you see it?  How many stories have a feminist viewpoint and what, specifically, is this feminist viewpoint?

And can I just say that I find it appalling to freely interchange the terms sexism and feminism?  WTF?  These are not the same.  They are not even close. 

I, for one, would love to see a couple of stories about equal pay for equal work!  Bring on the feminist viewpoint!  Sadly, PodCastle has yet to fill this void in my listening experience.  Or hey, how about a story about abortion on demand!  Surely there's a fantasy tale out there about a dragon abortionist and his not so virginal clients?  Or wait, maybe we can get a story about how the feminine ideal of princessdom oppresses all the milkmaids?  Oh, PC, when will you run a story that speaks to my inner feminist? 

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Thaurismunths

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Reply #28 on: July 01, 2008, 04:11:57 PM
I logged off after reading the first couple replies to think about them, and I am at work right now. I am taking time from my lunch break to let you know that my original post was not a grenade.
I look forward to reading, considering, and replying to all of your replies this evening. I understand the seriousness of what I have sad, and hope to treat this thread with all due promptness and gravity.

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Liminal

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Reply #29 on: July 01, 2008, 04:21:23 PM
To my mind, you could have a podcast called 'femcastle,' with exclusively female protagonists, and all dealing with issues of sex and gender, and it wouldn't be sexist. That's the editors prerogative, to choose the stories she likes.

Huzzah! Excellent point.

Terms like "sexist" are too often used to label people (regardless of gender), instead of being understood as a set of behaviors and structures. Sexism - whether in publishing, individual stories, interpersonal communication, etc. - is institutional and impossible to abstract from the vast ecology of social institutions and structures that surround us. In such an ecology, naming PC "sexist" makes no sense.

Questioning and discussing a new publication's editorial perspective is peachy-keen, deciding that you don't personally enjoy that perspective or the content choices made is dandy, but I'm not sure that using the term "sexism" is the best way to start that discussion because it immediately signals a confrontational stance.

I do think questions of gender and power in literature and pop culture are important, as they reflect the structures of gender and power in the larger culture. Maybe this thread reveals all the more reason to discuss these issues openly and respectfully and with the understanding that we are talking about very deep social structures that have tremendous impact on how we view the world.

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Liminal

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Reply #30 on: July 01, 2008, 04:25:02 PM
And can I just say that I find it appalling to freely interchange the terms sexism and feminism?  WTF?  These are not the same.  They are not even close. 

I second this.

Why is this thus? What is the reason for this thusness? - Artemus Ward


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Reply #31 on: July 01, 2008, 04:33:09 PM
"I don't think you're being entirely honest when you say it was never about Rachel."

Please do not put ideas into my words, assume you know me or my motivations, or that you have a personal window into my head and have any idea if I am telling the truth or not. I do not know Rachel, I have nothing against her and no real ideas what her personal, social, or political beliefs may or may not be other than what she has stated publicly. Saying I am not being entirely honest is a personal attack on my integrity, and not one I appreciate.

The first few episodes involved more than just stories, and therefore my reactions were to everything in the episode. This included intros and outros, commentary, voice & inflection, etc., etc., etc. These episodes gave me a flavor I wasn't sure I would like because they felt heavy-handed to me. Future episodes bore that out--for me. If others do not feel likewise, that is certainly their right.

I am not going into specifics for a very good reason: I do not have the time or inclination because I don't think it's worthwhile. The debates in this forum previously showed me the nature of how arguments go here, which tends to be blunt force from editors against posters not in agreement with overall views. People can listen and decide for themselves. I posted my opinion, which is just that: an opinion. Others here may or may not agree with my opinion, but since it's an opinion & feeling, I do not feel the need to try and justify it to anyone. I am not interested in continual circular arguments about why my opinions are or are not correct, or over semantics, which has seemed to be a trend, and one of the reason I debated heavily with myself over whether I should post at all. I finally decided that, since I am well-known poster on the boards and (at least to my knowledge) most people see me as fairly moderate, I would like to weigh in. I thought perhaps a woman with the view that the stories are skewed might help balance out the fact that there are simply more males on the boards.  I thought perhaps ideas would be discussed in a format that would be open and less....blunt than in the past, and that perhaps I may even change my mind and give PC another go.

This will conclude my involvement in the thread.



Rachel Swirsky

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Reply #32 on: July 01, 2008, 04:51:32 PM
Quote
perhaps I may even change my mind and give PC another go.

If you ever feel like it, you'd certainly be greeted with enthusiasm. In the meantime, best wishes in your fiction travels.



Swamp

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Reply #33 on: July 01, 2008, 04:52:56 PM
If all the stories were like Fear of Dragons, I might agree with you.  I think the pairing of Fear of Dragons with *Fiery Horse may have caused some to become concerned about a trend, but that is only if you were looking for it.  If you had no previous experience with Rachel to know she was an ardent feminist, would you have been looking for it?  

You can't deny the quality and diversity of the stories that have appeared in PC.  (OK, as a matter of personal taste, you could, but not in the sense of quality vs. agenda.)

Now I may be called sexist myself for saying this, but in my opinion, fantasy as a genre itself leans toward a feminine bearing or style.  Of course I mean that in an overall general sense; and I don't see it as a bad thing either.

-----
*I think Run of the Fiery Horse is an excellent story.  It is unfortunate to overlook it by listening to it only through an "Is this feminist?" lens.

It was pointed out to me (not by any of the posters to this thread) that it may appear I was agreeing that PC is feminist or saying that all of fantasy is feminist.  My intention was to dispute that claim and hold PC up as an example of quality and diversity in podcast publishing.

In regards to my comment about the fantasy genre, I meant that IMO it lends itself in general to a "feminine" (not feminist) bearing or style.  How to define what I mean by that is the problem.  Obviously, a Conan story is not feminine.  

Maybe I'll just stick to samples from PC.  If I were to choose examples of what I consider feminine (again, not feminist) style stories I would choose Run of the Fiery Horse and Wisteria, both of which I thought were excellent. (I liked Wisteria from its printed appearance on Intergalactic Medicine Show).  They are high on prose, setting, imagery, and emotions.  Good stuff.  I know there is a danger of stereotype by labeling these terms as feminine, but I’m just trying to define my preconceptions.  I think fantasy, more so than sci-fi and horror, lends itself to this writing style.

I think I’ll stop now so I don’t sink any deeper.

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SteveCooperOrg

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Reply #34 on: July 01, 2008, 04:53:33 PM
I, for one, would love to see a couple of stories about equal pay for equal work!

I had this thought, "wouldn't it be cool to have Rosie the Armourer as a character in a story?", and then I realised they'd already done it in A Knight's Tale. Never made the connection before...



SteveCooperOrg

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Reply #35 on: July 01, 2008, 04:59:48 PM
Does anyone care to define terms a bit in this discussion? For me,

Feminism = The radical notion that women are people. (Rebecca West)

Sexism = institutional prejudice against all men or all women. (me.)




Bdoomed

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Reply #36 on: July 01, 2008, 05:29:37 PM
Does anyone care to define terms a bit in this discussion? For me,

Feminism = The radical notion that women are people. (Rebecca West)

Sexism = institutional prejudice against all men or all women. (me.)


WOMEN ARE PEOPLE???!!!!! WHAT!???!!!!!
:)
id just like to say, in response to Rachel's
Bdoomed, thanks for your post and your analysis. I'm just going to answer a couple of the points you bring up:

1) You seem to be arguing that feminist = sexist when you say that PodCastle cannot be declared not sexist because some of the stories have what you interpret as feminist themes. (I've spoken other places about how I interpret "Giant," for instance, which I see as closer to an MRA [men's rights activism] plot line than a feminist one.)
you're welcome :) and... i was not arguing that feminist = sexist.  It was more that... how can I word this... if the majority of the stories (if you use, lets say, the overly stretched meaning 12/16 stories), were feminist in nature, being that they all focused on the fact that women were indeed people (still cant believe it), then PC as a whole could be considered sexist against men, if you'd like to think it that way.  And it wouldn't be necessarily sexist, more just a feminist podcast.  PC would be sexist if all/most of the stories bitched and moaned about how evil men were and how dumb we are :)

in my lil analysis (if you can even call it that), I merely summed up the stories(ish) and their themes(ish).

uuugh i hope i worded this correctly :P

and sorry, i just hate the double standard argument. :)  if PC were 90% male oriented stories, some of the fine ladies in the audience would notice, and a few men too, I'm sure of it.  That is a logical fallacy, its basically saying stuff like "if I didn't eat as much this morning, I wouldn't have missed the bus."  You don't know that, there could have been other factors that would have made you miss the bus.  You can't argue the unforeseeable future/alternate past/etc/etc.

Anyways... i dunno anymore.  and my IPU, i just don't care that much anymore either haha.  I'm enjoying the podcast

I'm gonna go grovel at the feet of the almighty Steve in hopes of quelling his anger :)

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Heradel

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Reply #37 on: July 01, 2008, 09:03:20 PM
Others have weighed in with far better opinions that this one (including Anarkey, who made a point that was really bothering me and that I didn’t make clear that’s what I was speaking about in my prior post), but here’s mine.

Is PodCastle feminist? Yes, which is good and modern and correct. Is it sexist? No, it isn’t, and I’m not really going to go into that because to me, it’s very clear that it isn’t. If it was, I wouldn’t moderate their forums. But it isn’t, and I quite enjoy PodCastle. Now, we discussed this before in the ‘fantasy women’ thread, and I thought this whole thing was extremely silly then, and I still think it’s mostly silly to discuss it now. PodCastle has had about 1/12th as many episodes as EP, and for all intents and purposes we barely even know it yet. Now, Thaur’s been around here a long time and I have no reason to think he’s anything but a decent guy. I think he’s wrong, but I think he thinks he’s right. Stories are a bit hard to quantify/distill into “X story contains themes Y,Z,K, and L”, which means that humans are highly suggestible in this regard. I think if you think, even subconsciously, that a female empowerment story is coming then you’re going to try to fit any story you’re handed into that female empowerment theme, no matter how much of a stretch it is. Same thing if you’re going into a meal knowing that the chef is famous for using lavender, you’re probably going to taste lavender in everything, even if it’s not there. PC got off to a start that had people thinking female empowerment/sexism, and I think that if it had started with Osteomancer and Ant King and Astarte that they wouldn’t be reacting to those stories with the female empowerment themes.


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cuddlebug

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Reply #38 on: July 01, 2008, 09:29:16 PM
I don’t really want to add anything to this discussion as enough viewpoints have been brought up defending or dismissing the validity of the original question. I just wanted to say I don’t see why this argument even should be an issue. From the start of PC I was amazed at the enormous range of fantasy stories chosen by the editors. Every week I felt that the stories were very different in many ways, varying in setting, plot, characterization, initial conflict, style of narration and they all seemed unique in their own way and chosen for exactly that reason, I assume.

I am not sure why we have to look for patterns and similarities rather than taking the stories for what they are, (mostly) good and entertaining fantasy stories, which to my mind seem to/can possibly stretch the field of fantasy literature to its limits and I am sure future episodes will do that to an even greater extent. Well, I hope so.

But if we are looking for patterns maybe we can look at patterns in our interpretation of the stories, in the way we identify with characters or plotlines …. or not. I do seem to remember that in several of the PC threads in the forum it was mentioned that listeners just did not LIKE the (female) lead characters, or were annoyed or put off by their attitude or behavior.
I am not saying we need to LIKE a character to enjoy a story, far from it, but it might have something to do with this reaction, maybe? Just saying.

Anyway, I personally enjoy stories that give me something or someone I can somehow identify with, sometimes the narrator or the antagonist or something that reminds me of a personal experience or issue or at least something I can imagine very well. Stories where I don’t have that, stories in which I cannot find any empathy with anything leave me cold. This seems pretty obvious, so maybe the posters who have criticized PC are looking for exactly that, something they can “identify with” (for lack of a better expression), a theme that grasps their imagination or ties in with personal interests which they could not find in PC as much as they can in EP?

Does that make any sense?

Anyway, I really enjoyed most of the PC stories so far, especially since they seem to cover all kinds of fantastical angles…. and I for one am quite grateful that we don’t have the usual sorcery, sword fighting/swashbuckling (?) slush.



DKT

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Reply #39 on: July 01, 2008, 09:33:09 PM
I agree in that I definitely don't think Podcastle is sexist.  I think stories like "the Osteomancer's Son," "Hotel Astarte," and "The Ant King" wouldn't be here if it was.  I also don't think "Magic in a Certain Slant of Light" or "Fourteen Experiements in Postal Delivery" would be up if it was.  (There's probably more, too, but that's almost half of the regular episodes, so I'll stop there).

As others have pointed out sexist does not equal feminist.  

Is Podcastle feminist?  Yeesh, I don't know.  I don't think so, but I also don't think it would be a bad thing if it was.  I think a more accurate description might be that it's more feminine.  Which, you know, would make sense as it's edited by Rachel and Ann.  I don't think there's any argument that the majority of the stories feature female protagonists thus far.  But that's not a big deal to me.  

I also want to say that while there's been a couple of Podcastle stories I haven't liked, the majority of them have been of an excellent quality. 

Also, I have to say I've got a lot of respect for Thaur and shwankie (and Rachel and Ann).  This thread took me a little bit by surprise, but I don't think Thaur meant to turn it into a flame war.  Mostly, I remember him defending PC around Episode 2 and I'm curious as to what sparked the discussion now, because when we had the discussion before, as illogical as it was in PC's second week, it made more sense to me, as I think there was a story on each of the casts in about a two week span about female empowerment in male-dominated society.  But that was purely coincidental.  (Last week's Jim Hines story didn't seem to fit that trend in the least to me, but I might be missing something.)  Anyway, I'm looking forward to his responses tonight.


Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #40 on: July 02, 2008, 12:34:11 AM
I don't know if anything I'm about to say will help, but I feel I have to try. 

Those of you new in these forums (past 6 months or so) may not have a firm grasp on the groups dynamics of this, but if you do a quick search, you ought to find most of the major dust-ups over feminism in literature, perceptions of gender, cultural bias, etc.  A not-small number of those threads grew quite heated, and a not-small number of them involved different combinations of us arguing variations of "I feel like this is/is not a problem" vs. "You only feel that way because you're biased".

It's not a very productive argument.

It's obvious that a lot of you feel that Thaurismunths is wrong; it's equally obvious that a lot of you feel he's coming out of nowhere with this opinion, and attacking without provocation.  But if you consider the history of this group, I think you'll see that it's a discussion that has been a long time coming.

Thaur and Shwankie both feel strongly about this, partly because they were so excitedly awaiting PodCastle for so long.  As was pointed out earlier, Thaur was arguing to "wait and see" early on, and I've noticed that both of them have been pretty quiet on the boards during that time, rather than harping on the issue week after week.  But as they both said, the impression that PC favors a certain "kind" of story (I won't belabor the semantics of what to call that "kind") at the expense of "quality" (I won't waste your time trying to define that, either) has been building.

And they aren't the only ones who feel that way.

Since I don't see - and don't WANT to see - a lot of people chiming in to say "Yeah, I think it's sexist, too", I'll stick my neck out at least far enough to say, I can see their point.  I don't feel strongly enough to threaten to leave (as Anarkey did over the PseudoPod story), but I have felt for a long time that PodCastle had a certain "air" about it.  I partially attributed that "air" to those past discussions with Rachel and hautdesert over gender issues, and after Steve's confession that he is the culprit responsible for selecting those stories, I'm convinced that I am right: that impression comes from my personal background of reading and participating in those older threads.

In other words, my impression about PodCastle's alleged sexims is based on my own biases and not on the actual stories.

In other other words, I'm apologizing for harboring the "PodCastle is sexist" opinion for so long.

So, if I can say this without it sounding like a jerk:

Rachel has been doing an admirable job as editor, and has shown superhuman restraint - not just in this thread, but in the forum as a whole since taking on the job.

Thaur and Shwankie have a right to their opinion, and have a right to state that opinion freely without being lambasted for stating it.  I think it took some courage to speak up, knowing what the reaction was likely to be, and I believe they have the best of intentions in doing so.  (If not for this thread, my bias would have just gone on simmering in that reptilian hind-brain.)

As for the rest of you, well... I don't want to get all mushy, but I really think you're a pretty classy group.  This thread is the most contentious I've run across in several months, and you've all stayed pretty cool (except for "hotdessert"  ;D ) throughout.

(Just to be clear: that wasn't a real slam against hautdesert... it was a PUN!  :O )

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Thaurismunths

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Reply #41 on: July 02, 2008, 02:05:56 AM
I don't really want to weigh in to this debate, and I'm certainly not interested in a flame war, but I do have one question: would you have noticed if most of the stories featured male leads and oppressive step mothers?

Yes, I would have noticed. I would have noticed even if they were a run of zombie stories written by JRDeRego and voiced by Ben Phillips, and so would most people. Humans are very adapt at spotting trends in things, even rather disparate ones. So good even that we find trends that aren't even there.
I realize that is something that is at issue here, and I believe I have sufficient evidence of the trend I see so that others might at least understand my perspective, even if they do not agree on my speculative origins of that trend.

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Thaurismunths

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Reply #42 on: July 02, 2008, 02:06:07 AM
"of the two that weren't, one was chosen by popular demand"

No. It wasn't. I bought that myself; it was not chosen by the contest.
My apologies. I do now remember the discussion about that. You did chose to air the story, not Steve, and not the populous.

Quote
UPDATE:

Oh, and just to run some stats, three male narrators for flash and five male narrators for full-length fiction is eight male narrators out of eighteen stories, or 44% male narrators.

This week's full-length story has a male narrator, which will be nine male narrated pieces out of nineteen, or 47%.

These are figures so basically close to parity that I don't think there's any statistical argument here.

Particularly if we start running in Escape Pod numbers. When the initial complaints about PodCastle's "female-oriented" nature came in, Ann did a count of recent Escape Pod narrators and found that 87% of the recent stories had been narrated by men.

So, at PodCastle, after midnight tonight, you'll have 53% women. At Escape Pod, circa whenever the debate originated (sometime in April), you had 13% women.

Again, I don't think there is a possible statistical argument here.

So, no, I am not aware there is a problem, as I don't think there is one. Nor will I be doing anything to fix it, since there's nothing to fix.

Rachel, I question the validity of the numbers you're using. You are lumping all of the downloadable fiction on your podcast together and saying it's balanced, but you have apples and pears trying to balance out with oranges.
Last night, after I read this, I took a look at all of the stories on PC and broke them down by story theme, narrative voice, and reader, and author. I don't, didn't, won't care about the gender of the author (6w/7m), nor about the gender of the voice actors(8w/5m), but the numbers are there all the same. Of the last 13 stories*, 7 of the last 13 stories have female narrators, 3 from neutral perspectives (you counted Barrens dance, but I don't recall the speaker's gender being explicitly expressed. A male voice actor was given the part, but that doesn't make it a male perspective. Please correct me if I'm wrong), one from assorted perspectives (Ant King), and only 2 are told from expressly male perspectives.  Story content and setting varies, but what the stories focus on shows a trend too: 10 are about a woman's experience, 2 are about a man's experience, and one is varied, but largely about a man's journey.
In short:
Author- 45%w/55%m
Reader- 62%w/38%m
Narrator- 54%w/15%m (23%n/8%v)
Focus of story- 77%w/15%m (8%v)
I don't see the equality you've spoken of, I see a majority of women.

Of the 5 PodCastle Miniatures, four were about and read by men, one was totally neutral but read by a male voice actor.
In short:
A ratio of 0/4/1, or 0% women, 80% men, 20% Neutral
The obvious answer is that in your numbers you've given as much weight to the full 45 minute stories as you have to the 10 minute Miniatures. I do not rate stories and miniatures as of equal value because:
-they don't have intros or outtros
-there is no author information
-they are substantially shorter
-they are irregularly sprinkled about the line-up
-the authors are not paid as much for them
Thus, apples and pears. If you add your apples and pears you come out even, but the genders are so keenly split between Stories and Miniatures that it appears to me to be unnatural.

As for the oranges, I'll be honest, I don't understand why it is so popular to reference Escape Pod's numbers whenever someone brings up a potential bias in PodCastle. Are posters trying to say that Escape Pod is sexist? Are posters saying that the genders of SF authors, characters, situations, and political agendas are so close in number to those in Fantasy that they make for an equivalent comparison? Or are their numbers close at hand, and easy to pull out of a hat to make PodCastle's numbers look better?

*I haven't had time to listen to today's story, and probably won't 'till this weekend, so please excuse its absence in my numbers.

Ps. I read your second post, but it seemed to be directed at Bdoomed. Your third post... tasty.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 02:08:25 AM by Thaurismunths »

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Thaurismunths

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Reply #43 on: July 02, 2008, 02:06:17 AM
Five out of thirteen episodes are male-narrated.   That's pretty darn close to fifty-fifty.  In your list you've missed Barren's Dance, which is a male-lead story.  The fifth is "Come Lady Death" which was narrated by a man, but could have gone either way. 

Come Lady Death is not about a woman triumphing over male oppression.  Rather definitely not.  Niether is Wisteria, or Magic in a Certain Slant of Light.  Nor Goosegirl--the narrator was in conflict with another woman, not a man.  Spell of the Sparrow, similarly--the conflict is between two women.

14 Experiments, the conflict was between a female POV character and her male ex boyfriend--but rather than triumphing over his oppression, she got back together with him at the urging of her sister.

Stories that might be classed as women triumphing over male oppression--Firey horse and Fear of Dragons.  You're on much thinner ice with Fear of Rain, but I'll be generous and include it, since the main character was female and her opponent was male.

So, three out of thirteen stories have conflicts between female POV characters and male antagonists.  Just less than one quarter, hardly what I would call the vast majority.

Three, possibly four if you count 14 Experiments, are conflicts between women.--near that one quarter mark.

Two are fairly romancy--Wisteria and Slant of Light.  A bit less than one sixth.  Nothing about male oppression at all in either of them.

Four are definitely male POV stories.  Around about that quarter, even if you insist on assigning Barren's Dance to the group of stories from a female POV. 

So, um, what vast majority do you mean?
The majority I meant are 77% of stories about women that I referenced in my reply to Rachel.
Of the 13 stories, 6 (Fear of Dragons, Fiery Horse, Fear of Rain, Slant of Light, Fourteen Experiments, and Barrens Dance) deal with women coming in conflict with men. A male demon, the old priests, the old man, her husband, her cheating boyfriend, and a light-footed magician. I'm not suggesting that these are all Feminist stories, but stories about women. Each on their own is nothing significant, and they're all fine stories in their own right, but they all came, one after another, in the first two months of the podcast.
It isn't their existence, individually, that I find confounding, but the order and frequency with which they appear that I find suspect. What are the odds that so many

Which four stories are definitely from male perspectives?
What are you using to defining as a "story"? Each downloadable release, or each weekly story?
If you're counting weekly stories, then I only count three that are "definitely male". If you include the diminutive miniatures, then I count 9.
To be honest though, I have no interest in getting side-tracked by splitting hairs.

I haven't seen anything of substance in your next three replies. You seemed to have been making unrelated generalizations, speculations, and restating numbers. Admittedly I'm running late with my replies and am in a hurry. If I've skipped over something that you would like a specific reply to, please let me know and I will gladly address it.

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Thaurismunths

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Reply #44 on: July 02, 2008, 02:06:29 AM
If all the stories were like Fear of Dragons, I might agree with you.  I think the pairing of Fear of Dragons with *Fiery Horse may have caused some to become concerned about a trend, but that is only if you were looking for it.  If you had no previous experience with Rachel to know she was an ardent feminist, would you have been looking for it? 
That'd difficult to answer because I don't know how I would have acted if I didn't know something.
I might have been less sensitive to it, but I don't think I would have just overlooked it altogether. It might have taken me 5 or 6 stories before I saw the trend. On the other hand, I wasn't the only person to pick up on it, just one of the loudest.

Quote
You can't deny the quality and diversity of the stories that have appeared in PC.  (OK, as a matter of personal taste, you could, but not in the sense of quality vs. agenda.)

Now I may be called sexist myself for saying this, but in my opinion, fantasy as a genre itself leans toward a feminine bearing or style.  Of course I mean that in an overall general sense; and I don't see it as a bad thing either.

-----
*I think Run of the Fiery Horse is an excellent story.  It is unfortunate to overlook it by listening to it only through an "Is this feminist?" lens.
I think Fiery Horse is an amazing story, and said as much in the thread.
I don't think the stories, by them selves, are bad. It's a general trend throughout the podcast that I find unsettling.

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Thaurismunths

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Reply #45 on: July 02, 2008, 02:06:42 AM
I'm staying out of the thread for purposes of moderation, but I'd just like to say that feminism isn't a bad thing, and strong female characters are or should be the norm in modern fiction. Along with weak and strong males, and weak females. Strong and weak humans, really. Also badgers and dragons.
What about Lemurs?
Speciest. :)

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Thaurismunths

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Reply #46 on: July 02, 2008, 02:06:52 AM
<angry steve>
Steve, this was a very large and well thought out post.
I am exhausted and these replies have taken much longer than I had thought. Please forgive me for postponing my reply to you until tomorrow when I can give it my full attention.

Everyone else, I'm sorry this is taking a while.
I appreciate that you have taken the time to write, and I hope you will be patient as I return the courtesy.

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zZzacha

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Reply #47 on: July 02, 2008, 11:11:05 AM
*ducking in advance*

And I always thought EscapePod and PseudoPod were more male oriented than female. I think it comes with the territory. Thankfully, all three podcasts aren't exclusively oriented one way or the other, so every gender gets its part. And yes, PC is a bit more 'girly', but not exclusively! Both EP and PP are a bit more male oriented, but nobody talks about that. Maybe because this forum needs more girls, so we can bitalk about that ;)

In my opinion, all three podcasts are GREAT just the way they are. Love you all :)

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Reply #48 on: July 02, 2008, 11:55:15 AM
First I wanted to thank everyone for making this so interesting that I had to read every post before I went to work this morning.  This caused me to leave about 20 minutes later than usual.  This caused me to hit a skunk with my car.  Thanks to your arguments my car now smells like a skunk.  Yes, your actions have real world consequences.  I hope you're happy.

Second, I STILL think it's too early to make any conclusions about Podcastle being "sexist" or "feminist".  Everyone is trying to use data to prove their point.  This is fantastic, and puts this forum WAY ahead of the rest of the world, who prefer emotion, conjecture, and speculation as problem solving tools.  However, taking that data and trying to draw conclusions from general statistcs is not possible with so little data.  I'm going to pick on Thaur for a minute (sorry, but it's the most recent post with statistics, this applies to everyone trying to use percentages to make a claim).

In short:
Author- 45%w/55%m
Reader- 62%w/38%m
Narrator- 54%w/15%m (23%n/8%v)
Focus of story- 77%w/15%m (8%v)
I don't see the equality you've spoken of, I see a majority of women.
This was only based on the 13 non-miniature stories.  If the next story is male oriented in every way the breakdown would be nearly even, because one shift to the male side would sway the percentages about 7%.  One story carries a LOT of weight with percentages with this few data points.  If we want to try to really analyze the trends with statistics then we need to wait until around episode 30 (even at which point each story is 3%).  Sorry to get all statistics-nerd on everyone, but there just isn't enough data out there to make a conclusion one way or the other, especially relating to trends.

I said something in the last thread to this effect and I'll say it again: give Podcastle more time. 

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Anarkey

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Reply #49 on: July 02, 2008, 01:13:43 PM
One story carries a LOT of weight with percentages with this few data points.  If we want to try to really analyze the trends with statistics then we need to wait until around episode 30 (even at which point each story is 3%).  Sorry to get all statistics-nerd on everyone, but there just isn't enough data out there to make a conclusion one way or the other, especially relating to trends.

I said something in the last thread to this effect and I'll say it again: give Podcastle more time. 

Thanks for the stats primer, Chodon.  This was interesting to me.  Also thanks for asking for continued patience as PC grows into itself. 

I know you have more to say, Thaur, and it's probably not helpful to make the thread even longer than it now is, putting you ever more behind but I read your posts, and it seems to me a number of things are being conflated: whether a story is from a female POV, whether that story is feminist, whether a feminist story is also a sexist story (this is kind of mind-boggling, which is why my earlier wtf comment), and whether you liked it.  Your statements seems to be along this thread : I don't like/am not comfortable with the number of stories that are about girls therefore those stories must be feminist and/or sexist, or the fact that so many of them have appeared in a row is feminist and/or sexist.

No one can tell you that no, no, no you actually really like the stories.  Obviously if you don't, you don't.  No one can tell you, either, that you were not hoping for something different, and that your expectations have been met.  That's clearly not true from your reaction and your expressed disappointment with PC.  I identify with this sentiment pretty closely.  There are some stories and themes I'm completely done with, closed to, over.  Frex: I no longer play rpg computer games if I'm required to be a male character.  I've done my share of that, and now I'm finished and the best rpg computer game in the world isn't going to change my mind.  (My grandmother would call this 'Cutting off your nose to spite your face' but I'm at peace with that.  Life is short.  There's plenty of other games to play).

Maybe that's how you feel about stories that focus on women.  I don't know.  If it is, then it's fine to feel that way, as far as I'm concerned.  PodCastle may not be the podcast for you, since they can be counted on to include stories with girls in them, not because they're rah rah feminist, but because lots of stories have girls in them and PodCastle isn't likely to go out of its way to avoid those. 

As to why posters keep referring to the stats on Escape Pod, the not so subtle point they are making is when the stories are all about men, this conversation does not happen.  It is only when there seems to be stories about women, even stories that aren't really all that feminist, that this conversation starts.  This has to do with an increase in minority voices being perceived (as Cat Rambo put so well) as overwhelming.  It's a social dynamic that's repeatable.  If the next ten stories PC put out were about homosexuals, or non-white non-European peoples, the same conversation would start up.  Even if the stories were all awesome and of impeccable quality this conversation would happen. 

The problem is, if you're a feminist  (and we all know Rachel is one) -- or some other minority, you'll note Steve expressed some impatience and mentioned his poly minority status -- you've had this conversation ten thousand times because you've invariably raised your minority voice in some generally male-dominated -- or other majority -- sphere.  It gets old.  Really old. 

<Dear Steve/mods - I have tried not to be offensive or insulting.  I couldn't make this post without directing it, and you may feel free to delete if you think it is too inflammatory, and deleting is preferable to closing the thread, I think, because someone else may be able to make my point in a better way.  Thank you.>

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