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Author Topic: Is Podcastle Sexist?  (Read 52184 times)

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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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. 

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wintermute

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Reply #50 on: July 02, 2008, 02:08:31 PM
So, I just started listening to PodCastle a few days ago, and so far I'm up to Hotel Astarte. Full disclosure: I'm a white, middle-class, heterosexual male, and I consider myself a feminist (because, to paraphrase Coupling: "You've got to treat women like people in their own right; after all, in many respects, they are.").

Is there more female exposure (female voice talent, female authors, female protagonists) in PodCastle than in a typical short-story outlet? I think we can safely agree that there is; certainly there's more than in any other short-story media I currently subscribe to.

Is PodCastle feminist in outlook? I certainly hope so. They seem to believe that a strong female character makes for as good a story as a strong male character, which is a good thing. Are they acting on that feminism? By which I mean, are they rejecting good male-oriented pieces in favour of less-good female oriented pieces? Obviously, I can't answer that without knowing the contents of their slush pile (and, of course, "less-good" is a huge judgement call), but judging by the quality of the pieces they've run so far, I don't think they are.

Is PodCastle sexist? I've not heard anything that would make me think that there's any anti-male agenda at PodCastle.

I didn't think A Fear of Dragons was about a male-female conflict of any kind. The fact that the dragon was male slipped by me completely. It was about female empowerment in a patriarchal society, but that's not the same. And it ends with the character compromising with the patriarchy to mitigate the damage done to individuals.

As for Run of the Fiery Horse, well, I suppose the serpent could be considered male, if it had a gender at all. But almost all of the male humans in the story were supportive. There was a tiny amount of male-female conflict when she Po La (?) attacked her in the market, but  the major conflict with identifiably gendered characters came with old women who thought that she ought to be crippled in order to conform to male ideals of beauty.

So, hrm. Both have feminist themes, though they come through conflict with the world, not conflict with other characters.

Other stories: Come, Lady Death had four strong characters, two male and two female, no gender-based conflicts. Goosegirl was an entirely female-female conflict; you could argue it was a class war piece, if you really wanted to, I suppose, but not a feminist piece. The Ant King had a central strong male character, and several other strong characters around him of both sexes; again, it could be ant-corporate, or anti-commitment (or pro-commitment), but there is no strong gender conflict anywhere. I've not finished Hotel Astarte yet, but I'm a little surprised that everyone is saying it's a male-centric story. I can see that, now that people mention it, but I'd been thinking that Queen Columbia was the central character.

Anyway, of what I've heard so far, I'm very surprised by the claims of sexism.

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Swamp

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Reply #51 on: July 02, 2008, 03:50:49 PM
Thanks for your replies, Thaurismunths.

I’ve been thinking about this more and have become more firmly resolved that it is all about the stories.  The podcast should be judged on the quality of the stories.  If the stories stand on their own as being of consistently good quality (of course no one will like all of the stories.  I haven’t), then the motivations of the editor shouldn’t matter.

To be fair, I’m not completely innocent.  The questions I asked of you were questions I had to answer earlier for myself.  I was originally looking for an agenda at the start of PodCastle, too.  It stemmed from Rachel’s discussion of organizing a female blitz of one of the magazines (Asimov’s was it?).  I remember thinking, That’s all well and good, but if you run stories in a publication just to satisfy having a certain number of female authors, is that right?  (I think Rachel would say the point was that many quality stories were/are being overlooked expressly because it came from a female author.)

So when I heard that Rachel would be the chief editor of PodCastle, right or wrong, I wondered if this would compromise the story selection.  So I was “looking for it”, too.  After the Fear of Dragons and Fiery Horse ran back to back, I thought, Aha, see, my preconceived expectations were correct.  Then something in my mind made me stop and change my perspective.  I asked myself whether I would feel the same way if Fiery Horse ran on Escape Pod and judged the story on its own merits; it had many.  Since then I’ve tried to only look at the stories themselves and disregard everything else.  So I’m sorry if I came across as being above the subject.  I know where you are coming from.  I just resolved the question for myself previously and saw your concern as misplaced.

(my posts tend to be formal, stiff and lacking in self revelation, so I’m trying to be more transparent.  Tango Alpha Delta and DKT are my inspiration.)
« Last Edit: July 02, 2008, 03:53:23 PM by Swamp »

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Swamp

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Reply #52 on: July 02, 2008, 04:55:11 PM
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.

I agree

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Reply #53 on: July 02, 2008, 06:14:58 PM
Quote
Is PodCastle feminist in outlook?

Looking over the thread with slightly more rested eyes, I'm wondering if this is the crux of the question?

Yes. PodCastle is and will be feminist in outlook. We will not be publishing material we find offensively sexist, nor will we be publishing material we find offensively racist.

I don't find this to be the same thing as being anti-male. Refusing to publish anti-woman stories is not the same thing as being anti-male. Similarly, refusing to publish racist stories is not the same thing as being anti-white.

While being feminist and anti-racist in outlook (as well as many other things), PodCastle will not simply be picking up any story that happens to feature feminist themes. We get a good many of these pieces, and most of them -- like most of everything else -- are badly written. The stories that have come up here as being questioned for their quality are stories that Steve selected, which is a bit odd to me for various reasons, but should at least establish that they were not chosen by me simply because of their message despite 'inferior writing.'

Selecting stories that are actively feminist is not a priority in the editorial selection. I do not go out and read things with the intent of selecting stories that support "a feminist agenda." However, I'll qualify this by saying that the only story in this line-up that I think is even remotely under the "active feminist" label is "Run of the Fiery Horse."

PodCastle will continue to run stories with male villains. PodCastle will continue to run stories where women fight against men. PodCastle will continue to run stories where women fight against society. I do not accept the assertion that these things are, by default, feminist propositions. Nor do I accept that any story which features one, or more, strong female characters, is automatically feminist. 

If you forbid stories in which women fight against men or society, you cut off most avenues for female characters to experience conflict. Females do experience conflict. They experience conflict with men and society as well as other women. This will continue to be represented.

Stories like "Giant" get at the crux of the problem for me. "Giant" is not a feminist story. The original story of "Giant" is about a prince who rescues a princess from a giant. That original story is not feminist, either. It's about male agency. It's literally a damsel in distress story in which the woman is a plot coupon. The retelling of the piece is about humanizing the villain, in the classic mode of fairy tale retellings. It's a piece akin to telling Cinderella from the step-mother's side. The villain is male, but here we have a big bad oppressive male being rendered as fully human instead of a one-dimensional villain. To call this story anti-male is, in my opinion, to miss the point.

I bring up Escape Pod numbers to expose the double standard that is in play here. No, I do not think Escape Pod is sexist. Thaurismunths claims that he would notice if the trends he finds sexist were reversed; however, he did not, to my knowledge, actually notice when female voices didn't appear on Escape Pod. Nor did anyone else complain about it, notice it, or mention it on the Escape Pod boards until Ann and I dug up the data point to illustrate that we are being held to a double standard.

I hope this is clarifying about my positions, both in regard to the discussion and in regard to PodCastle's editorial policy. I feel I'm starting to repeat myself, so I may reply less frequently as the thread goes on.



deflective

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Reply #54 on: July 02, 2008, 06:50:05 PM
so, has it been three months already? last time round still seems so fresh: the long careful choosing of words, rewriting to minimize misinterpretation, waiting that extra hour for the head to clear. i like to think that i took away some little idea of the games politicians have to play.

since then some things have changed; i understand that Rachel is married (congrats! =) ). nothing substantial about my position has changed tho. anything points i'd wish to make were already made the best that i'm gonna make them. no one's standing alone in this thread, so i'm just gonna answer some comments that seemed to reference the last thread. or at least that caught my attention.


The stories everyone is bitching about the most?  I bought them.  "For Fear of Dragons" was my purchase.  (And I did notice that even then, in week fucking two, people were getting upset about the "pattern" of feminism on the podcast.  Two episodes!)

this may have been aimed at the web comments or some other conversation i'm not aware of. i definitely understand your frustration. if you're talking about the fantasy women thread i feel i should defend my position.

a lot of time was spent on for fear of dragons but the thread was started three weeks after launch; there were five episodes by then (including two minis). this was also during a time when podcastle and escape pod were running similarly themed episodes. finally, the time spent on for fear of dragons was a result of people arguing against the idea that there could be a female empowerment interpretation. personally, it wasn't really more objectionable than other episodes; just had examples that were easy to point to.

Hell, I had issues with "Sparrow" myself -- not for sexism, but for offending my polyamorist sensibilities

man, how many plots would that leave you?

Helen: "i'm spending the summer in troy."
Menelaus: "k, drop me a letter."

mr Roper is working in the garden when he overhears Jack saying, "i'm going to get you into bed Chrissy but first i have to get Janet off." he shrugs and gets back to gardening.

"one million dollars?! honey, start negotiations on the house."


I'm not clear what the point of asking, "Is PodCastle sexist?" actually is. If the answer turns out to be "yes," then what? We demand quotas? We stage a mass un-subscribe until we get new editors?  We petition Steve to start "StudCastle" -- a male-oriented fantasy podcast -- by way of affirmative action?

what's the point of discussing episodes at all? people see a common thread running through multiple episodes and think it's worth talking about. it's been worded confrontationally this time, more than i'm comfortable with really, but that doesn't have to be a big deal.

the editors here are easily the most engaged of the podcasts, directly responding to most questions and concerns. that's been fantastic, i greatly appreciated Rachel's effort to meet me halfway in a hostile environment, but sometimes it's best to let the kids tire themselves out. so long as we feel like we're being listened to it's all good, you'll probably get much the same information and save frustration. (edit: the last post kinda makes this paragraph pointless)


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.

third week, five episodes, general atmosphere of similar themes dammit! =P



Corydon

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Reply #55 on: July 02, 2008, 07:25:49 PM
Selecting stories that are actively feminist is not a priority in the editorial selection. I do not go out and read things with the intent of selecting stories that support "a feminist agenda." However, I'll qualify this by saying that the only story in this line-up that I think is even remotely under the "active feminist" label is "Run of the Fiery Horse."

How about "For Fear of Dragons"?  I'm not trying to challenge you-- I agree with what you're saying-- but that story's themes of a girl claiming agency against a patriarchal system seem about as actively feminist as they come.



Liminal

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Reply #56 on: July 02, 2008, 07:42:42 PM
If a male protagonist takes on a cabal of old, powerful men, there is not "ist" attached to the story.

If a female protagonist takes on a cabal of old, powerful men, it becomes a feminist story.

*sigh*

Corydon - this is not meant as a response to your post per se, just a reflection on the trends of our society.


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


Corydon

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Reply #57 on: July 02, 2008, 08:01:27 PM
As I remember it, the background to the story was that every year, virgin girls were sacrificed by male priests.  That's not just a female protagonist taking on a cabal of old, powerful men; it's making the story explicitly about gender.



Thaurismunths

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Reply #58 on: July 02, 2008, 10:15:23 PM
Why are so many of the so many of the stories about . . . men?
Are the editors aware of this trend?
Is this trend acceptable?
Is this a trend we can expect in future . . . stories?
Will more variety be expected in the future? When, and what kind?

Ask these questions of other publications, television shows, movies, novels, etc. Let me know what you find and then we can start a thread that discusses gender issues in popular culture. Honestly, I feel you are issuing a challenge rather than asking a question.
I apologize Liminal, I missed your post last night. That wasn't meant to be a slight.

I did ask them, and they said ask someone else, just like you did.
No one wants to get asked these questions, and no one wants to ask them because questioning the motives a minority makes you an 'ist' person pretty much no matter what.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


Thaurismunths

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Reply #59 on: July 02, 2008, 10:16:10 PM
I'm sorry, I feel the need to re-state myself.
Please, re-read the words of my original post and see what is there, not what you want to read, and don't skim. Please see what I'm saying.

Is PodCastle sexist?
The knee jerk answer is probably "no" but I would disagree. I think this is a question worth asking of the audience and, most particularly, of the editorial staff.
It has been remarked that women are a minority in publishing; I can't say one way or another, nor is that my concern, nor is it the concern of this podcast (to my knowledge anyway). What I am commenting on is the general tone and trend of the collected works published by PodCastle,and the appearance that they are strongly favoring women to the exclusion of other kinds of stories.
We're on episode thirteen, with five miniatures in the bag, and to me it's become obvious that PodCastle is being sexist in its choice of stories. Since Podcastle's debut nearly all of the stories feature female protagonists, and are mostly told from a female perspective. For example, only three stories (Ant King, Hotel Astarte, Osteomancer's Son) featured male leads, the rest are largely about women triumphing over (directly or indirectly) male oppression of some fashion or other. Three of the five PC Miniatures have been from a male perspective, but about negative domestic relationships with women (of the two that weren't, one was chosen by popular demand).
These issues have been danced around and nodded at, but we haven't really gotten any direct answers. I hope we can put some of these issues to rest publicly.

Why are so many of the so many of the stories about women?
Are the editors aware of this trend?
Is this trend acceptable?
Is this a trend we can expect in future PC stories?
Will more variety be expected in the future? When, and what kind?

Where did I say "Feminist"?
Why is this becoming a discussion about my views on feminism?
I said sexist.
Shwankie said feminist. And she meant feminist.
If you want to talk about feminism, ask her. Or ask me my views on feminism some other time, but don't lump us together. We are individual people and we have reached our own conclusions about this.

The definition of Sexist
Wikipedia:"Sexism can refer also to any and all systemic differentiations based on the gender of a person, not based on their individual merits. In some circumstances this type of sexism may constitute sex discrimination, which in some forms is illegal in some countries."
That is the definition I am using. I'm using it because it is an accurate description of my concerns, and I consider Wikipedia a reliable source in this case because its content is user provided, making this use of the word reasonably accurate and current.

I said PodCastle has "...the appearance that they are strongly favoring women to the exclusion of other kinds of stories." meaning that I think the content is being chosen based on gender, rather than the individual merits of the stories. That is sexism.

Sexism is not about anti-men or anti-women. Sexism is choosing one thing over another (often to the detriment of the 'another'). If a podcast were to feature stories exclusively about one gender it would be just as sexist as a podcast that degraded one gender.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?