Friday, August 21, 2009

Take a Nap

So, what are ya'll doing next Thursday?

I will be one of 8 guest speakers at Dayton's first Pechu Kucha night held at C{space (20 N. Jefferson St.) in downtown Dayton, OH on Thursday, August 27th (that's next Thursday!).

Doors open at 6:30 pm for mingling. Program starts at 7:20 (if you're just coming for me... (oohhhh, imagine that!!) I'm currently on the program as the second-to-last speaker. Each presentation is just 6 min 40 secs, so you do the math).

I'll be talking about, "Why science fiction (and/or fantasy)?" as a popular creative medium. This will also brush up on the old "Where do all your ideas come from?" question, and I will try not to be snarky about it. The person who asked me to participate in this event is largely unfamiliar with my work, so I think they're going to be a little startled with my answers.

Should be a good time.

Admission is $20, but includes free beer and sandwiches. I'm not actually getting paid for this, so best guess is the $$ are going toward your beer and sandwiches... and supporting the Dayton creative community (?), etc. etc..

So if you come, indulge, and indulge often!

Another Interesting Tidbit

This was a tidbit of particular interest to me from the article I link to below:

Indeed, some scholars say they believe the reason Muslim countries have been disproportionately afflicted by terrorism is not Islamic teachings about infidels or violence but rather the low levels of female education and participation in the labor force.

Like everyone else, I, too, am curious about how a female dominated society whipped up into religious fervor would act. There's a lot of reasoning that societies of women will be inherently more peaceful than those where men predominate in public life.

As you'll see in God's War (and much of my short fiction), this isn't a belief I ascribe to. The issue may not even be religion (see the recent reaction in the U.S. to healthcare reform). I think there's a deeply human fear of change and "the other," and I just don't believe that switching the genders of the participants will change anything.

It's like saying that since I'm a woman, it's impossible for me to be a misogynist. Um, hello? I was raised in a misogynist society. I've said on many occasions that I'm one of the biggest misogynists I know. I'm *aware* of that casual misogyny (and casual racism, also a byproduct of growing up in a racist society), and I work hard every day to fight it. But if you put somebody - no matter their gender - into a society that glorifies war/conquest/God/bloody triumph, you will create a violent people.

Viking women spent a good deal of time alone on their islands while men were away, and they were more than capable of slaughtering any wayward band of mauraders who came their way. I think that glorifying violence is what makes people violent. If violence truly was considered repugnant, effeminate (for lack of a better word), cowardly, debase, and truly morally wrong under any circumstances, our lives - in a society run by women or men - would be far different.

The question then being, "Are societies of women less likely to glorify violence than societies of men?" To which I'd reply, "It depends."

Where did their beliefs come from? Have they risen to "power" from within a violent society? Did they have to do it violently? Is there religion/society already glorifying violence? How would they distort themselves to fit the culture? Because let's take a good, hard look at how women distort themselves to fit into our culture. Think about that for a minute. Old beliefs remain, and if you're a women dominated society that's constantly under attack from the outside, you're either going to find ways to defend yourself... or your women-friendly society isn't going to last very long.

It's the Women, Stupid

In many poor countries, the greatest unexploited resource isn’t oil fields or veins of gold; it is the women and girls who aren’t educated and never become a major presence in the formal economy. With education and with help starting businesses, impoverished women can earn money and support their countries as well as their families. They represent perhaps the best hope for fighting global poverty.

And yet, for all the great information in this story... I was struck by how there was little to no mention of changing *men's* behaviors and *men's* attitudes toward women. Yes, give women aid, education, to lift populations out of poverty... but how does one go about changing the cultural attitude that women are beasts of burden?

By allowing them to make a buck, I guess. Which seems like an oddly capitalist solution. We measure the value of a life... by how much money it can make.


Not arguing with the solution. Just... concerned about that solution. Read the very excellent, For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts' Advice to Women for more about how the industrial revolution actually contributed to the *devaluation* traditional "women's work."

Like everybody else, we've just had to learn to do new things.

But you know what? Men have - and continue to need to - learn new ways of living, too. Giving women all the burden of change while excusing men who spend their family's money on alcohol and prostitutes... well.


For those tired of reading about this crap and want to make a difference, I recommend Kiva.