But You’re a Girl

Published July 16, 2016 by swankivy

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“Girls just don’t write science fiction.”

Yeah I guess I’d better go double-check my gender and get it validated, ’cause I write science fiction/fantasy.

And lots of my other female friends write SFF.

Many of us write such things without a focus on romance. Try not to sound so disbelieving as you take this in. But if you’re going to make these kinds of assumptions, at least leave the condescending smirk off your face. Someone might get the idea that you believe romance is an inferior genre, and/or that you believe the female writers who dominate it are beneath you.

I promise I have NEVER in my life preemptively assigned a man a probable writing genre before he speaks, and would never utter a phrase like “so you probably write shoot-em-ups and police procedurals, yes?” Nor have I assumed a man’s romantic stories are probably framed in a battle setting.

You really don’t need to sound so surprised when a woman writes science fiction. Get over it.

4 comments on “But You’re a Girl

  • Science-fiction was invented by a woman (Mary Shelley), so I would say that’s not just ridiculously contemptuous, it’s plain wrong. Also, the best science-fiction writer I know is a woman (Ursula LeGuin).

    • Yeah I know about Frankenstein! I’ve mentioned that to people before and they don’t seem to believe that it was basically the first of its kind. I even saw someone try to claim that Heinlein predated her. Like. If you’re THAT sure that men defined everything that you pull what you think is a trump card confidently out of your butt, at least look up the facts before you make yourself look ridiculous. Heinlein wasn’t even born yet when Shelley’s book was published. Not that it really matters ultimately who did it first though. It’s just funny to watch them squirm when they insist that this is somehow men’s territory that women are trying to invade.

  • Self-fulfilling to a large degree. The first science fiction magazines were edited by men, and had artwork that would attract male readers more than female reader, and the stories were mostly written by men, so mostly teenage and adult men bought and them. There was never a rule against female writer (or readers), but many female writers used pseudonyms to disguise their sex, some at editor’s suggestion. Le Guin was first science fiction writer I remember reading more of, many more since then. Mary Shelley is quite a bit older than Heinlein. Frankenstein is not a fun read, still quite a bit better than most novels of the period. I figured out Andre Norton was a woman by her writing style. Just found out her name name from reading this.

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