Sexism in the Hugo Awards?

My first post on Exquisitely Geek: What Are Fake Geek Girls.  I chatted with you a bit about what it was like for me to grow up a female science fiction lover, and talked about this horrible trend for people to assume that all girl fans were fake based upon a rise in nerd culture popularity.  Well, let's face it, I glossed over the word.  I was afraid to use the words I was thinking because they are so overused. Sexist. Discriminatory. So, I didn't.  I delivered information to you with a conclusion that we need to remember to "play nice."

Well, the problem continues to advance, and I'm not sure that I can sit quietly and play both sides of the fence and offer a nonobjective view of the subject for today's blog.  The Hugo Awards, given annually to the best works in science fiction and/or fantasy, is the newest subject in what some are calling the second #Gamergate. Two groups of individuals are attempting to reverse the trend set the past few years of awarding the majority of Hugos to women and minorities.  These groups claim that the awards were not based upon merit but simply upon the desire to pacify voices who claim they are underrepresented.

Source Link

Science Fiction and Fantasy was, at one point, dominated by both male creators (authors) and male led plots; however, the genre has changed.  Women and minorities have made great strides in the field to bring a diversity to readers in the voice of the work, the plot of the work, and the underlying symbolism of the piece.  Once, you saw a book with a cover artwork that included a spaceship and a galactic background, and you knew that you would be reading a story about space travel and adventure (think pirates, on a ship, but less Firefly and more Captain Hook). Now, you can see that same cover and it could be a discussion of political unrest or the human condition set in the background of space (think "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress"). Because readers of the genre have recognized this trend, they did attempt to have the Hugo Nominees reflect this surge in diversity. Two men did not agree. Firstly, novelist Larry Correia, founder of Sad Puppies who has stated openly that the Hugo Awards have begun to award books of "ideological" or "literary" focus rather than the swashbuckling adventure of tradition. Second, Internet Personality Vox Day, aka Theodore Beagle who assisted the cause by founding Rabid Puppies who believes the "puppy movement" is to combat "the left-wing control freaks who have subjected science fiction to ideological control for two decades and are now attempting to do the same thing in the game industry." He's the reason people are claiming #Gamergate 2.

These two men, with the help of supporters, have been able to stack the ballot for this years Hugo Awards.  3 of the 5 authors listed for best novel appear on the list of support from Sad Puppies.  George RR Martin has spoken out and fears that these two groups, single handedly, have ruined the reputation of the award. He blogs "Will future winners actually be the best books or stories? Or only the books and stories that ran the best campaign?"  Martin wrote candidly stating:
“Call it block voting. Call it ballot stuffing. Call it gaming the system. There’s truth to all of those characterisations (sic). You can’t call it cheating, though. It was all within the rules. But many things can be legal, and still bad … and this is one of those, from where I sit. I think the Sad Puppies have broken the Hugo awards, and I am not sure they can ever be repaired,” he wrote."

Though I did not speak up during #Gamergate, for a number of reasons, I do not know that I can sit back and not inform you of what is going on in this situation.  After doing some extensive reading into the Hugo Awards debate/debacle and knowing what previously occurred in #Gamergate, I am afraid of the trend that I am spotting.  I hope that I am wrong and that I've overreacted, but I fear that I'm right on track. I truly hope that we find later that Sad Puppies was right - the system was broken before they entered it.  It may be that Sad Puppies founder, Larry Correia, may have been onto something that is truly plaguing the Hugo Awards.  The problem is that his cause became aligned with Vox Day who is best known for his idea that Women's rights should be reversed.

I'm truly not sure where to go from here.  How do I calmly tie into "Stay Exceptionally Chic and Exquisitely Geek!" I don't think a phrase that light-hearted is appropriate for this topic.  What I will end with is a singular thought:  If the Hugo Awards has brought more people to your fandom, to your books, maybe you shouldn't be worried about their race or gender.

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