Sexism is nothing new in the world. We’ve been trying to fight it in our culture for a few decades now, but still it persists. In fact, it seems like it thrives in places, and unfortunately a lot of those places are where I like to spend my time. I’m talking about the world of gaming, literature, speculative fiction, and just nerdery in general. These of course aren’t all the places we still find sexism, nor even the worst of them, but it’s still a problem that needs addressing. I like to think of myself as a feminist/humanist/egalitarian whatever you want to call it, and I think in my life I’m fairly good at not being a total dick towards women. And you know, that’s great. Good job me for not being terrible.
While that’s a great starting point for feminism, it’s not really a great landing point. I was reading this article yesterday from Polygon, which is basically just a showcase of the horrible treatment women in gaming receive. That article links to this one from Leigh Alexander, which is not necessarily better but was more useful for me personally. I don’t contribute actively to the sexism in industries I love. I find it appalling, disgraceful, horrific, and completely disgusting. But I don’t really do anything to actively combat it either. I do try to share articles like these two. I try to be a good example of not being an asshole. I do my best to educate people about bigotry when given the opportunity. But I don’t really do anything. Part of that is just that there’s not much to be done, or rather there’s not a lot that I can do personally. However, reading these articles, I decided I can be more proactively anti-sexist.
One of the ways I am still allowing our inherent cultural sexism to influence my life is in my choice of authors. Most of my favorite authors ever since I was a child have been male. That’s not surprising seeing as industry (not just publishing, but most if not all western industries) has favored male products over female. Most of the books on the shelf were written by men. But not all. And that’s the point. I didn’t have to have mostly males as favorite authors. I just bought in to our society’s sexism. I don’t have to do that anymore though. So, from now on, for every book I read by a male author, I’m going to buy one by a female author too. If I buy a male authored book, I’m also going to buy a female authored book. If I check a book written by a man out from the library, I’m also getting one written by a woman. This in no way will fix all the sexism in the world. It won’t even fix all the sexism in my life. This is a small step on the way to making myself less sexist. It’s the beginning of what I hope will grow into a lifestyle not just absent from active sexism, but proactively anti-sexist.