F: Feminism Isn’t a Dirty Word, and if it is, I Have a Filthy Mouth
One of my favourite authors is Scott Lynch, writer of The Lies of Locke Lamora and its sequels. Lynch is often considered more pulp than quality, but his books are so beautiful and perfect to me. They’re funny. They’re horrifying. They’re thrilling. They’re sad. The way Lynch juggles mood and tone and his mastery over clever dialogue is why he’s become a beloved voice in 21st century fantasy. I consider him one of my biggest inspirations. Not just because he’s a genius and not just because he values a lot of the same things as I do in a good novel, but because he does things like this:
There’s a movement that’s been working since the 19th century to smear the name of feminism. To paint it as a group of ugly, shrill harpies howling about how men are inherently evil, stomping good lads into the dirt and removing their genitals, hoisting them to the sky and undulating like Xena in their glorious domination. And somehow, this movement is still managing some success. Feminism has become a word you don’t want to associate yourself with. It evokes images of a man hater, a bra burner, an marriageable and unfuckable woman.
The things said about feminism and feminists today are the same things that were said about us two hundreds years ago. If you don’t want to be the sort of woman seen in this old cartoon, or the sort of man who wants to impress her, you choose a different word. Or avoid labeling altogether.
Well, hell with that.
I am a feminist. I am proud to be a feminist. And my promise to everyone reading my books or following me on social media is that you’ll never be surprised to find out what I am. I want people who follow my career to know where I stand. I want my female characters to shine brightly. I want my retweets to address the continuing difficulty for women in media. I want to surround myself with other authors who consider themselves feminists too. I will never recommend a book that I think fails at women.
I’m not afraid of any of the dirt that’s been smeared on the label. I wear it happily. Just like Mister Lynch, who spent the last day flooding his tumblr with take-downs of anti-feminism and support of all the ways fantasy continues to be more inclusive, I’ll be glad to send all haters to the left.
When I started cultivating my social media presence, I asked my agent if I should be upfront about my strong opinions on social issues. Her response? “Absolutely! The people who would be offended could never handle the awesome that is Chris and Olivia, anyway.”