Political Writing

Every single thing about me is political, every single part of everyone is political and if you think it isn’t you’re fooling yourself. So it makes perfect sense to me that everything I write has political significance, even if I don’t mean it to, even if it’s only politically significant to a small section of the population.

My choice for my main character to be a woman of color is a political choice (just like someone else’s choice for their main character to be a white man is a political choice). My choice to try to explore gender, race, class, sexuality etc. in my fiction (however clumsily) is even more blatantly political. No matter if I’m writing “literary” fiction (I hate that term by the way, what exactly makes fiction literary, who gets to decide?- that’s a whole other post) or “genre” fiction.

The idea that someone’s short story that deals with a man falling asleep in a bar and dreaming of sex with underage girls is somehow more valid than my short story dealing with sexism and racism in the time of the Emperor Diocletian pisses me the fuck off. My story is not less than, simply because it involves magic or technology (if you think it’s craptastic b/c of the writing or something, that’s one thing). If you think SF/F is formulaic you’re not reading the right people. You’re making bullshit assumptions on your own prejudices. I could list 10 people off the top of my head who are doing majorly innovative things in SF/F around all the things I listed above.

SF/F can be just as political as “literary” fiction and like I said every single piece of writing in the world is political. Even a short poem of three lines is a political statement.

If it’s written down it’s a political statement, yes even if it’s Science-Fiction or Fantasy.


2 responses to “Political Writing

  1. I agree.

    The choices we make are political (what’s that old feminist saying, ‘the personal is political’?), even those that aren’t acknowledged as political. It’s interesting who “gets” to choose which is what, and what those choices are, and why some things get left out while others are privileged.

  2. Kate –
    That’s it exactly, the personal is political and I think people forget that. The most interesting part of the “creative writing establishment” really is who are the gatekeepers of “literary” fiction. Why is some SF/F considered literary? I hear Ursula LeGuin with increasing regularity, and I don’t disagree I love LeGuin but what about those other people I love? Why are others considered just mindless dribble? It’s funny who gets to choose what is relevant. And how often what is relevant is what is privileged.

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