Welcome to Friday Debate, a feature on cup of tea with that book, please, where every Friday a question will be posted that tantalize the brain and expands our horizons. For this week’s question:
I recently read a Guardian news article and it allowed me to really examine a genre that I never really gave a second thought. It is about female authors and the science fiction and fantasy genre:
Sexism exists in science fiction and fantasy: until recently, the genre has remained stubbornly white and male but for the rise of authors including Nnedi Okorafor or NK Jemisin. Every time the Guardian runs reviews of sci-fi by women, commenters invariably debate whether it is sci-fi at all. But while YA fiction as we know it has been around since the 1950s, many of the popular series share common features: fantasy-romance blends usually led by a feisty-but-relatable young woman who, in between interspecies/inter-kingdom battles, will fall in love with a male friend, with whom she will eventually hit the heights of heavy petting in, perhaps, book three.
I looked at the books that are cataloged as sci-fi at our library and mostly, they are predominantly white men. The female authors who write sci-fi/fantasy novels are always cataloged in the “YA” section or “Romance”. I am not saying teens can’t and shouldn’t read these books if they are not in “their” category. However, we should start to question that these established genres are equally diverse. The publishing industry has a huge problem with allowing the lack of diversity clouding their shelves. However, maybe the change has to start with how vendors, booksellers and libraries categorize these books.
So for this week’s Friday Debate, I am asking these two questions:
Please post any comments you have in the section below.