By Lisa Fary
Damn it. Didn’t we just go over this? I really have to address this wacko female-gay ghetto idea again? Screw you and your barbaric idea of gender appropriateness! Now get your ass in the kitchen and make me a potpie. Oh, right, that’s supposed to be my job. You know, because I have a vagina and the most sci-fi piece of machinery I’m supposed to operate is the microwave.
Why yes, another chest pounding Cro-Magnon is insisting that vaginas are what’s wrong with science fiction today.
However, this caveman isn’t focused on simply the male-friendliness of science fiction entertainment (unlike the last one). This one postulates that, by vaginas ruining science fiction, they’re also ruining scientific exploration as a side-effect.
Now, when you’re fuming about your lack of a jetpack, hovercraft, or Moon condo, you know to blame the unnatural vaginas that watch the SyFy Channel and write slash fiction.
In The Spearhead’s piece, “The War on Science Fiction”, Pro-Male/ Anti-Feminist Tech writes:
As we know science fiction has inspired boys to pursue careers in science, engineering, and technology as men. With women killing science fiction on television, the current generation of boys won’t have this opportunity to be inspired to work in these fields.
The writer indicates that British television is waaay more gay than American television (name checking Captain Jack and Torchwood). And slash fic is icky (but what do you expect from a bunch of abnormal women who dig sci-fi and have independent thoughts about such things?).
Let’s not even get into the misguided, supremely screwed up idea that women aren’t interested in and don’t pursue scientific fields.
No. On second thought, let’s get into that.
As a kid, one of the many things I wanted to be when I grew up was an aerospace engineer. I liked science and science fiction and thought it would be awesome to build spaceships and rockets. What killed that? Math. I had a hard time with math, but was never given any extra help. Why?
The official stance in elementary school was, “Lisa’s a girl. It’s natural that she’s has a hard time with math. She’s good at English, though!” No intervention. No extra assistance, even when specifically asking for it. On my own, I fell further and further behind in math, barely passing my math classes, getting promoted on the strength of a hard earned D, never able to get into higher level math classes. Obviously, I was never going to build a spaceship.
And yes, I was always good at English. Got a degree in it. Even teach it to high school kids who’d rather not read anything other than a text message.
But, I resent it on a certain level. It’s a reminder that I once dreamed of something else and no one supported me – no one would help me – because of my gender. However, it’s also why, now, I make damn sure my students get the help they need in any of their classes, not just mine.
This is unlikely to be an isolated incident. How many girls over the years have been steered away in the same manner?
The Spearhead is on about boys, though, so lets look at the idea of how the feminization of science fiction (and, somehow, slash) is supposedly going to inspire fewer boys to go into science fields.
Having actually interacted with school kids for the last decade and having, like, read about the sociology of schools and the American decline in math and science, I’m confident that it’s not related to a lady Starbuck or Captain Jack kissing Ianto Jones.
In the book Nerds: Who They are and Why We Needs More of Them, psyhcotherapist David Anderegg postulates that our steady decline in math and science – both interest in and performance of – is due to the overall anti-intellectualism in our society. Kids who are interested in math and science are nerds. No one likes nerds. Nerds don’t get laid. Nerds are mocked by other kids of both sexes who are often egged on by their parents, or even following their parents’ lead.
So, it’s not the feminization of science fiction television that’s going to prevent boys from being inspired to go into scientific fields. It’s other kids. It’s those kids’ parents. It’s our country’s anti-intellectual prejudice that there is something fundamentally uncool about digging science, that doing well in school is somehow socially retarded.
Comparatively, there are a lot of boys from India (among others) going into science and engineering. Does India have more masculine science fiction with which to inspire boys? Is it due to a lack of Indian slash? Or does India simply have a culture that respects and prizes intellectual achievement? (Hint: it’s that last one).
The Spearhead is putting far too much importance on science fiction television in the development of science professionals. Boys and girls who are interested in science are going to find inspiration everywhere and have far more to draw from than I ever did as a kid. They’re just as likely to get science inspiration from Halo as they are from the SyFy Channel. Then there’s always, like, books.
The trick is fostering that inspiration in the real world, through the social torture of the American school. In the face of that, anything with a spaceship – even it has lady pilots, men with emotions, and dudes kissing – is a welcome respite.
So, lay off the vagina hate. They’re tired of being blamed for everything.
Lisa Fary is a graduate of the creative writing program at Florida State University and holds an advanced degree in Special Education. Her earliest influences are Princess Leia, Rainbow Bright, Astronaut Barbie, and her 6th grade teacher, Ms. Palmer. She’s angry that it’s almost 2010 and she still doesn’t have a hovercraft, but will accept a jetpack as consolation. That jetpack had better be pink with a rhinestone monogram.
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