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03 June 2010 @ 02:16 pm
Open letter to the SFPA: why I do not wish to be a member  
For context: I emailed something nearly identical to this to samhenderson. I am reposting here, with one added link, one grammar fix, and one word-change. Other links are being deliberately omitted.

With luck, this is the last post I'll ever make about the SFPA.

ETA: context links --
Stephen Wilson hitting sexual harassment bingo: This post.

The whole SFPAfail saga, as witnessed by me: my SFPA tag seems to cover it. To that end, I am hereby unlocking posts with that tag which I previously had f-locked.



----

Dear Sam,

I didn't really mean to rejoin the SFPA this year, not after everything that happened last year. It was an auto-join, and at the time I thought "Oh well, I'll stay in long enough to vote in the Rhyslings".

Seeing Steven M. Wilson's name in the current issue of Ideomancer, however, has brought back forcefully that nothing has been done by this organization about someone who sexually harassed another member in a public forum, whose harassment has been since minimized and written off as "a joke" and "not that bad" and"oversensitivity" other bingo-card excuses of rape culture.

It has reminded me that, thanks to the SFPA's inaction, Stephen M. Wilson has gotten away with said harassment, while his victim has suffered a great deal, and none of you seem to care. I am sad to have such tension with some people I would like to count as friends, but the fact is that you are doing something I find deeply, harmfully, and unforgivably wrong.

Not even the Rhyslings are worth my implicit support of something I find so entirely abhorrent and despicable.

Sincerely,
Shweta Narayan
 
 
Current Mood: angryDisgusted
 
 
 
Samantha Hendersonsamhenderson on June 3rd, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
Hi Shweta. Could I ask you to resend your email to my samantha DOT henderson AT gmail DOT com account?

Thanks!
Sam
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on June 3rd, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)
Sure thing. The SFPA account is the wrong one?
Samantha Hendersonsamhenderson on June 3rd, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
No, it's quite right! It's just that I'd like to respond to you faster. I'll explain via email.
shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on June 4th, 2010 02:36 am (UTC)
Either I misunderstood faster or gmail has screwed up, because I don't have anything from you.
Samantha Hendersonsamhenderson on June 4th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC)
I didn't get anything from you! (mourns)
Not to worry.
shweta_narayan: aieeeeshweta_narayan on June 4th, 2010 03:11 am (UTC)
Odd.

...

Wait, I think I've figured it out. Gmail wants to send to the other account even when I click on the one you said, and re-forwarded to the wrong address last time. I'll have to force it.

Vylar Kaftanvylar_kaftan on June 3rd, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC)
I think I missed this whole saga. Is there a link with a summary, or can you give one?
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on June 3rd, 2010 10:40 pm (UTC)
For Stephen Wilson's sexual harrassment, This post.

For the whole SFPAfail saga, or my part thereof, my SFPA tag seems to cover it.


Thanks for the question -- I'm sure you're not the only person wondering, so I'll post these on the entry too.
Vylar Kaftanvylar_kaftan on June 3rd, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the details.
time_shark: Sisyphustime_shark on June 3rd, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
For reasons I am not at all comfortable articulating publicly, I do not consider your description of the incident's result, and how it was dealt with, to be accurate. I certainly understand, though, why it would look that way to you.

I also feel there have been fundamental misunderstandings from the beginning about what SFPA could legally do and what it couldn't.

And I'd certainly dispute that the entirety of SFPA deserves to be painted by this broad brush.

ETA: I want to add that though, were it my choice to make, I probably would have done some things differently, I'm not sure that everyone wouldn't have ended up just as unhappy in end.


Edited at 2010-06-03 11:19 pm (UTC)
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on June 3rd, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
For reasons I am reluctant to specify in detail in public, Mike, I believe you're wrong. You've done some amazing things to support people through the mess, but you've also failed to check your male privilege on multiple occasions. And I think this is part of why you fail to understand just how bad what Wilson did was.

The organization is an organization, and hand-wringing about its responsibilities is ridiculous. Debbie could certainly have done far more than make a "why can't we just get along" posting that blames everyone equally, as though responding to harassment = harassment. On many, many counts, the SFPA has failed, and I want nothing further to do with its failings.

Your decisions are, of course, your own.
time_shark: Me nowtime_shark on June 3rd, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
I'll never be perfect, Shweta, or even close.

I hate what Stephen did. I did what I could about it, personally. I know there was a lot of behind-the-scenes agonizing. I don't dispute that the results failed to satisfy ... well, any side of this.

I'm afraid that's all I got for ya.

shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on June 3rd, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
I'll never be perfect, Shweta, or even close.


Of course, none of us will. What bothers me in this case is not imperfection. It's the fact that you've repeatedly failed to acknowledge that the most vocal part of the SFPA is either apathetic or supportive of what Wilson did, and enthusiastic about its victim-blaming.

I'm afraid that, yes, so long as that remains the most vocal part, you all will be judged by it to some extent. The way to change that is to change them, not to silence us.
time_shark: Me nowtime_shark on June 3rd, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)
I'm disagreeing with some of what you said, Shweta. And continue to. But I ain't silencing you.

shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on June 4th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
Disagreeing with me is fine :) I'm sure we'll be trying to convince each other out of what we each see as wrong-headedness often and often, and that's okay.

Disagreeing with my talking about it, though, and focusing attention on those who object rather than those who are objectionable, is by its nature silencing. I am not saying that you are telling me to shut up. But I am saying that you are being part of the pressure I am up against when I speak.
time_shark: Me nowtime_shark on June 4th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
Though I don't entirely understand what you mean, I do intend at this point to stop inadvertently being part of that pressure. (I do get that part.)
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on June 4th, 2010 12:05 am (UTC)
I'm referring to your first comment to this post, not to subsequent ones.
zwol on June 4th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)
This is sad to hear, if not all that surprising.

My sister doesn't normally write spec poetry, but she does like narrative, messing with form, and, well, I wonder if she would be interested in starting a new organization. Hmm.
shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on June 4th, 2010 12:19 am (UTC)
The idea has been raised, but there's a lackof overall spoons.

Which of course Dara would counteract, but the answer will still be "not just now".
Though, I suspect that her interests would include the speculative side if it were defined in an inclusive way.
zwol on June 4th, 2010 12:26 am (UTC)
I think 'not just now' is what she would say too. She's been getting a lot better at not overbudgeting her own spoons, and year two of an MFA is busy busy. Still, maybe something for the future.
shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on June 4th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
Yep.
If I have anything to do with it, it'll be something less US-centric and far more receptive to lit. poetry. I love genre work but I do not love the genre ghetto.
Olna Jenndormouse_in_tea on June 4th, 2010 12:28 am (UTC)
Yeah. I had already decided not to renew, and god but I wish the Rhyslings were independent BUT. Not worth it.

Objectively speaking, I'm not directly affected by any of this, except in that said jackass has hurt several people I "know" online and admire greatly, and even I get annoyed and upset when I see his byline somewhere.

Honestly, after this last poem (the Ideomancer) one, I'm not going to bother reading them. . . taking his poetry out of context I haven't liked any of them yet, so this isn't really a hardship or a moral stand, but I kinda wish I knew how to make one that would affect him.
shweta_narayan: aieeeeshweta_narayan on June 4th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC)
I would have quietly withdrawn, but I think a lot of the problem with the SFPA is the silencing of dissent. And I have been enough of the dissent that it would have been silencing, if that makes sense.

And fuckif I'm going to play that game.
Olna Jenndormouse_in_tea on June 4th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
I say that, really, the entire issue didn't *directly* impact me.

This is because it happened really soon after I'd joined the SFPA, before I'd gotten off my lazy bum to try and get involved in any of the online discussion.

It ensured that I did not feel any motivation to get around to doing so, ever, and had a great deal of motivation not to.

So. I could leave loudly, but since I haven't actually noticeably *arrived*, I'm not sure it would have the right sort of impact. (I don't want to be the hysterical female they can point to as an example of what they have to deal with!)

In your case I quite agree with your logic, and I'm . . . word fail. I'm not *proud*, because I've got nothing to do with it. I admire? and I'm impressed, because you aren't going quietly.

eta: some commentary removed because I had a moment of severe fail and posted publicly something that I ought'n't have, which I very much regret!!!

Edited at 2010-06-04 01:12 am (UTC)
shweta_narayan: mangatarshweta_narayan on June 4th, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)

So. I could leave loudly, but since I haven't actually noticeably *arrived*, I'm not sure it would have the right sort of impact. (I don't want to be the hysterical female they can point to as an example of what they have to deal with!)


Yeah I completely agree. It's just that between being involved, and then automatically re-subscribing and being distracted/sick enough to let it slide, I did not feel able to do so, y'know?

I don't think my part in any of this is impressive. Some other people, though, I'm deeply impressed by :)
(Deleted comment)
shweta_narayan: authorpic1shweta_narayan on June 4th, 2010 04:48 am (UTC)
Wilson's poem appearing in Ideomancer was basically a reminder of what I consider major injustice being tolerated. I understand that magazine purchasing is a complex and often slow matter, and was not jumping to conclusions about Ideomancer -- at least consciously.

As for the rest, I am not in fact telling anyone what to do. I would be interested to know where exactly you think I am doing so -- I am merely reacting to what was not, in fact, done.

I find Wilson's continued acceptance in the community and by the organization to be abhorrent. And while I know you aren't claiming to speak for the SFPA, I'll note that if it is Official with Tradition when convenient and Only A Group Of Individuals when convenient, then that is twice abhorrent to me.
I do not choose to be part of such a group.
b_writesb_writes on June 7th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)
That whole business was so nasty.