This is a fantastic book of essays by Kameron Hurley, and one I’m very glad I read. Kameron approaches her essay topics with a fierceness that challenges the reader to re-examine things that many of us (i.e definitely white male me) take as default or normal. The book looks at the widening of geek-culture to include more diverse voices and the intense and organised resistance that this change faces.
It is also a masterclass in persistence and tenacity, which I found very impressive.
I used the word fierce deliberately. Karmeron’s writing is a passionate defence of creative women’s place in the world, and is clearly borne of an underlying anger – an anger at the constant efforts to suppress her and other women’s voices. Kameron is attacking the institutions of privilege and patriarchy, but I feel it is important to say this does not mean it was an attack on men – it is not.
As I said, I am a white male. Reading this book I felt questioned. I felt challenged. I felt occasionally guilty (when I recognised behaviours or actions that I had been involved in myself). But I never felt blamed*.
*Just thinking – the fact I felt I had to say make this disclaimer is a kind of playing right into to a presumption itself. Why on earth would I assume going into a book that it would attack me for being a man? Because I have been constantly told that feminism is aggressive and anti-man, which is, of course, nonsense.
Quick note: I will keep an eye out for future Hurley essays and I can see why she won a Hugo (For “We Have Always Fought”). I’m also now totally committed to reading some Joanna Russ – Hurley makes mention of her work a few times, and FromCouchToMoon did a great review of The Female Man back in 2015.