Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Break from the Regularly Scheduled Program...

I started this blog a long time ago, with lots of dreams and ambitions for what it could be. But then I got busy (or a little bit lazy) and the blog became pretty much what it is today - mostly just book reviews, with a handful of other things thrown in occasionally. Part of my goal this year in attempting to stay caught up with my reviews was to have the possibility to respond to things that are happening in the blogosphere, or the children's lit world. So far, though I've mostly stayed caught up in my reviews, I haven't really done the latter at all (aside from responding to the ALA Youth Media Awards, which I've done for the past several years).

Part of my hesitation in responding to things that are happening around the Internet or in the publishing world is a lack of confidence in my own abilities. Do I really have something to add to the conversation? Can I really say it as eloquently as I've seen others do? Or am I just going to be shouting into the void? And, above all, if I have something to say, shouldn't I say it, no matter how few people might hear it?

It would appear I've mostly been content to live in my own little corner of the Internet, chugging out reviews and hoping my efforts will help at least a few people. I don't have the stats or pageviews that would make my blog a big name and, as I mostly just write reviews (and generally, not terribly critical ones), I don't really have the content for that either. I'm not blaming anyone but myself for this - I'm notoriously terrible at small talk (in real life) and networking (both IRL and virtually). I read a lot of blogs, but do I ever try to engage with them? Not usually, no, and I don't have a good reason for that. I love Twitter, and I follow a lot of librarians and authors but, since I can't be on it during the workday, I often feel like I'm missing out on a lot of what happens and by the time I would get to commenting, I'd be too late to the conversation.

So, why am I telling you all this, reader who likely is surprised to not see a review here? Because I guess I do have something to say. And it's this: I'm tired.

I'm not tired of blogging (generally, although some posts are certainly more effort than others). I'm certainly not tired of reading and loving children's and teen books (I literally cannot imagine that happening).

I'm tired of sitting in my corner of the Internet and pretending that I have nothing to say and that the rest of the world doesn't effect me.

I guess what really motivated me to sit down and write this was Maggie Stiefvater's tumblr post, "The Anatomy of Rage." But really, I think that post is just the tipping point. I read it a few days ago and haven't been able to stop thinking about it and all the things that have preceded it. The We Need Diverse Books Movement. The Andrew Smith kerfuffle. Stacked's "About the Girls" series. Even the just-announced Hugo Award nominations. And probably a million other things that I'm just forgetting about in the moment. But I read Stiefvater's post and thought, "Yes. This. All this. This is exactly what I would say." Of course, I haven't had the exact same experiences as Stiefvater (I don't drive a rally car or play bagpipes or write bestselling novels, obviously), but I needn't to feel exactly the same way as she feels.

Perhaps what makes me saddest is how ingrained staying silent is in me. I consider myself a feminist and someone who is generally not shy to speak her mind. I'm not afraid to complain when something doesn't work out like I expect and I've threatened to walk away from businesses when they haven't given me what I need. But speaking up about the rampant and inherent sexism that runs through my life - well, I never felt like I should. After all, other women certainly have it worse. I mean, I may be a woman, but I'm easily perceived as a straight, white woman. I know other women have it much more difficult. Like I said, my corner of the Internet is usually pretty quiet, so in all likelihood, I won't have to worry about death threats or stalking just for posting my thoughts on the issues. But I certainly worry on behalf of other women and the fact that I have to horrifies me.

I'm tired of trying to explain to people that racism still exists. I had to walk away from a conversation with coworkers because I was worried I would say something that might get me fired if I didn't. I'm tired of pretending that I don't see just how sexist my library is - when multiple male coworkers feel they have to mansplain a broken piece of equipment to me, when a whole department made of men gets their positions reclassified to make more money, when coworkers look shocked at me for speaking my mind. I'm tired of living in a world where women, particularly young women, are of so little value that the things they care about are constantly mocked and belittled. I'm tired of being almost 30 and still being viewed mostly as a commodity or a potential baby-making machine or a bitch. I'm tired of women taking the blame for everything, from the rise of divorce to the failure of our school systems to our pervasive rape culture. I'm tired of worrying that the women I respect and admire will be harassed or stalked or threatened just for speaking up and calling out the shit that we deal with every day.

When my fiance (a white male) has nightmares, it's usually about some horrible accident befalling someone he loves. I had a nightmare last night. It was about being sexually assaulted - because that is what women have to be afraid of in our society.

I'm tired of it.


  1. I hear you so much on the subject of how ingrained staying silent can be- I have a hard time speaking loudly about difficult topics myself. And Suckiness viz your work! I'm so sorry you have to deal with that.

    1. It's just shameful to think about what we teach young women - about staying silent, about apologizing, about taking the blame. I know my work situation could be far worse, but it's just so obviously a good old boys club in my city and it makes me tired having to deal with it over and over again every single day.