So, uh, we all know that I have a love/hate relationship with the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, yes? I've alluded to the issues I have with the sexism and misogyny present in the books, though I don't really go in depth here because I'm having those sorts of in-depth conversations in real life. Sam and I have had many positive and wonderful conversations about the books' portrayal of women and Harry's sexism and so perhaps I get most of it out of my system with a real-life fan of the series rather than posting it here.
(And yes, Sam does listen and perhaps has even learned a few things from our talks. In fact, I don't recall us ever really disagreeing on the problematic elements. Our biggest disagreement so far has probably been over our theories as to who shot
[spoiler] at the end of Changes
But maybe I should have talked about it here and used inflammatory words like "Fuck you" and called out the misogyny and sexism and rubbed everyone's nose in it. Maybe I still should because there's no fail quite like author fail and it seems Mr. Butcher is in the mood to provide.
It begins, innocently enough, over on Tumblr. Unfortunately for poor Mr. Butcher, someone actually knows a thing or two about the layout of Chicago (rightly) takes issue with the geography presented in the books
, and then there's a pretty big point made about the racism and classism inherit in one of the descriptions of
FUCK YOU, JIM BUTCHER. You have obviously never actually lived in Hyde Park. I bet you just walked around a little bit — maybe you walked along the edges of Washington Park, maybe you walked down 55th until you hit Cottage Grove. Did you walk along 53rd St and decide that this was “the worst a large city had to offer”? What made you think that?
Was it the Starbucks on the corner? Or the farmers market that happens every Thursday morning in the summer? The Aveda salon? Treasure Island, the expensive “European food market”?
Or was it the back door Latino club that sells empenadas and Latinoamericano magazines out of the back door every afternoon? The smoke shop with the cheap weaves on Styrofoam heads in the window? The crappy Mexican food shop that sells huge burritos for a buck? The 24 hour cheap grocery by the bus stop, where I bought my yogurt from because I couldn’t afford to shell out 5 dollars on fucking yogurt?
Naturally Mr. Butcher recognized his mistakes, issued an apology, and immediately promised to endeavor to correct both his poor geography and educate himself about privilege and racism.
Oh, wait, that was what should have happened. My apologies. Instead he invokes the tone argument as a reason not to listen to valid criticsm as presented by a marginalized person and he goes on the defensive over on Twitter. lucia_tanaka
posted her conversation with Mr. Butcher here
. It is, as you can expect, pretty much a demonstration of why the Privilege Denying Dude meme
exists and is so popular.
I'd say I'm disappointed, but honestly having read the Dresden Files, I pretty much could have told you how something like this would have gone down. Don't get me wrong, I expect more and I'm glad other people are listening to what's being said even if that doesn't include Butcher himself. However, it would have been nice to be wrong, to see someone respond positively and acknowledge that polite phrasing isn't what makes a complaint valid or invalid. If something is racist or sexist, it's still racist or sexist whether I say "Please, sir, consider this," or, "Fuck you, asshole, here's where you're wrong." We've tried being polite and following the rules of engagement (rules, I might add, made by the ones with the privilege and the power), and look where it got us.
So, take a lesson from Mr. Butcher here. He's offering an excellent demonstration of how not
to respond to criticism.
And if any of you want to try to tell me Harry isn't sexist or that sexism and misogyny aren't running rampant in the Dresden books, you might want to save your poor fingers because I will go on at length about Murphy, about Susan, and about Molly (oh boy, will I go on about Molly and the skeeviness surrounding her). I'll also touch on the rape-y undertones concerning the White Court vampires ("But oh my god Jade, they're succubi/incubi! It's supposed to be like that!"
If you're asking why I read this crap if it offends me, I'll tell you it's the same reason I watch Supernatural
and why I watched BtVS even after the abysmal fail of season six (and no, I'm not referring to Buffy coming back from the dead). Because I like them in spite of myself and also because it gives me a chance to point out what's wrong and why it's wrong. If I didn't care about it, if I didn't love it, I would want it all to go away. Instead I want to see it do better because I think it can be better, because I want to believe the creative minds behind these loves of mine would prefer to know when they get it wrong so that they might improve their art and perhaps encourage people to talk about this stuff in real life.
Or maybe I read this shit and talk about it just to piss you off.