Fingerless gloves on keyboard

Why #SWRepMatters – Disposable and Invisible Equals Unsafe

Karin Kallmaker Craft of Writing 4 Comments

“We have a lot of work to do, and choosing not to do it is no longer acceptable.” #ChuckWendig #SWRepMatters

I’m on the Interstates between Colorado and California, slowly turning the brain from vacation to writing mode. It’s hard, but blogs like Not Being Inclusive is Also a Political Choice from Chuck Wendig help. It has given me both a lens and a mirror, and these are helpful tools to my writer brain.

When you see inclusion as a political agenda because exclusion is what’s “organic,” you’re supporting a default world that is your political choice. Every time. Choosing to rep your reality in your stories is a political choice, even when the rep is all white and all able-bodied male.

Because seeing only the inclusive choices as political – therefore not “nautral” or “organic” – is the same as saying other types of people only exist when you want them to.

Even the mental mind trick where non-inclusion is not the same thing as exclusion should prompt self-reflection. I’m looking in a mirror here too.

In my life, from the mid 70s onward, I was presented in eduction almost exclusively with works by white men about white men as the organic canon of what is relevant in the world, Not only that, the views of white men about every other type of person was also presented as the natural view of things. This mindset was not a political choice, sure.

Going on 50 years, I’m still watching books that tell stories about other types of people being labeled political, disturbing, and therefore challenged on school reading lists.

To Kill a Mockingbird and Annie on my Mind are political correctness on a reading list. As if Death of a Salesman isn’t.

Exclusion is political. So is inclusion. Every choice a writer makes about the world their story inhabits is political. Let’s stop pretending otherwise.

It’s Political

All my stories have lesbian lead characters, which means women direct their own lives in my stories. It’s organic to me. It’s natural to me. And it’s political as hell, as Katherine V. Forrest has said for decades. Disposable, invisible people in art means disposable and invisible people in reality.

I can do better too. Still trying at least.

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Comments 4

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  4. While I cannot think of any your titles I have not enjoyed, I think my favourite is 18th and Castro. Two of the many reasons for that are ‘Tick, Tock: 2D’ and ‘Nine Inch Nails: 3D’. I love that in linked short stories, subplot is main plot for the duration of the story. And in those two stories, ‘disposable, invisible people’ are instead centre stage and essential, major characters. Even in lesbian literature with women as lead characters who direct their own lives, there are some groups of women who are more often excluded. Thanks for finding ways to include, and for contnuing to try.

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