But the thing is this: white men don’t require the support of women and persons of color to be successful in the field of science fiction and fantasy. But women and persons of color do need to support of white men to be successful and they often don’t get it. I see it time and again: women writers and writers of color signal-boost widely. White male writers often do not. […] Women tend to boost signals of both women and men about equally, men boost mostly other men. And it’s frustrating.
–Natalie Luhrs on boosting.
One of the things about getting published, is that I’m suddenly getting asked the “who are your influences/favourite writers” question a lot. That’s forced me to take some hard retrospective looks at exactly whose books have been sitting on my bookshelf the longest, and which authors I think of as my greatest influencers.
No prizes for guessing that, upon taking this inventory, I realised they were mostly white men (and were all white).
I think about why this is the case, and I think it’s mostly just down to visibility. When I was younger, I wasn’t particularly conscious about the media I consumed; I just consumed it. It took being in my late twenties and early thirties–and, more importantly, exposure to intersectional fandom critique–to switch my reading habits from “front of the bookstore” to “hunting down diverse works”. I think I’m doing a lot better–and enjoying what I’m finding a lot more–but I’m aware of the effort I had to put in to get to that place.
And that effort? Let’s just say it wasn’t prompted by the signal boosting of white men, hey.