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Possibly Preaching To The Choir Again

Hi everyone,

Over here at the Expanded Horizons slush pile, we get a LOT of stories about oppression.

Sometimes these stories look like this:

* Author is introducing a fictional world in which [fictional group] is stereotypically "oppressed," so a lot of very awkward exposition is inserted up front so the readers can get a sense of said oppression. (Have you met "oppressed people" who walk around explaining the nature of their oppression to people in the dominant group/newcomers to town, in expository fashion, on a regular basis? 'Cuz I sure haven't.)

* Author is trying to write about the oppression of a real life group, and fails hard because he/she doesn't have a clue what it's really like to be a member of that group/lived through that form of oppression or exploitation. It reads like the above, except with a real group substituted for the fictional group. Now we have a member of a real group giving forced exposition about their oppression. Which, as you all guessed it, sounds fake.

I recognize that narratives about oppression are important. And I feel that people from said oppressed groups should be the ones telling them, not people in the privileged groups making up on the fly what said oppression might be like and tossing it in a story for "flavor."

Stories about under-presented groups =/= stories about oppression. So stories about people of color =/= stories about racism or slavery, stories about women =/= stories about domestic abuse or sex trafficking, etc. I would hope and expect that even if people don't know this (which they should), they would read our guidelines and see that we say we're not looking for stories like this. Many people do not read it, do not understand it or do not think this applies to them!

While artificial "stories about oppression" are the trend in the American mass media, I don't feel that this is a good thing, and we at Expanded Horizons aim to counter this trend.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 4th, 2011 03:02 am (UTC)
We got a story for Steampunk Shakespeare that was basically the plot of Hamlet, without the accompanying Shakespearean voice that we envisioned, set in some fictional India, with a female Hamlet. The writer made a big deal about how she hoped the main character being a lesbian of colour would raise her chances. Nope, a terribly written story is still terribly written, and it felt so tokenized besides. Gah.
May. 4th, 2011 03:15 am (UTC)
Wow, that sounds awful.

"This story would be a great match for your publication because..." Nope.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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