Personal Essay: "We Are the Army of Women Destroying SF" by Sandra Wickham
When we set out to destroy science fiction with this Kickstarter, we didn't want it to be your ordinary, run-of-the-mill campaign. We wanted it to be full of smashing, crashing women's voices, telling what it really means to be a woman reading and writing science fiction. One of the ways we hope to do that is by sharing a series of personal essays by women about their experiences as a woman in science fiction. The following essay is by Sandra Wickham.
"We Are the Army of Women Destroying SF"
I grew up watching the Star Wars trilogy on repeat. Yes, I know it’s not science fiction, but back then all I knew was it had space ships, robots and laser swords and I was hooked. I wanted to be a Jedi, or at the very least, a super hero. I’m pretty sure a great deal of who I am today has on some level been a quest for that.
I also grew up naive of gender discrimination. My brothers and I all had chores to do on the farm. The easier ones went to me, but it was because I was the youngest and littlest, not because I was a girl. I was never told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl, and was definitely never held back from anything I wanted to do. For my first job, I wanted to pump gas at a busy intersection, mostly because it was on the route to the beach and I’d get to see tons of people my age. It never occurred to me that they hadn’t ever had a female work there, but it didn’t stop me from convincing them to hire me, which opened doors for other women to work there. I became the first female president of the British Columbia Amateur Bodybuilding Association, not to prove a point, but because someone needed to step up to the position. I never thought of those as gender issues or something I shouldn’t have taken on.
Cue me naively entering the science fiction publishing world with the same ideas. I want to write the same stories I loved growing up, the ones that filled my heart and soul with wonder and fueled my imagination. To hear it said that women are destroying science fiction rattles me to the core. I’m new to the publishing industry and haven’t had the experiences other women have had at conventions or online. Yet. When I hear about it, it makes me want to pick up my light saber and start slicing off body parts. While that might be fun, I realize it wouldn’t solve the problem.
I’m also aware that being a strong, intelligent and independent minded female is not popular with everyone. To those people, I say, “I don’t care.” It makes me angry and drives me to want to stand up for all women in the industry, whether it’s by continuing to destroy science fiction by writing it, or by physically standing up for someone who needs it. This Jedi recently earned a black belt. You need me; I’ll be there.
I will continue to write science fiction and fantasy because I love it and because I want to entertain people, whatever the gender. The talented women who write science fiction are not going anywhere, no matter what the haters say. We are the army of women destroying science fiction and we are strong. May the force be with us.
Sandra Wickham lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and two cats. Her friends call her a needle crafting aficionado, health guru and ninja-in-training. Sandra’s short stories have appeared in EVOLVE, VAMPIRES OF THE NEW UNDEAD; EVOLVE, VAMPIRES OF THE FUTURE UNDEAD; CHRONICLES OF THE ORDER; CROSSED GENRES; LOCOTHOLOGY: TALES OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION; and THE URBAN GREEN MAN. She blogs about writing with the Inkpunks, is the Fitness Nerd columnist for the Functional Nerds and slush reads for LIGHTSPEED MAGAZINE.