Genre Trouble: The May Day “NO MORE UNCOMPENSATED EMOTIONAL LABOR!” Post

Once in a while, I do a census of my friends, because hey: who am I hanging with?

After this third year of re-entry to SF/F fandom, this is what I notice: I have no friends, no trusted colleagues, who are White cisgender men.

Methodological note: We exclude relatives from the census, because family is family, but friends and colleagues you choose.

In the last few weeks, I’ve watched some singularly unedifying things go down on Twitter, and wasted an unconscionable amount of time gently explaining to Clueless White Boys why their expectation of unpaid emotional labor is a problem, and why some of us don’t think we should be obliged to forgive predators with 10+ years of damage–in this particular case, the notorious troll Requires Hate / Benjanun Sriduangkaew, but the same argument has been made in favor of sexually harassing editors, asshole male authors who claim to know “nothing of females or women,” etc.

So here’s the pattern that we need to stop encouraging:

  • Clueless White Man (generally a fandom gatekeeper of some kind) shoots off his mouth about people who are not his demographic.
  • Victims thereof have to explain, patiently and at great length, why his words/actions were hurtful.
  • Clueless White Man graciously apologizes and gets a cookie for ‘learning.’ Sometimes Fandom Good Guys/Progressive Allies(TM) chime in to encourage us to hand out cookies.
  • Rinse and repeat.

I’ve watched this for decades in fandom and other settings. The ‘education’ expected by these intellectually and morally lazy individuals is painful and emotionally draining for the people who have to do it, and the lesson never takes.

In April, I watched as Shaun Duke, of Skiffy and Fanty, at mid-month engaged in favor of “redemption” for RH/BS (based on how he’d “learned” from being corrected by the victims of his own bigotry) and then, in the last 48 hours, involved himself in shit-stirring against author Kari Sperring, one of RH’s targets.

Sub rosa, a number of writers I respect have warned me about Duke, who has repeated the above pattern time and again. This consistent bad faith is the reason I cut ties with Skiffy & Fanty yesterday. The “Muse of Research” interview series will be hosted on this website until I find another venue.

I made the decision to go independent as a writer and artist for a solid economic reason. In my experience, gatekeepers skew upper-middle-class, white, and male, and generally act in favor of their own. I answered a call from Skiffy & Fanty for women/nonbinary contributors, but I am not interested in being anyone’s token.

Especially since it’s not a paying market.

In the spirit of May Day, I’d like to call on all of us for whom fandom is NOT a safe place:

  • to stop giving out free emotional labor and patient explanations to the clueless and the trolls, because:
  • If someone’s a grown man and can’t do basic research on how to respect other human beings, he has no business trying to participate in cultural curation, or for that matter, adult life.

By the way, that’s the reason there are no cishet White men in my self-selected professional circle: I require reciprocity from colleagues, and all the fandom White dudes I’ve met thus far have failed the friend test.

And if any of these dudes want to send me a check for the time I’ve wasted ‘educating’ them, there’s a Contact form on this site. My rate for this service is $200/hour. There is no statute of limitations, so feel free to add interest to your payment for services incurred in the distant past!

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