S. B*rgstr*m isn’t the first. He likely won’t be the last.
J*hn Gr**n, J*hn Gr*sh*m, *ndr*w Sm*th, M*ch**l Gr*nt, T*mmy W*ll*ch. You’ve heard of them. But maybe you haven’t heard of the harm they’ve caused, because white het cis-patriarchal society chooses to lessen/ignore any misdeeds on their behalf. Only they’re not seen as misdeeds, as shown by the people who will defend any white het cis-man YA author of any wrongdoing. Because they deem them correct, and the rest of us are all (get your bingo cards out, everyone):
Because we’re told not to address problems that occur in the book community, in white het cis-patriarchal society. Our talking is supposedly “screaming”.
They want us to be silent. Oh, we’re allowed to speak, but only if we agree with what they tell us.
White het cis-men are allowed not to agree with each other. B*rry Lyg* said we should be “productive” instead of complaining. He invited people to comment on his blog with YA recs… If only he’d checked Twitter beforehand, he would’ve seen #MorallyComplicatedYA officially first Tweeted by Kayla Whaley, created for the same purpose of sharing YA recs.
Because co-opting women’s ideas is… Well, remember when J*hn Gr**n took credit for a phrase/sentence that a young girl created? He even merchandised it and all. Any time the girl pointed out that Gr**n was profiting from HER words, without giving HER credit, she was harrassed relentlessly. (Gr**n later apologised, but far too late. The damage was done, by him and his toxic followers.)
So yeah, co-opting women’s ideas is nothing new.
Think-pieces came out; wonderful posts from Victoria Aveyard, Jenny Trout, Kelly Jensen, and many more. And even before the hashtag officially launched, Justina Ireland was already speaking out.
Instead, guess who’s saying what women are saying but he’s getting praised for it? A white het cis-man, of course. Ch*ck W*nd*g, who can’t seem to help but turn every discussion in the book industry into a blog post to generate him page views, comments, praise, and thus lots of positive publicity. And the claims from his fans that “Ch*ck’s not like other white het cis-man YA authors.” (#NotAllMen, apparently. *eyeroll*)
Even when we’re discussing sexism, we still declare a white het cis-man as so wise, spot-on, the voice of reason. As if he’s not just saying what everyone else has been saying.
Because CH*CK HAS SPOKEN. Not CH*CK HAS LISTENED. (Credit to Suleikha Snyder for that.)
We can all contribute to a better future. Even at the grassroots-level, we can choose whose voices to amplify. And if we want to hear voices that aren’t from privileged white het cis-men, we need to promote marginalised people’s voices more, even if their content is similar to W*nd*g’s. He’s been rewarded. He doesn’t need to speak for all of us. He is not our saviour.
Because WE matter. Because WE can speak for ourselves. Because not everything is about white het cis-men, nor should it be. Let’s open the doors to more voices, instead of heralding the same guy over again.
The WhiteHetYACisPatriarchy will be fine without us propping them up. Not so everyone else.