Sarah Guan @🏡 Profile picture
May 14, 2018 13 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
On Mother’s Day & every day, let’s kill off fewer moms in science fiction & fantasy.

Yes, it’s easier for a protagonist to have adventures w/o her—or to go on quests to avenge her. What living mom would let her kid endanger their life like that?

But isn’t killing her a cop-out?
Let’s stop using women’s pain and women’s deaths as catalysts for (often male) heroes’ stories.

Let’s stop treating women as motivators of protagonists’ growth, as obstacles in their journeys, as objects to be won or rescued—or, as with many dead mothers, as simply irrelevant.
They say a mother’s love is one of the most powerful forces on earth. We always hear stories of mothers going to extraordinary lengths for their kids.

Let’s see more of that in fiction, in #SFF.

Let’s see more women as the heroines of their own stories—as leaders, not damsels.

We know Sojourner Truth as an activist. She was also one of the 1st black women to win a court case against a white man—she sued to free her son

Livia was vilified as a crucial advisor to her husband Augustus & for ruthlessly orchestrating her son’s path to the throne
But also, let’s see more moms whose accomplishments don’t have to do with her kids. We know, historically, women often bore children due to societal expectations and lack of access to contraception/abortifacients.

But there are ways to be a heroine that aren’t saving one’s kids.
What about Meena Keshwar Kamal, leader of Afghanistan’s first women’s rights movement (RAWA, which is still around)? She protested both the Russians and fundamentalists, started hospitals and schools for refugee women, and was assassinated for her work.

She deserves a novel.
Another historical mom who would make a great protagonist?

Marie Curie: first woman to win the Nobel Prize & only person to win in two different sciences (physics & chemistry)

Her daughter Irène also won the Nobel

Let’s see more heroines whose legacies aren’t (only) their kids
Let’s also see heroines who are bad mothers—and aren’t vilified for it.

Maybe she never wanted kids—but has them, voluntarily or not. Maybe she ignores them or uses them for her own ends.

Men are celebrated for their accomplishments despite being bad/absent dads—why not women?

Wu Zetian (武則天), the Empress Regnant who took power after her husband’s death and was responsible for significant territorial expansion of the Chinese Empire, repeatedly demoted her sons, the Emperors Zhongzong (中宗) and Ruizong (睿宗), when they got too powerful.
Let’s also have more protagonist moms whose power doesn’t come from a system of patriarchal monarchy, who come to prominence not for whom they married or birthed, but for their independent accomplishments.

Let’s see more heroines whose power isn’t derived from proximity to men.
What about a heroine like Elizabeth Cady Stanton?

She raised SEVEN kids while tirelessly fighting for women’s suffrage and abolition. She was an advocate for girls’ education, and though she herself never went to college, her daughters would go on to attend Vassar and Columbia.
A partial list of some of the coolest moms of science fiction and fantasy:
- Molly Weasley (Harry Potter)
- Catelyn Stark (Song of Ice and Fire)
- Mrs. Murry (A Wrinkle in Time)
- Queen Ramonda (Black Panther)
- Tenar (Earthsea)
- Alana (Saga)
- Essun (The Broken Earth)
Consider this whole thread a #MSWL

I want stories about good moms and bad moms, dedicated moms and indifferent moms, moms who move mountains for their kids and moms who do amazing things in spite of having kids.

All these women existed—and continue to exist.

Happy #MothersDay.

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More from @Sarah_Guan

Jun 20, 2018
To all the authors promoting their newly-published books amid this humanitarian crisis:

1. It’s your job. Don’t apologize for making a living.

2. We all need to take breaks from the news and the struggle, for our mental health. Thank you for giving us a breather.
3. Words are important. See how Dear Leader is rebranding “internment camps” and “child abuse” as “tender age shelters?” You have a platform now. Use your words.

4. *If you can,* send a bit of your advance check to an org fighting family separation?…
5. Keep writing.

Give us dark books that keep us from complacency, hopeful books that show us a better future, angry books that give voice to the voiceless, and wrenching books that help us walk in each other’s shoes.

Speak truth to power. Hold up a mirror to our society.
Read 6 tweets
Apr 20, 2018
All this chatter about a vampire (and werewolf) comeback. I have thoughts...

I like my supernatural, human-but-not characters. But I’d love some new takes—not the resurrecting of classics that worked the last time around. Let’s see new perspectives get a bite at that apple.
I’m still over super pale, sometimes-sparkly, woe-is-me vampires in high school. Really—I was once a teenage girl who lamented the lack of maturity in the majority of my male peers. I *get* why it might be nice to be noticed by the hundred-year-old vampire boy in your math class.
But I was never the target demographic anyway. Why were the vampires always white enough to be translucent?
Read 16 tweets

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