i want science fiction and fantasy to engage more critically with concepts of beauty, desirability, and attraction as it pertains to dehumanized (but human) bodies. people of color, (and black people specifically), disabled people, trans women. which of our bodies are acceptable and which are not. which bodies survive into the future and which don’t. who among us are disappeared from the past, and from alternate timelines, and strange non-existent worlds?
i suppise i would just like to understand the mechanisms at play that make it so skin tinged bright green from copper based blood is considered attractive when brown skin is not?
why gigantic, pointed ears or tails or fur but not amputated limbs?
hobbits but not little people? dwarves but not someone small because of muscular dystrophy or ALS?
alien languages cool but deaf accents awkward?
why are hearing aids or cochlear implants or service animals less conceivable in scifi futures than bionic people, when it is we, the disabled, who have become masters of integrating biology and technology?
it’s been said before. but the oppressed — and i think this is especially true of black people and disabled people — live lives closest to scifi realities, even though we are consistently written out of sci fi futures.
if we interrogate our attractions, romantic or aromantic, sensual or sexual or asexual, who we want to sit next to, who we will hold hands with, who we stare at and who we avert our gaze from, it becomes clear how much institutions use concepts of beauty and desirability to uplift the humanity of some folks and to gut it out in others.
what i’m trying to say is that a lot of us have the ability to love and like and be into a lot of things, but our internalised -isms makes us accept or believe certain bodies as ugly or wrong at face value.
we generally use ugly to mean less human, and i think there’s potential for scifi to really wrestle with that and unpack it.
If men’s kindnesses toward women were really only kindnesses, a man would be pleased if another man or woman offered these kindnesses to him. He would be pleased if another man or woman lit his cigarette or pulled out his chair for him. He would be pleased to derive his income, prestige, power and even his identity from his partner. He would take pride in another man’s or woman’s offer to walk him to his car at night. But in fact, “one of the very nasty things that can happen to a man is his being treated or seen as a woman, or womanlike.
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