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Jane C. Hines

In an alternate universe back in 1974, a girl named Jane C. Hines was born. Her family moved to Michigan when she was four years old. She grew up with a little brother, had a three-legged black lab named Silver (after Long John Silver), and wanted to be a teacher, a veterinarian, a psychologist, and ultimately an author.

Her first fantasy novel, Goblin Quest, came out in 2006 from DAW. She sold two more goblin books, then published a series about three kick-ass fairy tale princesses. She’s currently writing the third draft of a modern fantasy book called Libriomancer. She also maintains a moderately popular blog.

But while she and I have had parallel careers, the results haven’t matched up exactly.

  • Jane’s sales haven’t been as good as mine. The books were the same, but hers weren’t reviewed quite as widely, and there are some people who simply won’t read female authors.
  • As a blogger, I’ve been accused of being an asshole, a pretentious asshat, told to die in a fire and so on. It’s not common, but it happens. Jane, on the other hand, recently started up a “Bitchometer” feature which tracks how many times people call her a bitch. It’s currently in the triple digits.
  • A few years back, I had a fan squee and ambush-hug me at a convention, which was … disconcerting. That’s only happened to me once. Jane can’t recall the last con she attended where at least one person didn’t touch, grab, or grope her without permission.
  • Remember last year when Jane and I wrote about obesity? We both included a photo of ourselves to illustrate what “overweight” looks like (I was topless; Jane wore a bikini top and jeans). I received hundreds of comments praising me for that post. Jane received a lot of positive comments as well, but she also received e-mails calling her a fat cow, and to this day gets follow-ups from that post demanding that she “Show us your tits!”
  • I receive significantly more comments and linkbacks to my posts about rape than Jane, despite the fact that we’re writing the same words. Jane does, however, receive e-mails and anonymous trolls telling her she needs to get laid, or threatening to “Do to her what a ‘real man’ should have done a long time ago.”
  • Like me, Jane works a full-time job because she needs the benefits and a steady salary for herself and her family. But where I’m occasionally told what a great father I must be, Jane is criticized for being a neglectful mother and not spending enough time with her husband and children.
  • Both my authorly name and my legal name are Hines. Jane began writing as Jane C. Hines, and got married after beginning to build a reputation with that name. To this day, she questions if she made the right choice about whether or not to change her name.
  • No one has threatened me, my family, or my pets. I have never received death threats. Jane has not been so fortunate.
  • When I post this, I expect the comments will be generally positive, with some argument and discussion. Jane expects to be told, “Shouldn’t this all boil down to quality? Isn’t this really about YOUR books not getting enough attention?”

Both Jane and I intend to continue writing and blogging. We plan to finish Libriomancer, and to blog about everything from fandom to sexual harassment to poverty to kick-ass books, and maybe even to post a few more stick figure comics.

But Jane is stronger than I am. She’s braver than I am. Because for more than ten years now, she’s faced far more negativity and ugliness when she writes, and she hasn’t let that stop her.

This post was informed in part by statements and posts from Shauna James AhernSeanan McGuire, Laura Anne Gilman, John Scalzi, and Juliet E. McKenna.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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( 178 comments — Leave a comment )
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sartorias
Sep. 6th, 2011 01:58 pm (UTC)
:le sigh:

yeah, about that.

:le sigh:

Though actually, it heartens me to see men like you and others aware of this situation, whereas when I was younger, not so much.
jimhines
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:04 pm (UTC)
"Le sigh" sums it up rather well, I think...
jjschwabach
Sep. 6th, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, very well spoken. Because I've always noticed the problems Jane runs into, long before she became a not-so-famous writer. It was also difficult for her to become a doctor, and a high school principle, and a judge...

A local-- to me -- woman in the Air Force was at an air show when she was home-ish. A visitor asked her about the helicopter she standing by. "Who flies this?"
"Me," she said. And asked if he wanted to know anything specific about the helicopter.
"I meant, the ones that are over *there*," he said.
"This one was. I flew it in (location deleted, though I suspect she did tell him)."
He shook his head. "I mean into the *combat* zone."
By this point, his wife was tugging his arm, trying to signal that he was really putting his foot in his mouth.
"I flew it into combat," she said. She then had to explain to him that she wasn't delivering it to anyone, she wasn't a nurse or a specialist of something, she was a *combat* helicopter pilot.

I'm anti anyone fighting, but this was a story that I just couldn't remove from what's left of my brain...
jimhines
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:21 pm (UTC)
::Headdesk::

What gets me about this story is that the wife knew. She knew, she understood, and she tried to clue the man in. Whereas so many guys just don't see it.

I don't think it's deliberate sexism in many cases, but that doesn't mean it's not hurtful and harmful. It just means they have to look, dammit.
(no subject) - jjschwabach - Sep. 6th, 2011 02:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - melissajm - Sep. 6th, 2011 11:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - mtlawson - Sep. 6th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
serialbabbler
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:06 pm (UTC)
I recently had somebody tell me that I sounded like one of those feminists who think all sex is rape after I said that it would be logically consist to say that "Most women don't lie about rape even if most rape reports are false because most women don't make rape reports."*

I suspect this was because I was commenting under my real name and face. Heh.

*I don't think most rape reports are false. I was just trying to explain that "women" is inclusive of "women who make rape reports" but is not limited by it.
jimhines
Sep. 6th, 2011 03:13 pm (UTC)
Ugh. Yeah, the arguments and accusations re: false rape reports are a whole other barrel of sexism and headdesk.
(no subject) - serialbabbler - Sep. 6th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kalimac - Sep. 11th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
jimvanpelt
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:06 pm (UTC)
Well said.
dargai
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC)
Coming out of lurkerdom to say that while I do really enjoy your books, I read your blog just for your stance on social issues.

You know, I'm aware all the things that you referenced but I guess I hadn't really thought it through. It's not so long ago that 'serious' female authors wrote under assumed male names. Even Rowling was asked to use initials instead of her first name to avoid being stereotyped.
So thanks for making me think.
jimhines
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I think part of the problem is that these aren't things that get talked about enough, and when they do get talked about, guys in particular tend to dismiss the problems, or to condescendingly explain why it's not that big a deal, or whatever...
(no subject) - dargai - Sep. 6th, 2011 02:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - theguindo - Sep. 6th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jennygadget - Sep. 6th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snapes_angel - Sep. 6th, 2011 05:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
birdhousefrog
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:17 pm (UTC)
You made me cry, Jim. This was excruciating for me to read. I suspect that's because I'm so used to no one listening, to being dismissed, that I half-believe it's all a fiction because I've been told it is over and over.

Oz
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - deborahblakehps - Sep. 6th, 2011 06:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
seanan_mcguire
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
I wonder if Sean McGuire has an easier time of it. Bastard. I'm going to go over to his dimension and demand royalties. (Also, I bet he never gets called a crazy cat lady.)
jimhines
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC)
Are you kidding? The dude collects machetes, has a thing for chainsaw violence, and knows how to kill you with approximately 1,502,308 different viruses. Nobody messes with Sean. It's not safe to pick on him the way it would be if her were a girl, you know?

Also, I approve of the royalty-split plan!
(no subject) - seanan_mcguire - Sep. 6th, 2011 03:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zornhau - Sep. 6th, 2011 03:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Sep. 6th, 2011 03:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nyxalinth - Sep. 6th, 2011 02:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elialshadowpine - Sep. 6th, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beccastareyes - Sep. 6th, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - firynze - Sep. 6th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - branna - Sep. 7th, 2011 12:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - branna - Sep. 7th, 2011 12:46 am (UTC) - Expand
nathreee
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC)
If I ever find out how much easier my male counterpart would have had life, I think I'd get very frustrated and angry.

Thanks for writing this.
jimhines
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:48 pm (UTC)
Frustration and anger seem like perfectly reasonable and appropriate reactions to this stuff.
(no subject) - julieandrews - Sep. 8th, 2011 12:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nathreee - Sep. 8th, 2011 06:20 am (UTC) - Expand
nyxalinth
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:35 pm (UTC)
My real name is Sheila, so Seamus would never be accused of writing author insertion wish fulfillment when making serious attempts of moving out of writing fanfiction and into writing fantasy romance for publishers like Ellora's Cave, though his characters are based on his own life experiences. That isn't author insertion. For him, it's 'writing what you know'!
jimhines
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
But if a woman writes about a strong, competent female character, then it *must* be a Mary Sue, right?
(no subject) - nyxalinth - Sep. 6th, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snapes_angel - Sep. 6th, 2011 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - la_marquise_de_ - Sep. 6th, 2011 05:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
marthawells
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:37 pm (UTC)
It's heartening to see this.
jess_ka
Sep. 6th, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC)
What Martha said.
dracothelizard
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
All worryingly true on some level, although I also suspect the reason you get more linkbacks on rape blogs is because it's sadly still unusual to have a man say sensible things about rape at all, so it gets a bit more attention if only for that novelty factor.
jimhines
Sep. 6th, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC)
My guess is that there are multiple reasons. The scarcity of men speaking out about rape is certainly a factor too. But the fact that many people will listen to a man when a woman saying the same thing gets dismissed is also valid...
(no subject) - dracothelizard - Sep. 6th, 2011 03:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - barbarienne - Sep. 6th, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
starrcat
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:53 pm (UTC)
Incredible post - thanks for doing it!
6_penny
Sep. 6th, 2011 02:56 pm (UTC)
Death threats. I read the link. Appalling.
elialshadowpine
Sep. 6th, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
And while this isn't talked about much it IS something that many women are aware of. My husband sent me the link to seanan_mcguire's post and was appalled. And my response was, "... that's exactly what every halfway public female figure deals with on the internet."

Which is not meant to downplay any of what's happened. It's horrifying, and it should never happen. But it's something that women deal with on a daily basis (it's why I set my LJ to friends only) and it's hard to remember sometimes that, no, not everyone knows that this is how it is.

Edited at 2011-09-06 03:01 pm (UTC)
shashalnikya
Sep. 6th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
As someone who's lived in both genders (hi!) I can tell you how true this is. There's always a little extra something that commenters reserve for women.

One of the things I do besides fiction writing is political writing, which I've done for many years. I find I'm taken a bit less seriously now as a woman than I was before... and if people find out about the trans stuff, things can go downhill very, very quickly.
starcat_jewel
Sep. 6th, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC)
And then there's Ben Barres, a FtM in the physical sciences. Actual quote: "Ben's work is much better than his sister's." *eyeroll*
(no subject) - firynze - Sep. 6th, 2011 08:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
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