This weekend I attended a party for the first time in months. I hardly knew anyone there, and no one talked to me except one guy who walked up, exposed his abs, and asked me about their sex appeal. My response of “all bodies are good bodies” did not deter him, and I ended up leaving early. A while ago, you said that you hoped things would be different by now (see Quintin’s last blog post). We’ve come a long way thanks to awesome ladies like you, but I feel I still struggle against sexism on the daily. Does that disappoint you? Or, since you’ve lived the years in-between, seen the challenges women have faced, do you know why we seem stuck? It’s an uphill battle, of course, that will not be easily won.
I have many other questions for you, about everything from your favorite color, to why you left genetics, to what you think about Doctor Who, to your favorite breakfast food, to your childhood in the Netherlands. My research through your letters and books and Internet comments has led me to believe all your answers would be witty and eccentric. I can save those for later, but I’d love it if you answered just this one: what are you reading right now? I’m always looking for suggestions.
Watching you learn and grow through your letters has been fascinating, as I’m in a similar period of growth and tumult. It’s partially comforting, to know most people experience something like this. It’s also eerie, to read over your words regarding isolation from my empty studio apartment, experiencing the joys of introversion, tainted by the sting of unexpected loneliness, that I imagine you may have felt.
Like a bridge across time, your words to Joanna Russ have connected me to a person I have never met – Vonda of 1972. While I regret not getting the chance to meet her, I can’t imagine how freaking cool Vonda N. McIntyre of 2013 will be. Thank you for everything you’ve done for sci-fi, for women, and for this class.