Sometimes, it’s in the form of inappropriate comments.
An author wrote, “An editor who was considering my work commented very thoroughly on my body type as a possible personal advantage of working with me.” For her now, “it makes submissions feel like a minefield.”
For an author/illustrator, it was at a book party with a famous illustrator; “I introduce myself to him,” she writes, “and he makes a crack about my breasts.” After enough incidents like these she’s “completely stopped socializing in this business because each time it becomes another abuse story.”
Sometimes the comments are more pointed, like for the publicist who says her supervisor told her he had a crush on her and if he wasn’t married and twice her age he would ask her out. Or a writer’s conference attendee who says that a faculty member asked her if she was “kinky” at the opening mixer. Or the aspiring illustrator who won a mentorship contest, and at the end of her meeting with the mentor she said she had to go get a drink of water because she was hot. According to her, “he said ‘Yes, you are.’ And squeezed my arm. And raised his eyebrows in a suggestive way.”
These are the sort of events we’re told to brush off — they’re jokes, they’re flattering, no big deal. But when you believe you are a professional and someone informs you they see you as a sex object, it can shatter your sense of self and your sense of safety.
. . . .
And sometimes, the stories reveal serial predators unchecked by an industry that does not want to acknowledge such things could be possible of its men.
We work in children’s books, and we like to think we are different, somehow. We value “kindness.” The ranks of publishers are populated with women. And everyone is so nice, right?
But we aren’t different, and before we can do anything about sexual harassment, we need to face that reality. And the reality is that a culture of “kindness” can silence people who have been harassed, that women can be complicit in a culture of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, and that the people who we work alongside, whose books we care about, who we like, can be sexual harassers.
. . . .
“Kidlit is filled with women,” writes another editor, “but a lot of the senior staff are still men…How many women have left the industry because of hostile work environments who could be running things today? We shouldn’t have to suffer to earn respect.”
Link to the rest at Medium
PG says this is one more reason to indie publish. You avoid all the perverts that infest traditional publishing.
He should have started counting the reasons to indie publish a long time ago, then he would have a specific number to quote. Something in the zillions.