Jean Rabe, editor of the SFWA Bulletin, has stepped down in the wake of tons of criticism of the organization’s official magazine, which featured regular contributors talking about “lady editors” and commenting on how hot they are.
You can read the details of the SFWA controversy here — in a nutshell, in addition to the above cover, issue #200 of SFWA’s official bulletin featured a column by longterm contributors Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg in which they wrote about “lady editors” and “lady writers” who were “beauty pageant beautiful” or a “knock out.” The next issue had an article by another male author, praising Barbie for maintaining “quiet dignity the way a woman should.” The issue after that had an article in which Resnick and Maltzberg complained about censorship because people had complained.
There have been lots of responses to this, including some people threatening to quit SFWA. President John Scalzi has apologized and affirmed that the organization welcomes all members, and values diversity. Vice President Rachel Swirsky posted a funny gender-swapped spoof talking about “laddie editors” instead of “lady editors.” Other people have written good stuff about this.
SFWA does a ton of good in advocating for the rights of writers, and helping with professional development. By now, we should understand that it’s inappropriate for an industry organization representing members’ economic interests to include this kind of rot in its official bulletin. If the National Corn Growers Association’s official publications featured comments on the hotness of “lady farmers,” you’d expect to hear a major uproar. And the fact that these articles in the SFWA bulletin did cause such an uproar shows that people take SFWA seriously as a professional organization, and expect better from it.