A couple of weeks ago, I read a particularly long run of submissions with particularly unfortunate anti-woman aspects. All sorts of unpleasant things were done and said to the female characters. It upset me quite a bit; I wrote a longish rant about it, but never quite got that into postable shape. (Partly because I realized that I was lumping too many different things together under the "anti-woman" label. But still, I sure am sick of stories about nice men who kill their wives, and stories about nice men who are forced against their will to rape women, and so on.)
Anyway, it occurred to me that we could save ourselves and the authors some time by having content-related checkboxes as part of the submission form.
We would, of course, never actually do this. But I got a certain amount of grim satisfaction from writing up this example, so I figured I'd post it here for humor value. (Wrote this a couple weeks ago, kept waffling about when/whether to post it.)
I mean, y'know, it's funny as long as I don't think too hard about it. If I do, then the idea that such a form could be useful, even as a joke, makes me kinda sad and disappointed and angry.
Here's the example question:
Does your story contain only one prominent female character? If so, please check the reasons that you included that character and made her female:
If you checked "Other," then please continue with your submission. If you checked any of the other boxes, then please go submit your story somewhere else, 'cause we don't want it.
Alternatively, if you checked boxes besides "Other" but you feel that you must submit your story to us, then go read Karen Healey's excellent suggestions on How to Write an Original Female Lead Character (among other good sources of such ideas), and then rewrite your story before submitting it to us.
(Healey was writing about comics in particular, but most of what she wrote applies equally well to other media.)