Are we really still doing this? Are we really still shaming other writers for writing Erotica? Or for exploring erotic themes in another genre? Horror or romance? Sci-fi or Fantasy? Mainstream or Lit? For putting sex in all the genres? Really?
Yes, there is “trash” out there. Yes, a lot of it is self-published, but not all of it. Yes, bestsellers usually have an 8th grade reading level. Yes, there are writers who publish monthly in their chosen genre, and some who slave over a manuscript for ten or more years before putting it out there. Most of us fall somewhere in between.
But, considering modern culture, that we are all living through, are we really shaming other writers for including sex in their books? In the era of #metoo, Times Up, and actual consequences for sexual predators in high places? When I am following at least two writer friends who are undergoing transitions? When I know tons of writers expanding and challenging what the changing sexuality, gender roles, and relationships mean to them, personally, and in our wider society?
Writers and artists are the natural mirror to the world they live in. Unless you are deliberately turning a blind eye to it, our society is undergoing a deep transition.
You complain about the rise in sales of Romance and Erotica, but don’t wonder why it’s happening? You complain about so many writers, across every genre, now including sexual relationships in their books, and don’t make the connection? You complain about the surge of fan fiction using established characters to tell the missing stories in our culture, and you don’t realize we tell ourselves the stories we need, in whatever way feels safe? Are you kidding me?
We all know the scapegoats in this little campaign of suppression, and the memes are shared ad nauseam. Some patently false, if you had bothered to read the books in question. Don’t pretend it’s about the quality of writing, when so many other books are just as bad and they escape the vitriol heaped upon stories aimed at women.
You aren’t interested in sex? Gender roles? Relationships? That is a valid opinion! Plenty of books don’t contain any, so enjoy your reading time. Do you also hate dragons, make a point to shame other writers for using them, and then work to malign any book containing them? Of course not! Because that is your opinion, and you are adult enough to understand the world isn’t based around your opinions. (Also, because dragons are cool, and sex is, too!)
If you pay attention to the culture of writers, you know being an asshole to another writer can hurt your reputation and sales. Maybe nobody called you out, when you shamed another writer, or book, or entire genre, but we take notice. Writers notice everything.
I’m sure it was just a joke, right? I’m sure we deserved it, right? Maybe we shouldn’t be so sensitive? Right?
(Where have I heard that before?)
Don’t shame other writers.