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"Pornography by any other name…"

8 Feb 2008

I received the February 2008 RWR in the mail today. I skimmed the “Letters to the Editor” on pages 4 and 5 while taking the elevator up to my floor, and by the time I was through my front door, my blood pressure had risen to a dangerous level. Dear Author recently discussed foot-in-mouth disease striking the fantasy sector, but the problem is not contained to author(s) in that genre.

I’d paraphrase Linda Swift Reeder’s opinions and assumptions, but posting her own words will be much more effective:

I am not a prude. I enjoy writing and reading sensuous love stories and approve the use of strong language when appropriate. But I am deeply concerned by the image RWA is now projecting. Webster’s defines romance as “a type of novel in which the emphasis is on love.” Does this mean hot, spicy, carnal,erotica which most publishers’ guidelines now demand? (Pornography by any other name…) The publishing industry cannot be expected to discourage books that generate big bucks! But are we, as American women, willing to prostitute our integrity and good taste in order to be published?

…Giving heroines the language and behavior of sluts is degrading rather than empowering.

[Emphasis mine]

Man, I was just insulted as a writer and called a slut as a woman.

Does Ms. Swift assume all authors who write explicit romances are just doing it for the money? And not, perhaps, because they actually enjoy writing these types of stories? And don’t blame the publishers. I don’t run a publishing house, but I would think the people in charge wouldn’t ask for a certain type of book unless readers, including American women, are demanding them.

Personally, I only write what I enjoy reading, but I’m Canadian so maybe I simply don’t have the integrity and good taste of American women.

But I guess I shouldn’t be really surprised by the words of someone who probably believes premarital sex constitutes pornography.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. azteclady permalink
    10 Feb 2008 6:39 PM

    (apologies–I posted this by mistake in the comment thread of another post)

    Or perhaps some characters need their stories told this particular way because, hey! some women who are perfectly decent human beings, professional, good mothers, good friends, etc. DO swear, DO enjoy sex, have kinks, or whatever the hell?

    And last I heard, women are the overwhelming market for romance of all stripes, so it’d seem to me (Mexican, so *obviously* inherently inferior in all ways to American women), that she just insulted a whole bunch of the market… huh

    Ain’t that the epitome of stooooooopid?

  2. 12 Feb 2008 9:26 PM

    Ain’t that the epitome of stooooooopid?

    I might’ve used 1 or 2 less o‘s. 🙂

  3. 13 Feb 2008 6:46 PM

    There is a kind of person (for shorthand I’ll call them stupid) who can’t distinguish between erotica, nudity and pornography. Closely allied with people who don’t get much, if any, and hate the idea of other people actually enjoying their sex lives. Pay them no mind!

    To me, the real obscenity is, for example, military contractors water boarding Iraqi civilians for their own entertainment. What’s a few orgasms compared to that?

  4. 13 Feb 2008 11:05 PM

    Nicholas, I love your perspective.

  5. bitchenvy permalink
    2 Mar 2008 12:38 PM

    What she said was painful and horrible – but I honestly believe she’s just jealous and bitter because she can’t get published.

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