But I Didn’t Mean You ~ Outside the Margins with Anna Zabo

Join Prism Book Alliance® as Anna Zabo goes Outside the Margins today.


There’s a bit of poison I’ve seen recently, though it’s been around for a long time. It’s the tendency to say “I’m not like those.”

It’s usually born from a frustration against a situation rather than people, but it ends up hurting people and strengthening the situation.

For example:

“I’m not like those women. I don’t like pink. I don’t read romance, I read science fiction and fantasy. I’m into science. I’m not brainless!”

Now, it’s probably meant to be an attack against the way society and media portray women: as shallow persons who can’t comprehend anything technical, who don’t like geeky stuff like Game of Thrones or comics and as persons who are only interested in getting husbands.

Except that it attacks other women. And lumps them into bad (so as to make the speaker better). It’s also a trap. Because women who like romance aren’t brainless. Many of us read widely. And what the hell is wrong with liking pink, anyway?

This kind of division only feeds into misogyny. That women are somehow bad for liking the things women like. Things coded as feminine are weak and inferior.

So, to be good, you have to be not-woman. Which—no. Stop it. Women are not bad. Things associated with women are not bad. (And yes, this means that vaginas are not bad, whether they’re found on men or women.)

Another example:

“I’m not like those writers who churn out books every month! I’m careful with my every word. I write meaningful stories and make sure they’re edited properly. My books are good and not trite unpolished shit.”

Generally, this is all about the pressure writers feel to produce. To have more releases. To get books out there faster.

It’s a struggle…as an author I know readers are waiting. But, due to my situation, there’s only so fast I can write.

But this type of statement points a finger at writers who can put out books fast (because maybe they write full time) and says, “your stories are crap.” It attacks other writers. And often when those other writers point that out, the response is “But, I didn’t mean you.”

The thing is, yes, you did mean them. You just didn’t realize they were them until you hurt them and they spoke up.

And perhaps that should make up rethink our rants when we get…negative feedback for them. Sometimes we’re not correct or righteous. Sometimes we’re feeding back into the very situations we want to rant about.

If you can say, “I didn’t mean you,” to someone hurt by what you’ve said (and you really didn’t mean them) then maybe you need to revisit your argument.

~Anna Zabo


About Anna Zabo

Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think. You can find her online at http://www.annazabo.com/ or more often on Twitter as @amergina.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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2 thoughts on “But I Didn’t Mean You ~ Outside the Margins with Anna Zabo

  1. Many times people don’t think about WHO’s behind the keyboard on the other end. They don’t see a who, so they don’t think about how hurtful some of the things said can be. Some people don’t think words can be hurtful, that if we don’t give them power, they can’t hurt us. I’m inclined to wonder if those people have ever been the victims of bullying. Because I have and I have also had family members say some very hurtful things – maybe they weren’t meant to be. But while children are resilient, they also can retain pain that never goes away. And when words are said over & over again, a person over time will begin to believe them. Just my rambling $.02

  2. If I’m reading a m/f romance and there’s a point made, either in the narration, or by a character, to the effect that the heroine is not like other women, I’m instantly on my guard, knowing I’m probably about to see those other women being bashed to make the heroine look good. At which point the book is flirting with becoming a DNF.

    Great post. I’m going to include it in my monthly recommended links post tomorrow. 🙂

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