Join Prism Book Alliance® as Megan Derr goes Outside the Margins today.
If you can say dick and cock, you can say vagina. If you can discuss rimjobs and blowjobs, you can say vagina. If you can have entire long discussions and write/read posts about BDSM, role playing, rape fantasies, you can say vagina. If you can read gang bangs, anthro, and a thousand other very adult subjects, you can learn to say vagina and stop acting like a child about them. They’re not ‘girly bits’ or ‘female bits’. You read books about people fucking, and often those books are extremely graphic and shy away from nothing. You can say and type the word vagina (and clitoris).
I recently published a book, Wriggle & Sparkle, and one of the characters, Lynn, in genderfluid. He’s also a kraken shifter, which gives him the ability to shift between his kraken form, a half-human half-kraken form, a cis-male form, and a cis-female form. So yes, there is human/tentacle porn, m/m porn, and m/f porn (his lover is a cis-male unicorn shifter).
And predictably, in a genre full predominantly of women, I get comments like this:
HOWEVER, the one thing that worked a bit less for me is the bits with the female. I really prefer male/male, so that threw me off a bit. Not enough to close it or say it was bad, or even knock half a star over it, but it is there, and not central to the book, and it felt like a little pulled thread on smooth fabric. Nothing to panic over, but it’s there and it annoys you a tiny bit.
(And that is a Netgalley review, which I consider professional reviews, so I don’t think it’s wrong of me to quote it.)
But it seriously bothers me that this reviewer, and several others, consider the presence of a vagina, of a woman enjoying herself, a pulled thread. As in, something damaging to the whole, a blemish on an otherwise perfect canvas – an annoyance. And yet that is what the majority of the MM thinks when it comes to vaginas, to women period, even though most of this genre is comprised of women.
I also dislike the idea that anyone considers it not central to the book. Lynn is genderfluid. If you denied him that aspect of himself, told him he could only be male or female, it would have a devastating, traumatic effect on him. It would be irresponsible of me to say a character is genderfluid and then never in any way address that aspect of them. It IS a central part of the book because it’s a central part of one of the main characters.
Frankly, I’m tired of the sexism. I’ve been tired of it for a very long time, as have a lot of other women. We’re not something to be ashamed of. We’re not pulled threads. This genre is predominantly men loving men, but it’s also about queer romance, and there’s also the fact that women exist. To not have women in books would be a bit strange. For years I stuck to men only because of the hate that women receive. I didn’t want the hate mail. I didn’t want to read that people ‘hoped the bitch died’ (which I definitely read more than once). And all these kinds of comments were left by women. Do you know how depressing that is? To write a woman I love dearly, who is one of my favorite characters period, only to have people tell me they were glad she died? Do you know how frustrating it is to right about a group of women, only to have a reviews skip an entire third of my book and say that the relationship between the man and woman was platonic when it was in fact romantic and passionate, but they wouldn’t read it because of a vagina? It’s disheartening. On more than one occasion this kind of poisonous behavior has nearly driven me to quit writing altogether.
I have friends who are legitimately triggered by the presence of people with vaginas fucking however that’s an entirely different matter and obviously one I don’t take issue with. But people like the reviewer who left the above comment?
Need to grow up. It shouldn’t be okay to say women are a pulled thread. It shouldn’t be okay to constantly use vaginas and women as insults. I cannot tell you how many gay men in my life have used the phrase ‘don’t be such a vagina’. I try not to hate people for saying something mean or stupid, because most people don’t mean to hurt others (and I’ve said my share of stupid shit), but I cannot stand that phrase and hate anyone who uses it, in any capacity, and every single time it’s been a gay man. Straight men seem to prefer some variation of ‘stop acting like a girl’ or ‘don’t be such a little bitch’.
Am I saying you should feel bad and immediately start reading more books with women having sex? No, of course not. I begrudge no one their preferences. I do begrudge people being assholes about it. Saying ‘M/F isn’t my thing, so that wasn’t my favorite part’ is fine. Saying the ‘female bits’ (because god forbid we speak of women’s body without sounding like children, even though we’re perfectly capable of being adult about men’s bodies) were damaging, were wrong, were gross, etc, is out of line, and speaks to the misogyny, visible or internalized or even both, of the reader.
So the next time you decide to get derisive about the presence of women, in any capacity, ask yourself if that’s really what you think of women (in many cases, of yourself) and if you’d be willing to behave as callously to our faces as you behave online.
Title: Wriggle & Sparkle
Author: Megan Derr
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: 08/11/2016
Cover Artist: Aisha Akeju
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Lynn is a kraken shifter in every way: detailed, tenacious, resilient, and hard-working. Also possessive, vain, arrogant, and demanding. It makes him an excellent agent for the Federal Bureau of Paranormal Security and Investigation—and impossible to work with, as the long list of partners who have transferred away from him will attest.
His newest partner is a unicorn, possibly the worst type of paranormal for work that often turns ugly and violent. Everyone knows unicorns are too delicate for such things. Then Anderson proves to be a unicorn like no other, the kind of partner Lynn has always wanted—the kind of partner he wishes was more. But if there’s one thing he’s learned, it’s that the only thing harder to keep than a partner is a lover.
About Megan Derr
Megan is a long time resident of LGBTQ fiction, and keeps herself busy reading, writing, and publishing it. She is often accused of fluff and nonsense. When she’s not involved in writing, she likes to cook, harass her cats, or watch movies. She loves to hear from readers, and can be found all over the internet.
One random commenter with thoughtful, relevant comments will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2016.
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