Erotica Writer Zane: I’m Facing Discrimination

Thanks to the multiple Bitchery readers who forwarded this over. Erotica author and editor Zane emailed a DC-area email loop the following account of how her latest book is facing an uphill battle in terms of finding places in which to advertise. Why? Because it’s Black erotica? Nope. Because it’s gay. Specifically, according to Zane’s email, lesbian erotica. Read on

Zane’s Apology for the Status of Today’s World

Purple PantiesAt first, I was going to hold my tongue about this issue; I really was. When one of the biggest National chain bookstores informed my publicist that my latest book was “too racy” for me to do signings there, I discussed it with a few people and let it go. When a book club service that has carried every last one of my other titles decided “to pass” on this one because they did not feel it fit their demographics, I let it go. But, there is always that proverbial last straw and that straw broke the camel’s back last night. I received an “Apology” email from a person who runs an online magazine. It was an apology to her subscribers because someone was offended by her promotion of my latest title. She vowed to not promote any more erotica or books that were not PG-13 rated. I emailed her back to ask if that includes street fiction or roughly 85% of the novels on the market that have some form of violence, profanity, or sexual content.

The book that I am referring to is “Purple Panties: The Eroticanoir.com Anthology.” Now there have been many Eroticanoir.com Anthologies, including “Succulent: Chocolate Flava 2” that just celebrated six weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List earlier this year. No one had a problem with that anthology or any of the ones before it. They sold them like candy, threw them in the front windows of bookstores and had huge displays, and made them the automatic shipments for book club members. From day one, with “The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth,” I have never toned down my content. It has always been what is has been. All of a sudden, there is “an issue.”

The only difference between “Purple Panties” and the nearly two dozen other titles that I have written or edited is that it is a collection of LESBIAN EROTICA. To that, I say shame on it all. It saddens me that we still live in a world that is so sexually oppressed. Now I am not saying that people need to rush out and read the book, or any of my books. I am saying, point blank, that people have a ton of sexual hang-ups that they need to get over. Everything is not for everybody but to “be offended,” to claim that a book is “too racy” for book signings but “Succulent” was not too racy a couple of months ago, nor “Dear G Spot” before that, or the book before that and so on, makes the real rationale behind it obvious. Will they feel that same way when “Honey Flava” comes out two weeks from now or “Another Time, Another Place” in early June? “Zane’s Sex Chronicles” in August? “Sensualidad: Caramel Flava 2” in August? Will they feel that same way when my next full-length novel “Total Eclipse of the Heart” comes out in November? “Head Bangers 2: An APF Sexcapade” in March? Will those books be “too racy” for book signings or to be featured?

          Do not mistake this as some sort of plea to sell books. “Purple Panties” is currently #442 on Amazon.com, just as high, or higher, in rank than any book that I have ever put out. It will sell like crazy because it is a book that was long overdue. There are millions of people in this world in same gender loving (SGL) relationships. Who has the right to judge them, or tell them what they should or should not do with their lives?

          This saddens me because I have now gotten a glimpse, just a tiny, miniscule glimpse of the discrimination that homosexual and bisexual people face in this world; especially in American society. Eleven years ago I set out on a quest to liberate and empower women”both sexually and overall. To know that we still have such a very long way to go is disappointing. I am not a lesbian but not because I have anything against it. I am just attracted to men. However, I now consider myself an “honorary lesbian” because I am pissed off at the injustices directed towards them and their gay male counterparts.

          I am not going to go on and on about this but I had to speak on it. Life goes on.

                                                                Blessings,

                                                                          Zane

P.S. Do not think that, for one second, this will deter me from my path. “Missionary No More: Purple Panties 2” is complete and will be released on schedule next January.  “Flesh to Flesh” edited by Lee A. Hayes, a collection of GAY EROTICA, will be released later this month. I am proud of that book as well. People love as they love; not as directed.

I’m curious – is there a bias against lesbian erotica? Has anyone encountered this bias in their own work in the past? I know that a few erotica publishers have mentioned in passing that f/f erotica is not among their biggest sellers – is there a lack of interest in reading female-centered sexual content, or is there a blockage getting it to the marketplace altogether? I know there are different types of discrimination faced more by lesbians than by gay men, but are booksellers reacting to a perceived lack of demand for f/f erotica and protecting their bottom line, or is there a decided aversion to anything lesbian? Your thoughts?

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  1. 1

    I unfortunately won’t put f/f in my books anymore, because having it there means the sales numbers for that title drop. It’s a noticeable difference.

    I also had a reviewer once call one of my extremely brief—barely a passing mention, really—f/f moments “nauseating”. She gave the book itself a terrible review and mentioned that was one of the reasons. (And for the record, she had every right to her opinion etc. etc. etc., I’m not saying she was wrong for it or complaining, I’m just saying since you asked. Also for the record, it was nothing more than a one-paragraph scene of vibrator use, not fisting or anything.)

  2. 2
    rebyj says:

    “someONE” was offended? What kind of business is she running that she rushes to apologize because of one or even a few complaints?

    Is there bias? Evidently so! There shouldn’t be in this day and age though.

    Look at the tv , The L Word is on Showtime (BIG FAN!), LOGO is succeeding well, the gay and lesbian community has a voice now unlike any other time in history. For this online store to take the moral high road over lesbian erotica when they had no problem selling other types of erotica is blatantly hypocritical.

    Let them go to PG13, they’ll change their minds when their sales start to go south. It’s customers should be vigilant in emailing the owner on any books that pass the PG13 criteria. If they’re going all Falwell then someone needs to monitor them and make sure they don’t sell ANYTHING offensive.

    Maybe their 13 and under audience spend more money there than one would think? lol

    I hope your book does well. Beautiful cover on it!

    (sorry for my grammatical errors, I couldn’t remember what the possessive of “IT” is. In my defense I’ve been out of school for 100 years.)

  3. 3

    I’m confused (and apparently, very naive).  Are the same people who are willing to read m/m erotica objecting to f/f erotica?  Why would one be less objectionable or more acceptable than the other?

  4. 4
    Esri Rose says:

    My impression was that people were positively blase’ about lesbian love. One of Jennie Crusie’s books had a f/f kiss, for crying out loud, though it didn’t go anywhere, and it’s gotten to be a pretty regular thing on cable TV shows of every stripe

    Also, although my local independent bookstore doesn’t have a romance section, they do have an erotica section, and it is probably 50% lesbian erotica.

    So yes, color me confused, too.

  5. 5
    Cat Marsters says:

    This topic comes up occasionally on my author loops.  Several authors I know would love to write a f/f story, but the publishers (of erotic romance) always repeat that it doesn’t sell.  It’s barely worth the author’s time, let alone the editor, cover artist, etc etc.

    Why was this, we asked last time.  When a reasonable proportion of authors wanted to write—and by extension, read—it, why not the general readership?  The thing is that m/m erotica sells really well, and to a readership that’s largely female—despite received wisdom and reader feedback suggesting women like to read books where they can put themselves in the heroine’s place.  Clearly, this can’t be the case for a m/m book.

    The only conclusion we could come to was that readers didn’t want to read about women having sex with each other, because if they enjoyed reading about it, that might men they’d enjoy doing it, and that might make them lesbians.  It’s okay to read about gay men, because there’s a distance factor, and besides, straight women are allowed to fantasise about men, whether said men are straight or gay.

    Whether that conclusion was right or not we didn’t know.  Maybe as erotica authors we just have fewer boundaries to worry about.  The bottom line was—well, the bottom line.  If readers won’t buy it, publishers won’t publish it.  Which does sort of prevent it ever becoming mainstream.

    I’ve written f/f scenes in a couple of books (although not as the main focus).  A reviewer on one book made a point of warning readers about it, as if it was a habit to turn people’s stomachs, like admiring Hitler or dissecting live puppies.  Reader feedback on the idea of a f/f book has brought up such reactions as “It makes me feel sick.”

    But you know what homophobia really says about you, right?

  6. 6
    Cat Marsters says:

    I’m confused (and apparently, very naive).  Are the same people who are willing to read m/m erotica objecting to f/f erotica?

    Yes.  Yes they are.

  7. 7
    Robini says:

    @ Darelene

    Has this company released any M/M fiction? It’s not clear from the list of titles I see, and I’m not *quite* gutsy enough to go surfing their webpage at my all-internet-traffic-is-monitored workplace ;-) The fact that they mention gay erotica that is *forthcoming* (as opposed to stuff that is already out there) makes me think that maybe the fact that it’s chick on chick is incidental, and the real issue is that it’s the author/publisher’s first same-sex release.

    Can anybody access the website and verify this?

  8. 8

    I am sad to say this doesn’t surprise me.  LGBT is shelved in its own “ghetto” in most bookstores; given that AA books are generally shelved separately as well, PURPLE PANTIES had two strikes against it.

    I’ve published quite a number of lesbian erotica stories (as Elspeth Potter), and in all but one store, those anthologies were shelved with the GLBT material or in a separate section of the erotica books.  (The exception, a college bookstore, had the erotic anthos shelved indiscriminately among the other lit anthos.)  In my experience, and I live in a large city, readings and those sorts of events take place only at GLBT or feminist bookstores, or at non-bookstore events specifically marketed as erotica readings.  I remember once, maybe ten years ago, a joint reading of BEST GAY and BEST LESBIAN EROTICA in my local Borders, and that’s it.  I’d like to know if other peoples’ experiences vary.

    Here’s hoping the extra publicity gives PURPLE PANTIES lots of sales!  I remember the call for submissions; it sounded like a good idea, and I was bummed to be on deadline and unable to submit.

  9. 9
    snarkhunter says:

    Coming at this from a fandom perspective, I can tell you that the same people who adore m/m slash fic object deeply to f/f and (often) to m/f. One of the underlying reasons is this pervasive sense that “girl parts are icky.”

    And online, fic-centered fandom is something like 90% female.

    I am not saying that’s entirely the case here, though I am sure that it’s part of it. We are not taught to love our bodies as beautiful. Society perpetuates ideas of women’s bodies as unclean, icky, whatever. (Well, not women’s bodies. That’s not true. I mean women’s *genitals*.) So there’s a certain internalized misogyny that I think we’re not even aware of.

    And then there’s the fact that if you’re a straight woman, what’s hotter than a nekkid man? TWO nekkid men! I think it’s honestly the exact same thing as straight men’s fascination with lesbians. This is much less sinister than the other explanation, but I think both are true.

  10. 10
    Termagant 2 says:

    I don’t see any more problem with f/f than with m/m.  I personally won’t buy or read either form, since it’s just not my thing. I suppose that means I have hangups. That’s fine. I don’t jam my preferences down anyone’s teeth, and I won’t allow you to jam yours down mine.

    How come, though, one person’s preferences are fine-and-dandy, and mine are hangups? Just curious.

  11. 11
    Kerry says:

    When I worked in the library in the 95% AA city, we could not keep Zane and the street lit on the shelf—it was constantly checked out/vanishing, and rather indiscriminately read. I think Zane’s right on the money when she alludes to the idea that it’s not the style but the f/f content and homophobia that it causing the fuss. And that she can write heterosexual erotica and no one would bat an eye.

  12. 12
    Erastes says:

    This doesn’t surprise me, it’s been the story (in my case for m/m) since I started to write.

    It doesn’t sell, there’s no market, no-one’s interested in it, it can’t be put into shops, RWA find it offensive, You name it, I’ve heard the excuses.

    I was hoping that things were changing, too. *makes face*

  13. 13
    BevQB says:

    There is a HUGE difference between objecting to f/f fiction and just not being interested in it. I don’t understand the former, if there no objections to m/m stories, it boggles my mind that a cry would be raised objecting to f/f stories.

    I fall squarely in the latter category- f/f just doesn’t interest me.  And no, I’m not afraid that, as has been commented on previously, I will discover I’m a lesbian. I can appreciate looking at a beautiful woman, but in much the same way that I can appreciate a beautiful horse, or a mountain, or a sunset. Therefore I cannot relate to the attraction between the characters in a f/f story because I am not attracted to either of them.

    However, since I am attracted to men, I can easily empathize with the attraction between the characters in a m/m story.  And, as Snarkhunter said, it’s two nekkid men… what’s NOT to be attracted to?

  14. 14
    Ri L. says:

    I’m a straight woman, and I have to say I find f/f boring.  I also have no idea what the fuss is over m/m.  I can’t stand slash, but I think my real gripe with it is slash fanfic, because of its forcible aspect: quite often characters who are not gay are turned gay solely for the purposes of the author’s amusement.  I take issue with that because it’s not who they are and the author is appropriating someone else’s (even a fictional someone) sexuality for their purposes.  Fic written about a gay character getting it on with a member of the opposite sex makes me feel the same way.  (I’m looking at you, Nuriko.  You’re not in love with Miaka.  You’re gay as hell.)

    But it’s anger over that appropriation of sexuality that alternately stems from and fuels my frothing at the mouth about stuff like this.  Someone else’s sexuality, simply put, is not yours, and as such you have no right to control it, limit it, or censor it in any way.  Where does this country get off, I wonder, squicking so hard about anybody’s harmless, personal sexual indulgence and expression?

  15. 15
    phadem says:

    Termagant 2, your reading preferences are not hangups at all, and if someone you know/spoke to or something you read somewhere suggests that they are so, that’s wrong. Your preferences are your own and it doesn’t suggest or insinuate a hangup at all.

    I don’t read m/m or f/f either. It’s nothing to do with disgust, not at all. It’s about disinterest; it’s not what floats my boat when it comes to reading (I do indulge in some m/f/m though). Yes, I’m probably a typical gal in that I find the idea of m/m more on the hot, kinky side, and I’ve even found some women to be extremely attractive, but the latter more in the sense of admiration, not attraction. Bottom line is, just because it’s a more controversial subject matter, if you don’t read it, it does not mean you or anyone else naturally has a “hangup” on said subject matter. Unless a person comes out and says so, it’s asinine for anyone to jump to that conclusion.

    My first reaction to Zane’s letter was one of extreme annoyance. So a few complain of being offended and once again the rush to action is to censor/discriminate in some way the purveyor of the “questionable” material? What a freaking joke! This country is just way too crazy in the sense that a few whiners complaining get more respect and acknowledgment than the general concept of having enough common sense to realize we’re not all the center of the universe and everyone is entitled to that opinion. So OK, some didn’t like the sound of Zane’s f/f story, that’s understandable because we’re all different. No big deal. Others will like it. It comes, it goes. Move on, say your piece and move on. One-sided opinions shouldn’t be the ending, deciding factor in something like this.

    But holy crap, to ban all erotic books on this online mag as a result of a few not liking f/f? That’s just astounding to me. I’m wondering what the thoughts of the magazine employee were at the time.

    Even though I don’t read f/f and probably never will (snort, NO, I’m not afraid there’s some inner lesbian just waiting to jump out. Now THAT is a joke), I hope Zane’s book does well, and from the tone of the letter, it seems it is.

  16. 16
    Robin says:

    I definitely think part of this is the phallocentrism of sexual fantasy books sold to women—even in erotica, in other words, there must be at least one “hero.” 

    BUT, I also don’t completely trust that publishers have the accurate pulse on reader desires, especially when you think that in print publishing they are trying to predict a year or two out.  Although if they’ve already got a market that’s growing and selling like crazy (I had to correct that from “swelling” lol), like m/m, I can see where they would have no interest in expending some effort to grow an f/f market, as well.  Whenever I hear “readers don’t want that,” I always translate that into “publishers are making plenty of money the way things are,” instead.

  17. 17

    We are not taught to love our bodies as beautiful. Society perpetuates ideas of women’s bodies as unclean, icky, whatever. (Well, not women’s bodies. That’s not true. I mean women’s *genitals*.) So there’s a certain internalized misogyny that I think we’re not even aware of.

    Thank you, Snarkhunter. That’s just what I was thinking. I’ve been thinking alot about how insidious misogyny is and it is issues like this that remind me how much it affects us, even when we think it doesn’t.

  18. 18
    Charlene says:

    The sad part is that there are religious groups out there who marshal volunteers to write complaining letters by the hundreds when books like this are published. Generally, none of those writing the complaining letters have even seen one of these books before; they just want to make sure this type of book is kept off the shelves, so nobody can have access to it.

    It’s common enough, and smaller booksellers and reviewers are far more likely to be influenced because they haven’t been subjected to this form of censorship before. Larger corporations like amazon and Chapters have seen it before, and generally know enough to ignore it.

  19. 19
    SonomaLass says:

    I *think* (and I’m sure I’ll hear if I’m wrong), that when some commenters refer to “hang-ups” about f/f, or suggest that fearing it (homophobia) may suggest fearing that you actually would like it (teh horrors!), they don’t mean Termagent 2, phadem or Ri L.  There’s nothing wrong with reading what you like and avoiding what doesn’t do it for you, and I don’t think anyone here means to suggest otherwise.

    Where we get into hang-ups and homophobia, IMO, is where people seem determined to enforce their reading preferences on others (which I’m not hearing from anyone in this thread, but which is exactly what Zane seems to be facing).  It’s the judgmental attitude that says a book is bad because it has f/f sex in it, while straight sex is okay.  I think when it is some kind of moral judgment that results in real or attempted censorship, a line has definitely been crossed.  Is that sad?  Hell yeah.  Surprising?  Not in the good ol’ US of A, I’m afraid—especially not in some parts of it.

    My sense, as a reader and an observer rather than a writer, is that the weird area here is in the industry, where m/m is okay but f/f isn’t.  That certainly could be homophobia, if the people making the judgments are female.  Mostly it gets presented as a market perception: “it doesn’t sell; female readers (the overwhelming demographic) don’t buy it.”  That market perception could certainly lead to a publisher, or a bookseller, avoiding f/f books and it could lead a reviewer to extend her personal distaste for f/f erotica to a “warning” in a review (“I don’t like it personally, my perception of the market is that most readers don’t like it, so I will warn them it is there”).  But avoiding publishing it or labeling it as “icky” (as a general judgment, rather than a “not to my taste, could be yours” kind of way) could also be lesbian-specific homophobia, too—humans are really good at justifying biased behavior with other motivations.

    Certainly there’s a “last frontier” feel about this—mainstream books have become more steamy, m/m has gone from taboo to hot taboo, and it isn’t hard to find bondage, slash, whatever in a lot of bookstores.  Is f/f the next big thing?  Will publishers be slow to realize that, but eventually jump on the bandwagon?  Is there no market for f/f because one hasn’t been allowed to develop?  More questions than answers.

    Me, I like a good romance regardless of the race, gender, and sometimes even species of the participants!  It’s an emotional thing, more than a sexual one, to the extent that I can separate the two.  I just tend to like longer story arcs and complicated relationships, so I don’t usually buy short fiction anthologies.  I celebrate the diversity of what entertains and excites my fellow beings, and hope that changing technology will continue to make a wider variety of books available (ebooks, self-pubs, the lot).  Then if f/f sells, the bandwagon will start up, I’m sure.  Meanwhile, I’m going to be looking for some f/f romance, preferably with strong plot elements and a relationship that really has time to develop.  Suggestions??

  20. 20

    I haven’t read any m/m or f/f, at least not in the erotic romance category, but I think I prefer f/f. 

    I wrote a historical romance with an f/f subplot and was told to cut it before submitting to editors.  The book still didn’t sell, probably for other reasons (like, historical accuracy, cringe).

    Although I really don’t understand the fascination for m/m, neither do I get why anyone would be disgusted by f/f.  Girl parts are “icky”?  Um, even our own? 

    I’m considering doing an f/f subplot in my next project, a romantic suspense.  I’d like to see if I could get away with it.  Perhaps part of the reason for the bias is just unfamiliarity.

  21. 21
    Cora Zane says:

    The only title I’ve had in my catalogue that has faced any real controversy has been Wicked Temptation, which includes a brief M/F/F and M/M scene. To me it seems relatively tame now, but right after it’s release, I received emails from some readers who called it disgusting, as well as reviews that labeled it as “disturbing”, “disappointing”, “too dark”, and even the dreaded and generic “not my cup of tea”.

    An acquaintance contacted me privately not long after the first batch of reviews for W/T, (at a time when I was really down from all the “not for me” commentary) and she told me not to take it personally, but the f/f scene really bothered her. This struck me as odd at the time, since I knew that particular reader reviews m/m romances.

    I did a little research after that, and all I can gather is that f/f is simply not as acceptable as m/m. Who knows why that is?  Quite a few men I know will watch two women together, but not two men, and that’s the kind of vibe I get when I ask about f/f. Then again, who am I to try and pick apart the psychology behind it?  If a person doesn’t read it, they don’t.

    Whatever the case, I have noticed recently a shrinking market for lesbian and femme dom material. One of my publishers is no longer accepting lesbian romance, and another company I was thinking of submitting to has placed a small tag on their website that says they are not accepting femme dom anymore. I can only guess that is in reflection of poor sales, but of course, I have no data to base that on. Whatever the case, I’ve suspended a series because I don’t know who would take the story if I finished it.

    My hat’s off Zane for fighting the good fight with this one. I’m interested to see how this one plays out.

  22. 22
    Ciar Cullen says:

    He? What’s this about society and a negative view of female genitalia? I don’t know the statistics on porn (online and otherwise) marketed mostly to males, but unless I’m missing something, they seem to do quite well. As for a phallocentric romance community, isn’t that because statistically, most women are straight? I don’t think that f/f books should be banned. I’m not homophobic, and I’m not hung up on much of anything. I’m just straight and uninterested if f/f books. I don’t want to be called repressed or whatever for that. It works both ways, folks.

  23. 23

    And then there’s the fact that if you’re a straight woman, what’s hotter than a nekkid man? TWO nekkid men! I think it’s honestly the exact same thing as straight men’s fascination with lesbians. This is much less sinister than the other explanation, but I think both are true.

    I think both are true, too, since the above would be more likely to make a woman go “Lesbians, meh” than “Eeew, lesbians, that’s just sick”.

    Me, I like a good romance regardless of the race, gender, and sometimes even species of the participants!  It’s an emotional thing, more than a sexual one, to the extent that I can separate the two.

    I’ve said elsewhere, gender means little to me, although I really do enjoy well-written f/f (or m/m, or m/f, or various permutations of them all). If I can become emotionally involved in the characters and their journey, the sex is gonna do it for me, regardless of the number of tabs or slots.

    There are f/f scenes in my first book (already out), and in the second (due to release in August), and in the third (a m/f/f tentatively slotted for October). I know finding reviewers willing to even look at them, let alone give them a chance, is going to be an uphill battle, even though two of those three novels are het romances at heart.

    And I just find the attitude surprising, considering the popularity of shows like the L-word. I can understand not reading it because it doesn’t float your boat, but to be an avid consumer of m/m and then turn around and be offended by f/f is so hypocritical I can’t even find the appropriate word for it.

    I hope Robin is right and there’s an untapped market out there ready to take off, because the few times I have gone looking specifically for f/f or even m/f/f erotic romance (rather than erotica) there has been a dearth of it. You end up wading through a morass of m/m to find one or two titles that may or may not be of decent quality. If authors won’t write what they would love to write for fear of reviewers flaying them, or readers shunning and denigrating them, I find that sad. As in December’s case, it’s one thing to not like a book, and to say so. To warn others away from it because of content that may not even offend them is something else again.

  24. 24
    MMACali says:

    One of the underlying reasons is this pervasive sense that “girl parts are icky.”

    And online, fic-centered fandom is something like 90% female.

    Wow, that’s just depressing. Now, I’m not sexually attracted to girl parts, but it makes me sad to think that that many women find parts of themselves “icky”.

  25. 25

    I’m just straight and uninterested if f/f books. I don’t want to be called repressed or whatever for that. It works both ways, folks.

    Pretty sure no one would call you repressed, Ciar! What people are saying is homophobia can be gender-specific. No one’s criticizing anoyone for not being interested in f/f. Just for the attitude that “m/m=fine, hot, yay!, but f/f=nasty and gross, offends me, no one should be writing it, f/f content automatically=bad book”.

  26. 26
    Snow says:

    I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that society is much less likely to accept or appreciate female sexuality in general – unless there’s a man involved somewhere.

  27. 27
    snarkhunter says:

    What’s this about society and a negative view of female genitalia? I don’t know the statistics on porn (online and otherwise) marketed mostly to males, but unless I’m missing something, they seem to do quite well

    (Quick disclaimer: have never seen porn. My only glimpse was a few minutes of a lesbian porn accidentally seen in a hotel room when I was 12.) My guess is that a lot of “mainstream” porn is sanitized in certain ways, but I think porn is a slightly different animal than what we’re talking about here. It’s already taboo and is *meant* to be a little shocking or whatever.

    “Girl parts are icky” is an attitude that is promoted by feminine “deoderants” (the ones designed for the nether regions, rather than the armpits), by the recent influx in baby-wipe style “cleansing cloths” marketed at women, and by the emphasis on “cleanliness” that one can see in some men’s discourses. (I remember reading an article about the prevalance of an insistence on “clean” women in online dating ads.) Waxing is promoted as the only way to go (pubic hair? HORRORS. < —shades of Ruskin, there). And “vagina” is a dirty word, while “penis” can be said on prime time.

    So, yeah. I think women’s genitalia ARE marginalized, and, again, I know for a fact, having actually seen people say this, that in the fic communities, many slash fans are literally *disgusted* by women’s genitals…even though they themselves are women. Men don’t seem to have this same reaction. (Though I can think of this one fic, by a man, featuring a m/m/f (or m/f/m, depending on the characters’ moods!), where the female character always wiped herself with a little disposable cloth, and there was all this discussion of her “taste” and how she did it for health reasons. Never mind that those things actually increase the chance of infection.

  28. 28
    KG says:

    Look, even on the online erotic epubs are starting to turned down f/f romances. They don’t sell very well. But as to why it is being rejected so soundly AFTER it’s been published, I’m not quite sure. Very strange indeed.

    snarkhunter, I’ve heard both ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ used on tv, so I don’t know what shows you’re watching….i would actually say men’s genitalia in movies is the thing that is ‘taboo.’ Some how if the penis is erect, you get slapped with an X rating. But bare breasts can be shown all over the place. There is rarely a film with any kind full frontal male nudity…it does exist, but naked women by far outnumber the naked men.

  29. 29
    Cotton says:

    I would have been able to take the whole thing more seriously if they hadn’t taken the opportunity to mention every book they’re going to release in the near future.

  30. 30

    I also had a reviewer once call one of my extremely brief—barely a passing mention, really—f/f moments “nauseating”. She gave the book itself a terrible review and mentioned that was one of the reasons.

    The more I think about this, the more it bugs me. If I reviewed books, I would avoid reviewing, asy, BDSM romances because they usually don’t appeal to me and I personally find some of the stuff in them objectionable. As I know others do not feel that way, I would leave the reviewing of those types of books to them. Likewise, I would not hesitate to rec a book that was good, even if one or two scenes hit me in some personal soft spot. I might mention in a review that “This scene is not my type of thing, but it was competently written, and those who enjoy it would enjoy this book because of it”.

    To pan a book because of one paragraph of f/f just makes me think this person should not be reviewing books at all.

    Not to mention, how could a woman (granted, not any of the women here, from the comments) find women’s genitals icky, but think a man’s (or anyone’s) butthole is clean? Shaking my head.

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