Saturday, March 3, 2007

Play Nice With Those Who Talk Dirty

It's very easy for people to throw around words like "slut" "whore" or "pervert" when they come across someone whose job they feel is beneath them. Obviously, writing about sex on a regular basis means they've been around the block. Blogging about sex or sex related topics means they invite this kind of abuse. Laughing it off or ignoring it means they "like" being called these things, right? Hardly. Just because pornography makes it seem sexually gratifying to call a person out of their name during the act doesn't mean everyone connected to the industry responds with the same fake (mental) orgasms by being told their worth isn't the same as the next person.

Over the past couple of years, I've been called a slut, a pervert, a sex fiend, told I'm "probably" a nymphomaniac or a tramp, invited to watch lewd acts online and in person, told I'm too lazy to get a "real" job and I'm stupid to deny any of these things because all I do is peddle smut.

(I did not tell these people - or remind those that already knew - that I have a college education, have held down several "real" jobs, of which being a paid writer is one, and that I write stories involving romance, comedy, drama, and spirituality as well as non-fiction pieces that have been in national publications. This peddler is no one-trick pony.)

I can almost laugh about some of this now. After all, the average IQ of the people who told me these things should be close to my shoe size. But intelligence isn't in question, sensitivity is. In the real world, I assume most people would not go up to someone whose job they disliked and personally degrade them for a lack of morals, intelligence or boundaries. Likewise, I think it's safe to assume you wouldn't tell someone you enjoyed their cooking in a restaurant or their article in the local paper by offering to display your wares on their computer screen or inviting them to your house for a private show. So, why is this commonplace among erotica writers and even moreso among others in the adult industry?

Why is it okay to assume that people who write about different aspects of human sexuality are acceptable targets for abuse and harassment?

My wish is this: I want people who watch pornography, look at adult-oriented photos and sites, or read erotica to think about what they are saying if they choose to correspond with the person providing that content.

Using sexuality as a way of expressing yourself does not make you any less of a person, does not make your occupation any less worthy of respect and does not mean you are inviting the kind of negative attention that seems to come with the job. In spite of the abuse thrown at them and the unnecessary stigmas attached to thier occupations, I have found the people I have met in the industry to be intelligent, funny, well-rounded human beings. Their only wish is to be treated as such.

The way people are treated is one of my pet peeves. Whatever consenting adults want to do in the privacy of their homes is their business. Personally, if they'd like to do it after reading one of my stories, I'm not going to complain. I just don't believe that those who seek out that type of material (or come across it by accident) should feel the right to treat their neighborhood provider like a pariah or a receptacle for the nastiest thoughts they can produce.

While I appreciate that you enjoyed my story, I would like you to remember a few things:

1. I'm a writer like any other. That means you don't get to go to Grisham for legal advice, you don't get to ask Mr. King the best way to dispose of a body and you don't get to ask me (not that I'm comparable with those two) if you can put/squirt/squeeze your anything anywhere near/in/on top of anything of mine.

2. Reading my stories does not give us a personal relationship. I like hearing from fans, but only those that are mature enough to treat me like a person.

3. If you simply must express your deepest (by that I mean dirtiest/most offensive) thoughts, there are plenty of sites (some of them with webcams!) that welcome them.

4. Most of the people involved in different aspects of the adult industry are no different from the average person on the street, except, of course, their jobs are a lot more fun.

Platonic handshake anyone?

1 comment:

Morag said...

Well said. Lack of respect for writers of erotica drives me mad. We are still human beings.