Men, Women, & Gay Romance -OR- What Happens When J.K. is 999% Done
Okay, here’s the thing. I really didn’t want to write this post. I am loathe to comment on any argument in which I haven’t been directly confronted, especially if I don’t believe it’s possible to effect any change in attitudes, but, quite frankly, enough is bloody well enough.
I am told there is yet another kerfuffle in the m/m world about women writing in the genre. I have not seen or read any of today’s drama, and I have no idea if it’s related to the recent plagiarism scandal or not. But just the fact that about every other person on Facebook has mentioned it today leads me to believe something else, indeed, has been said. Let’s just say I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.
To the men who don’t feel like women have the ability or knowledge—or proper equipment, apparently—to write m/m, I will say this: my dears, you are welcome to not buy my books. You are welcome to not friend me on Facebook. You are welcome to ignore my entire existence, as I will do so with you after this post.
BUT, I will also say: I hope these pillars of literary perfection that you are writing take place in some alternate universe wherein there are no women, and the children that will one day grow up to be prolific, erudite paragons of the literati, such as yourselves, spring forth from the cabbage patches. Because by the same logic that you say we women cannot write gay men, you must not be able to write women. There will be no mothers in your stories. No daughters, sisters, cool best friends, bitchy ex-girlfriends, or even female coffee baristas in your stories. Don’t write about raising a girl child, even if you’ve done so in real life, because you have never been a girl child, so therefore cannot fathom it. And, by God, don’t write about pregnancy or childbirth—that would surely be beyond the pale, unless you are a successful science experiment I’ve never heard of.
And while we’re on the subject of not writing about things you have no ability to experience in real life, you probably shouldn’t write about a surgeon unless you moonlight in cutting people open. Are you a paramedic or a cop? No? Probably should leave those out too. OH! And don’t even get me started on vampires, werewolves, or one-eyed, giant-dicked crocodile shifters. Unless you’re hiding some pretty fantastical secrets. No? Interesting… So, what do you write about, when you run out of worldly life experience?
Okay, all kidding and tongue-in-cheek aside, this is what I’m trying to say. Fiction is make-believe. However close to reality it skates is entirely up to the author. However close to the line you like to read is up to you. But I’m telling you now, I’ve been told more times than I can count that I shouldn’t, can’t, won’t be allowed to, won’t get paid as much if I do such and such because I’m a woman, and that never, ever stopped me. So, man, you’re wasting your tumblr scrolling time by continually ranting about this.
Every time this issue comes up, it does make me so profoundly grateful for all of my male peers in the m/m genre who stand with me, with us as women, with any author who has the talent to spin stories that people want to read. And, even though I cherish all my readers, it makes me extremely thankful for all my male readers who never let this kind of vitriol poison them against my work, or my gender. It boils down to the fact that I will always write, and I will always try to publish as long as there’s at least one person out there interested in reading my stories. I’ll write the stories that pop into my head, and readers should read the types of books that transport them, that make their hearts beat faster. If we all do that and stop slinging mud, the world would be a better place.