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Friday, June 14, 2013

Slut Shaming in the Publishing Industry

Slut shaming (def.) - "the act of making a woman feel guilty or inferior for engaging in certain sexual behaviors that deviate from traditional or orthodox gender expectations, dressing in sexually provocative ways, for requiring access to birth control, or even for being raped or sexually assaulted"

There's a new tactic among traditionally published authors aimed at indie writers. It's the equivalent of slut shaming, and it's appearing with disturbing regularity in articles online. The disturbing part is how TP authors are even using sexually loaded language to describe indie behaviors they deem unacceptable.

The purpose within the publishing industry is the same within the social-sexual context--to make indie writers feel inferior for *gasp* daring to take control of their careers.

In all fairness, both of these articles appeared in The Guardian, a UK online newspaper known for its, um, provocative stance on subjects. Normally, I would take The Guardian with the proverbial pound of salt. However, in each woman's case, this is a direct quote, not an editorial insertion into the article.

In the first article, Chrissie Manby refers to herself "as a self-publishing virgin." In the second, NYT Bestselling author Audrey Niffenegger was quoted as saying "what I was doing was preserving my ebook virginity" in reference to releasing The Time Traveler's Wife through her agent's publishing company.

What bothers me is the "virginity" concept both women seem to embrace in regards to e-books.  It's both laughable and highly disturbing. Apparently to these authors, a female writer's worth is only measured in the value her e-book brings to male editors and publishers.

That concept totally destroys the self-sufficiency which is at the heart of indie publishing. That I and every other indie writer can manage our freelancers and produce a worthwhile product is something that should be shamed appalls me.

Frankly, it goes back to one of the reasons I left a national writing organization recently. I WILL NOT be patted on the head and told not worry about that silly, messy business that I CANNOT POSSIBLY understand. For the love of Murphy, I ran my own law firm. I think I can handle hiring editors, formatters and cover artists as necessary to keep my publishing business going.

And guess what, Chrissie and Audrey? Angry Sheep Publishing was in the black within eighteen months of its existence.

You ladies have every right to choose the path you wish for your career.

But you're not going to shame me into giving up my power just because you did.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, good grief. :/ You know, it's always been stupid that sex is the only area of skillful endeavor where inexperience and ignorance is prized. But it's even more stupid that they're spreading the whole "virginity" stupidity to other areas of skillful endeavor. [headdesk]

    Hey, they can keep their virginity as long as they want. Me, I'm popping various cherries as fast as I can, and good riddance to each area of ignorance.

    Angie

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