This past week I ran across something that really bugged me. First I was really pissed off and it has basically eaten way at me for most of the week. This was a small portion of why I was staying of FB this week, but only a small amount. I really have been trying to focus on finishing My Hero: The Olympian.
Writing update: I’m happy to say, I’ve had a very productive week writing, but these guys keep going and going and going… The original My Hero was around 57k whereas The Olympian is now over 110k and still going.
Back to my previous thought…
A fellow author, a male author sent me a message. He was… very emotional. He was mad, then sad, then upset and on and on. He sent me a link to a review he’d received to ask my opinion and basically wanting me to empathize with him. This author, who is fairly new and has a fantastic future ahead of him, hasn’t gotten to the point yet where he can let not so good reviews roll off his back. That takes time, but it none the less hurts when you see someone attack you or worse, your baby. That’s what an author’s book is really: a baby, a labor of love.
So I read the review. In actuality, it wasn’t that bad. I’ve had a lot worse, but I understood what he was saying. There were a few phrases that really stuck in my craw as well. It then struck me… I’d had a very similar review some time ago. Could it be the same person? I went and checked and no, it wasn’t. But what struck me was how similar one particular phrase was.
Before I go any further into that review, I have to say, I’ve been pretty lucky. I tend to get really honest, nonjudgmental reviews. But like most authors, there are going to be the real stink bombs that will rattle your cage and throw you off your game. Thankfully, those have been few and far between. Of course, I was surprised I didn’t get more pushback from ‘Going Home’. I really expected it to be a lot worse than it was.
I have been called a racist, a sick and twisted pervert, a no talent hack, oh… and ‘a man’. THAT’s the one that got to me and that is basically the thing that got my young friend. Yep, we were basically referred to as men in a derogatory way.
“I can tell this was written by a man because…”I’ll let you fill in the blank. In my friends review, it was for one reason, but in the review I received it was for another reason, but in each case, the sentence started the same. In each review there were a few other small comments, but basically they were both aimed at our gender…negatively.
I’m going to flip this around a bit… If I were to write a review about a female author in the M/M genre, and I had started a sentence like that, I would have been shredded publically. “I can tell this was written by a woman because ___.” Oh yeah, the women who read and/or write gay male romance would have come after me with pitch forks and torches. Tell me I’m wrong.
Here we go… I’m going to jump on the up escalator to my soap box. Yeah, I’m going to rant for a moment here…
A year or so ago I had a reader leave a review of one of my books on Goodreads (yeah, I know…) saying that the sex was unrealistic and most probably not possible. Really? Since when does a thirty-something mother from the Midwest, US have the experience I’ve had as a gay man? Let me tell you now, there isn’t a sex scene in any of my books that I’ve not done! Trust me on this one. To this woman I say: I would be willing to bet that I’ve had more dick than you’d have in ten of your lifetimes. Yeah, I was a big ol’ slut in my youth, so give me a little credit here, I think I know what I’m talking about when it comes to men having sex together.
When I hear a female tell me that she is really a gay man trapped in a woman’s body, it just kills me. Thank you kindly for your support, but no, you do not know what it is like to be a gay man. Sorry, it just isn’t going to happen. That’s like me saying I know exactly what it is like to have menstrual cramps or to give birth. There are just some things you can empathize or sympathize with, but unless you’ve been there, you cannot know. Those shoes will never fit, so quite trying to walk in ‘em.
I equate this to being bullied. That is what it feels like to me. Whenever I see one of those little cartoon posts that denigrate men, it’s a slap in the face. When I see some of these reviews, “I can tell this was written by a man…” it’s like taking a punch to the gut. “You’re just a man, what would you know?” That is one that makes my eyes cross. It reminds me of years ago of a teacher saying, “She’s a girl, she can’t do math or science.” Really?
Here’s a little story for you…and yes it is very true…
A gym opened up here in the small little city where I now reside. I decided to take a tour and see what it was like. During this tour we got to a place where there were frosted glass doors with a sign saying “Women’s Gym”. I asked the young guide where the men’s gym area was. “Oh, we don’t have one. This is for women only because some feel self-conscious about working out in front of others. My reply? “And some men don’t?” Of course I didn’t get a response, nor did I expect one. Discrimination? Sure it is. Is it okay? Sure it is. I totally understand the reasons and don’t have a problem with it. I pointed it out to let this young lady to let her know that it was just that: discrimination.
Just like women, gay men also like to have a place to call their own. Some gay men want a place where they can go and not be scrutinized, to be themselves without judgment. So ladies, when there is a gay bar or gay establishment that doesn’t allow women, please remember my little story here. Believe it or not, there are some men who would like to be in an all-male environment. Nothing against women, it’s just that they would like to behave like men and not have to censor themselves for a mixed crowd.
I will say again that I enjoy the company of women and especially a lot of the readers and writers in the M/M genre, and this is by no means a generalization of all women. But damn, there are a few who make me and other male authors, cringe, bang our heads against walls and downright weep. We are really tired of getting bashed over the head and made to take it while not being allowed say anything just because we have a cock and balls! It is hard enough being a gay man without this kind of shit.
Okay, I’m moving on… with more coffee…
I was made aware that there was another blow up over another author writing under a male pen name. There was this big hoopla about the possibility of John Lanyon actually being a woman. Do I care? Nope. I’ve read a lot of John Lanyon’s books and have enjoyed them. Will I again? You bet. My thought is if I enjoy the book, then what do I care if the author was male of female?
Again, I will say, I have never said a woman can’t write in this genre. Nope, never happened. There are some that do it better than others, but then I’ve read some women who do it better than men. Pass it along please. There are still some out there who, for whatever reason, think I have said this in the past when I have not!
Now that I’ve said that, I do wish some women writers who so write under a male pen name, for whatever reason, would just come clean, or out of the closet, so to speak. I don’t think anyone really cares who is writing gay male romance anymore. It is the deception that I think most people object to. I also think that if it comes out, they are going to get a lot of kickback, so why not just do it on your own terms and avoid so much negativity. Just my thoughts on it.
I don’t comprehend why people can’t just treat each other with respect. What ever happened to ‘do unto others’? Isn’t it easier to be kind to someone? I guess I don’t understand the need to tear someone down when it can be just as easy to build them up. There are times when we all feel frustrated, angry and hurt but is that a good enough reason to strike out at someone publically? I don’t get it.
Personally, I would rather try and help someone, which I try and do each and every day. Of course that doesn’t always happen because I rarely leave the house, especially lately. But I do try to do a little something at least once a week when I do venture out. It might not be much. There are times it is so small but can have a big impact. Remember that as you prepare for the upcoming week.
|Just because I can.|