New Release: The Big Book of Submission

Today, I have the honor introducing you to another new anthology I have the pleasure of being a part of. The amazing Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor, wonderful writer, blogger and all around bad ass, has done it again and brought together a real gem of short erotic fiction, especially for those of us who like a little spice in our life. 

The Big Book of Submission comprises 69 short stories, glimpses into the world of bdsm and submission. And that’s exactly its strongest point. I am a huge fan of brevity — and not because of my generations infamously short attention span. A novel, even a regular short story takes you on a journey, from beginning to end. But these stories just spirit you away for a few minutes and leave your mind all fired up, ready to imagine a whole world. They inspire the reader. They quicken the pulse and leave you wanting, and that’s exactly what makes them so delicious.

Laila-after-the-Dentist holding copy of The Big Book of Submission.

Laila-after-the-Dentist holding copy of The Big Book of Submission.

Isn’t that what we are looking for in erotic fiction? Something that gets our own imagination going?

I highly recommend this collection, especially if you’re on the look-out for something a little different, for a whirlwind of different fantasies to immerse yourself into. Besides, check out this amazing line-up of writers (complete with snippets from every single story!). Oh, and if you don’t want to take just my word for it – here is a whole list of people endorsing it on their beautiful blogs!

For my own story, Housebroken, I was inspired by a photograph of a young woman, lying in a patch of sunlight on dark hardwood floors. Dust particles made the air shimmer, and there was this stunning contrast between her soft, light skin and the hard, dark floor-boards beneath her.
She was like a kitten, enjoying the sun on her belly. I wanted to write about this kitten girl and her mistress, and their loving and kinky life that allowed her to be so uninhibited, as to lay naked in a patch of sun.

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Available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk!

 

L.C. Spoering talks about her latest release!

Today, I have a little treat for you. My friend and publishing partner L.C. Spoering is releasing a brilliant new YA novel, and I interviewed her so you can learn more about her work!

So, Lorrie, obviously, I know you really well – we write novels together, we geek out on skype together and support each other. That’s why I want the people who read my blog to get to know you, too. You’re such a great writer and such a generous person and they should all know that! You have book coming out, called At the Edge of the World. I’ve read it in more than one stage of development and was always a great fan of the detail and the atmosphere you created.

What drew you to write about a street kid on Venice Beach?

One of the first rules of writing thrown around is “write what you know.” Outside the obviously problematic nature of such a recommendation, I simply like to write things that require me to research, and really dig deep into character and setting. Given I’ve never lived on the street, and, in fact, have never lived in Venice Beach, either, the fascination was easy, and large. I like the lore of Venice, and the notion of an outside/insider moving within it.

YA is really big right now. How you do account for its success and where do you think YA should go as a genre?

I think people are interested in youth and, in particular, the youth they didn’t or don’t have. There’s definitely something fascinating about, say, a teenager dying of cancer, or one thrown into a death match. Few (if any, in the case of a death match) live this kind of life. Putting kids and teenagers into these situations is relatable because, hey, we’ve all been teenagers.

I’d like if YA allowed for more nuance, and more subtly of both story and emotion. I was once told my work was “too lit fic” for YA, which confused (and amused!) me: what’s too lit fic for teens? They care about emotions, and the smaller stories, too. It seems strange to decree a genre unable to process human complexity.

I know you have more ongoing YA projects and plans for the future – how would you define your style in this area?

As I said above, I’m “lit fic” in almost everything I do: I like a close character study, as well as a sort of particular structure to the story, so that the way it’s told is as important as the story itself. I’m totally unable to be completely straight-forward: I like to have to work in a story, and have people think.

Do your children influence your writing, especially when you write for an age group they are just now growing into?

Yes and no. My kids have interests that are WILDLY different from my own, and so I’m not totally capable of writing what they might like. I do, however, ponder themes a lot, in relation to things I would approve of, and endorse, them reading – I want both of them to see a variety of characters, male and female, in all the ways people appear in the world. I want them to have feminist books to reach for, and ones that contain a diversity they see in their lives.

Who you do you think is your core audience? Who will enjoy At the Edge of the World?

I tried to write a book I would have enjoyed reading at 16 years old, but one that also would interest my 70 year old mother. It’s not that drastic a goal, I’ve found: most people, despite their more focused interests, can come together over a story with compelling characters.

I think those who enjoy an element of fantasy to their grit, sweet love in the rough, and a bit of mystery to a story, will enjoy At the Edge of the World.

At the Edge of the World will be on August 26th, and you should definitely check it out!

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Blurb:

Lost in the chaos of Venice Beach, among the homegrown freaks and weirdos, the tourists and life’s forgotten people, one runaway is just another face in the crowd—and this is just how Shane likes it. Torn between the home he left behind and lure of the ocean he ran to, something has tied his fates to the beach, and he is not the only one.

She is a famous mystery: the Venice Skater Chick. Shane has loved her since his first night on the beach. Others are watching her, too—and at least one wants her dead.

A mystery unfolds between the famed boardwalk, a dusty record store, a cramped apartment and a hidden cave. Under the gathering storms, Shane makes a desperate attempt to protect the girl he loves, and the life waiting for him on the other side.

Learning to Write for an Audience

When you go through a difficult time in your life, you start to shed pride in pieces, in flakes like dandruff from your hair. Everybody starts to crack at a different point: maybe you begin to leave the house with greasy hair or stop shaving as regularly as you used to. Maybe you stop opening your mail, or your apartment goes to pot. Maybe you start to drink a lot more than is good for you. Maybe you do all of those things.

And eventually, you start to admit how bad things are. And if you’re someone with a lot of pride, like me, this comes in pieces. You admit one thing, then another. You tick them off one flake a time, because you cannot bear the idea that people look at you and see a weak person, a failure, a loser. That was one of the hardest things for me when I started dealing with my burn out almost two years ago now. I lied to my therapists, and my doctors. I put on a bright smile and said it wasn’t so bad. I just need a pill or a tiny holiday and then everything would be fine. But everything wasn’t fine. And everything didn’t have a quick fix. And so pride started shedding, and that’s a good thing because I started healing.

Through all that time, the one thing I never allowed to fall was writing. It was what kept me going, sure, but it was also the last thing that made me feel like I was a real, full human being with talents and skills and something to contribute to the world. I needed it. I needed it really badly, and so I wrote like a maniac. I wrote every day and I never stopped.

Now, my life is starting to come together again. I can feel the stitches starting to take, can feel the wounds starting to close. I can see the future again, can see a path out of this, can imagine myself as I used to know me before all this again: as a capable, professional, desirable woman. And so it’s time to admit to something: I’m having a hard time with this writing thing.

I’m having a hard time writing for an audience, knowing that audience, fearing their reaction. And I’m still not entirely sure how to fix it. I’m not even sure it’s a bad thing. It might make me a better writer eventually, but for now, I am ready to admit: I’m struggling a little.

 

BTLOTM -- color600x900When I started out, my writing was about me. Not literally, most of the time, but still to a pretty high degree. At its essence By the Light of the Moon is a book about a girl who can’t deal with her life and then somebody saves her. I needed that story at the time. It’s not, however, at its core, a particularly original story. I’m not bashing my work, I stand behind the writing and the characters especially, and I really love the sequel that I’m currently editing. But I feel like first (and second and maybe third) novels are books that you write for yourself.

You think, for instance, “Hey, I really like werewolves, but why are they always depicted as these ruthless, overly domineering alpha males?” Or “Hey, I love medieval fantasy and forbidden love, but why do I never see a heroine with mental health issues?” And so you (lol read “I”) write a book that embraces a lot of the points you’ve been missing in the books you’ve read. But… in the end, there’s still a lot of those other stories in yours. It’s still a noblewoman who hates being a noblewoman falling in love with a hunky werewolf.

Detail of female hands tied up with ropeWith Driftwood Deeds, my thought was “I want to read about sex and bdsm, but every time I pick up a book, it doesn’t represent my feelings or my experience of it, I don’t find the characters believable and I hate the prose.” So I set out to create well-written, real, honest, raw erotica. And I think I did that well. But I never thought about the audience. I never thought about having to sell that idea in a blurb and how terribly boring it sounds then.

The blurb for Driftwood Deeds could be summarized like this: Two people have sex. Or maybe less facetiously: A young woman has her first D/s experience with an older man at his seaside home.

If I didn’t know the author beforehand, I probably wouldn’t pick that book up. It just sounds like… it sounds like nothing. And Driftwood Deeds is not nothing. It touched a lot of people who read it; it’s still my highest rated work on Goodreads and Amazon. But I can’t blame people for not buying it, for not getting really excited about it. Because I only thought about me when I wrote it.

ALL400-600In a way, something similar happened with After Life Lessons. L.C. and I wrote it because we wanted to work together, challenge ourselves. Because we had this idea, that putting our characters up against zombies would be fun. And it was. But we’re not horror people, or even thriller people. We are character study girls. We love to write about people and their personal struggles, their little relateable drama.

And so that’s what After Life Lessons became. And we wrote it for us, because we wanted a book to exist in which a zombie apocalypse was not all about the zombies and the action, but about the human impact. We didn’t consider that other people really do want the zombie splatter action when they are promised zombie post-apoc. That they don’t want something different.

 

Almost two years after I started writing By the Light of the Moon, I feel like someone who’s started learning a new language. I was an English teacher for a while, so I know the process. You start out and everything is crazy difficult. You have no idea what you’re doing, you’re just charging blindly ahead full of joy and the energy of the new, until you run into the first roadblock. If you’re lucky you either are very disciplined and get yourself out, or you have a teacher to push you over the hump. These humps happen a lot at the beginning. It’s why so many of us struggle for so so long to finish our first novel. It’s also why so many of us buy a language course on CD and never get past the first or second part.

At some point, though, you have a break-though. Suddenly, a few things just click and you get it. And everything is brilliant because you feel like you finally have a handle on this. This will be easy. Hell yeah! I was at that point at the beginning of the year. I wrote about it too. Here or here.

But it doesn’t stay. You learned a lot, but you keep learning and eventually you get to that point where you know just enough to realize, you still have no idea what you’re doing, just enough to realize how long the road ahead really is.

 

That’s me right now. I try to learn from these lessons, to think about how to make a book special and enticing from the get go, how to satisfy the needs of the genre without betraying what I love to write about. But I don’t know how to do that yet. I am still not sure how to write with an audience in mind.

Some people will tell you to just never read your reviews, but I don’t believe in that. I think that’s the height of arrogance actually. I do believe that I have something to learn from my readers, like we all have something to learn from almost everybody we meet and I want to be open to that. But it also hurts, and it’s scary. And when you realize you’ve started to censor yourself for fear of how readers might react to something that rings true and good to you, that’s when writing for an audience starts to suck.

So, that’s what I’m working on. Finding that balance. Writing to please myself and my readers.  Writing without fear of rejection without loosing sight of my readers completely. Writing something that I can be proud of and that really excites people, too. Because that what I want to do. I want to touch people, I want to write those books, the ones that helped me through the years – be that because they made me realized something, or because they made me feel good about myself, or because they made me sob uncontrollably and reminded me to feel, and to be vulnerable. I want all that! I want to be better!

I will be better. I get better every day.

New Release: Trading Tides

Remember a few months ago, when I talked about writing this a lot? Well, Trading Tides is finally out now. And in order to celebrate the release, we have a new series edition cover for Driftwood Deeds as well! :D

Detail of female hands tied up

Remember Driftwood Deeds? Because you should definitely get a copy and read it, if I may say so myself, hehe – if just so that you can check out Trading Tides!

DriftwoodDeedssmallDriftwood Deeds
(Breaking in Waves #1)

Release Date: 9th December 2013

When journalist Iris Ellis visits a sleepy seaside town to interview recluse screenwriter Paul Archer, he offers her insights into never acted upon fantasies of dominance and submission. Too curious to deny herself a taste of them, Iris gives herself up to Paul’s gentle guidance, but when she realizes that a taste can never be enough, she must find the courage to ask for what she needs or risk losing it all.

Called a “gem for fans of BDSM romance and the perfect starting point for readers new to the genre” by RT Book Reviews, Driftwood Deeds is a novella of sexual awakening as well as consent and communication in bdsm.

Publisher: A Hotter State

Amazon.com \\ Amazon.co.uk \\ Amazon.de
B&N \\ Kobo \\ ARe Romance \\ Smashwords \\ Goodreads
Or set the mood on the
Driftwood Deeds Pinterest Board and Playlist

DriftwoodDeedssmallTrading Tides
(Breaking in Waves #2)

Release Date: 17th July 2013

Love, they say, is magnified by absence.
After the dream-like quality of Iris’ visit at Paul’s sea-side home, she is back in the routine and drudgery of her city life. Struggling to put a label on what they have together, they phone and write letters, trying to sustain the flame, until they can make time to be in each other’s arms again. But once they are, how do you pull back into proportions a love so magnified it burns?

Publisher: A Hotter State

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Amazon.com \\ Amazon.co.uk \\ Amazon.de
B&N \\ Kobo \\ ARe Romance \\ Smashwords \\ Goodreads
Or set the mood on the
Trading Tides Pinterest Board and Playlist

 

Cover Art Adventures

As a writer, we’re supposed to hate and eschew clichés like vampires do garlic and crosses. They should make us shrivel and cringe, and sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t and we reach right into that trow of overused phrases and sprinkle them around our prose, anyway.

Here’s one that I hate and that makes me cringe: Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Now, as a cliché (i.e. we’re not actually talking about books but about people) it doesn’t work because we all USE our “cover” to send messages. That’s why goths dress the way they do, and punks and why business-people wear all the same boring suits :) . I’ve grown up a fat chick with a pretty face, and like everybody else, of course,  I’ve always been aware of being judged by my looks, but just as aware of the messages my choices in clothes and make-up etc. send to people. That’s why we wear clothes. And even if we don’t care (and quite often I don’t, I just dress in what’s comfortable) that still sends a message that we’re the kind of people who don’t effing care what we look like when we go to the grocery store.

So I reject the cliché. Don’t be a superficial asshole, but also stop pretending like how we dress, what we say, how we act in public says NOTHING about us as people. Of course it says stuff about me. Not everything, by far. And most people may be inept at reading all those signals correctly, who knows, but there’s a correlation between a person and their “cover”.

I also reject the premise: There is also a correlation between a book and its cover. And it’s intricate and fascinating and it’s something to love and explore rather than just put off as superficial, image obsessed internet culture.

I love good covers. And I love the process, too. After writing, it’s kind of the funnest part of this whole publishing deal, and I have to admit, the fact that I get to design my own covers and work with artists and do all of that, is one of the biggest incentives for self-publishing for me. Because yeah, I don’t like that lack of control, leaving the public, outward representation of my work to people who aren’t me. I LOVE doing them, love the process of creating a cover that is not only pleasing to the eye, but also represents the content, the genre, the target audience, and yeah, your own brand. That’s fascinating stuff.

When By the Light of the Moon was first published, I did have some impact (i.e. I was asked to describe a few possibilities and I had the opportunity to suggest small alterations), but I was never happy the cover. I always felt slightly weird asking people to read my book, almost like I had to say “I know, I know what it looks like, but please…? Could you do that thing that I don’t believe in and reject, where you don’t judge the book by its cover?” And that’s an uncomfortable position to stand and to market yourself and your book from.

The re-release cover of By the Light of the Moon is different. I can fully stand behind it and say “I love this cover.” That doesn’t mean everybody will, or that it will connect with anyone who chances upon it, but I love it. I can stand with both feet on the ground, shoulders back, chin held high and promote it.
It took ages to get there, though (which is e.g. what a good cover says. It says that the publisher or author believes in the book enough to spend ages, or a lot of money working it out). I think I have at least 10 different cover mock-ups for By the Light of the Moon on my computer. And I don’t mean evolving ones (then we get into the hundreds), but complete separate ideas from completely different source images. In the end, the only one I sort of liked would have relied on a very expensive photograph and I just didn’t (and don’t) have 500 bucks to blow on a cover. So I went back to the drawing board and changed my tack. It’s fantasy, after all, maybe photography is the wrong way to go.

Landscape without Owain-wolfy.

Landscape without Owain-wolfy.

Now, I am very lucky to have grown up in a family of artists and so I could go to my grandmother (whom I chose because I thought her personal style resonated most with my writing and my ideas for a cover, and I still hope I didn’t somehow insult my grandfather by not asking him). And we talked a LOT. I told her about the book, about my ideas. She talked about painting proportions and constraints and in the end, she painted something that I liked, but that I also didn’t know how to use. It was a little too colorful, with too much going on and at first I completely despaired of ever getting this right.
In the end, and after soooo many attempts, I found a way to limit the color and the busyness of the painting (if you want to compare, I took out most of the reddish/purple hues from the dress, the sky etc. and pumped up the real red in her hair; I got rid of her hands and the shore at the bottom of the painting and yeah, in the end, I added a tree that wasn’t there for color contrast balance).

Roswit Balke, my grandmother, working on my beautiful cover.

Roswit Balke, my beautiful grandmother, working on my cover.

This time around, and for Lakeside #2, I could take all those experiences on board and give my grandmother a much better idea of what I needed. And I think it shows. I was there yesterday to look at the progress, and we sat together, talking, looking at pictures of wolves and drew one into different copies of the same painting. It was a lot of fun, but I look at the unfinished work, and I can already see, that i will have to work a LOT less hard to make this a cover. It’s basically already one, and all I have to do is add the title.

I write a lot about how writing is learning. Every day. But this stuff is as well, and I’m really grateful and appreciative of the lessons I am given and allowed to learn on this journey.

Owain-Wolfy is stalking the forest, making his way into the picture.

Owain-Wolfy is stalking the forest, making his way into the picture.

For me, getting really involved with my covers, is almost an extended part of the writing process. It allows me to translate the written word into a visual impression, it makes me think about what my books are, what they represent and how I want them to be seen and i love that part.

It doesn’t always work – i.e. for After Life Lessons, we chose a very calm and thoughtful cover because we did want people to judge the book by it. And still we get a lot feedback about the gory action-ridden zombie bonanza they expected (and didn’t find inside this very calm cover). But that’s all part of the learning process. And it’s all good. It’s all part of the fun.

 

PS: Just putting it out there. I am open to advising authors about covers or helping them realize their dream visual representation. So if you’re still looking for a cover artist and like my stuff, why not send me a quick email at laila@lailablake.com.

Let’s talk about love. Insta-love.

Almost all my characters suffer from what I understand is a fatal flaw in romance novels.

Almost all my characters have a tragic slant towards insta-love.

Now, I don’t actually write romance, as far as I would define it, although Driftwood Deeds
comes pretty close. I think, I write novels with love stories in their side or main plots, usually some kind of genre cross-over, because that’s what makes me happy. But there is still that romantic connection, the nod to everybody who does like to read about love. Like me, like you – like almost everybody it seems, considering that even very male-oriented staples usually feature some kind of love story, love interest or love-related motivation. And why wouldn’t it?
medium_2834306912After (and often enough before) the basic necessities for survival are satisfied, love seems to be one of the forces in our lives that creates the most change, the most flux, drama, happiness, anxiety and contentment, all at once. It’s a literary gold mine. What would 1984 be without the strange, crooked love story between Winston and Juliet? Or even Fight Club, without Marla Singer? It surprised me at the time when I read that Chuck Palahniuk categorized his novel as a love story. It made a crazy amount of sense, when I read it again.

So this insta-love business. I understand why it’s a somewhat hated trope. It smacks a little bit of neglect, of giving your characters something good too easily. And maybe that’s true. Sometimes. But avoiding insta-love completely, would also remove my personal experience of love from my writing. And I don’t want to do that. I want my writing to be real, and honest. Not so personal that you can read some of my stories and feel like I just put my life’s story on your shoulders, but personal enough to transport truth.
For me, love was always quick. And it takes a while to understand that my personal experience is not everybody else’s. So for a long time, the idea of insta-love baffled me. Do we really need reasons for falling in love? Do we need conflict and emotional back and forth? It’s never been that way for me – the reasons and the drama came later.

I’ve read a lot about introverts and emphatic and sensitive people recently, ostensibly in order to put a nicer spin on a lot of my character traits, redefining them for myself as assets. But I came across something interesting, which was that highly sensitive people often report falling in love really fast and head-over-heels intensely. Maybe because there is something about our nervous systems that is easy overwhelmed in general (loud parties, a problem, that news report about the suffering after an earthquake) and of course love can be the most overwhelming of all.

Maybe it’s the romance novel expectation: when the plot is the love story, why throw the prize away a few pages after they meet? I understand that rationally, but in every other way I find that hugely problematic.
For one thing, why is that the prize? Surely the prize is actually being with that person, and realizing you can actually make it work.

It also bothers me, when (usually) the girl doesn’t like him at first, thinks he’s a bit brutish or arrogant or stupid or whatever, and then we spend a novel reading about how she was wrong and he got her anyway. Why do we insist on telling women not to trust their instincts? Instincts are good! We should foster them, try to divide them from our prejudices, hone them and allow them to influence our decisions.
Another way love is oven deferred in books, is due to pride. And again, I understand about not giving away the prize and all, but I actually like reading about people who are open and generous about their feelings. Who don’t hold onto them like little old misers with their pennies. Who are open to falling in love, even if it hurts; who laugh, even at slightly stupid jokes; who cry when something is sad rather than refusing to feel. Why do we so often look down on people who feel.

So you fall for someone and the worst thing that can happen is that it doesn’t work out, you get rejected, you find out he isn’t really that great… yeah, that stuff hurts. And we can learn to deal with that. Especially when we are open about that pain, too.

BTLOTM -- color240x360In By the Light of the Moon, Moira and Owain, once they find a connection, fall in love hard and fast. And I never considered that this might be insta-love. Especially because she is a 19-year-old who’s never been in love before. Isn’t that how we fall in love for the first time? Hard and fast, without reason or pride, absolutely at the mercy of this avalanche of hormones and joy and panic that spreads through our bodies at the sight of his smile, at the feel of his first touch?

I still fall in love like that.

I’m a grown-up now, so I know not to say it. I know that I can only say I am in love with someone when I am ready to make a commitment and, better yet, when they have said it first so I know they are ready for a commitment – but all that is just my head talking, my cultural programming, the knowledge of acceptable word usage. So I use different words, but the feeling is still there.
The truth is there isn’t one way to love, or one definition. Love can be all sort of things, and go through all sorts of phases – but that first flutter, the overwhelming feeling that this person could be someone incredible, why is that so underrated anymore?

Of course it’s not as stable, it’s not a promise, it’s not a guarantee, but isn’t that beauty in it? Isn’t that something that can grow? And isn’t the growth an interesting story, too?
I love Pride & Prejudice, but I still want to shake Lizzie and Darcy because they are wasting so much precious time, so many moments together. They even manage to almost destroy the sweet insta-love between Jane and Bingly with their pride and rationality. And I want to shake them for that, too.

And yeah, I hate insta-love too when it’s about superficial stuff. When love comes from the way someone wears their hair, or the cocky smile on his face. But that’s not all we perceive. I think after even evening together, we can see so much in a person. In their opinions, their jokes, their reactions, the little nuances in their voice, especially in their voice.
I think we should pat ourselves and our characters on the back and trust a little more, give some weight to first impressions and instincts, to sudden rushes of feeling.

Sure, they’ll lead us astray sometimes. But that’s no reason to stop feeling.

photo credit: Brandon Christopher Warren and mohammadali via photopin cc

Misogyny kills. Again. Be shocked.

This is hard.

You all know I blog about feminism. This is important to me. And then something like the Elliot Rodger massacre happens and I want nothing to do with it. It feels like only last week that this other guy killed the girl who refused to go to prom with him, like I was only just getting over that one.

I could deal with it when I read the news. Sort of. I couldn’t watch his videos or read parts of his manifesto. And when the next day social media kicked in and my dashboard erupted in twitter screenshots of people who congratulated him, thanked him, drank to him… I think I stopped and left the computer and in a way, I’m still avoiding this issue.

It’s too much sometimes. And I get so, so tired. Do you guys feel that way sometimes? Like you try to talk about misogyny and how dangerous it is, and what we can do and nobody really listens? And then something horrible happens again and invariable it’s pushed away as the acts of a “lonely virgin” suffering from mental illness, and that’s it.

It hurts. I’m not personally affected, no, but it hurts. And I could have been. You could have been. Man or woman, straight or gay, whatever color your skin is. You could have been. Misogyny kills. And I’m so tired of it all, of all the things people will say to protect themselves from having to actually think about this, from having to actually make some changes in their lives.

These are some of those things:

 “Oh in case feminists didn’t carefully pay attention to the news, you know who killed 4 MEN and 2 WOMEN. Which gender suffered more? That’s right.” (actual tumblr quote)

1. This is not a suffering competition. We don’t tally score. This is not a women against men crusade.

2. Misogyny kills men and women. It always has. It’s not a women’s issue, however much it is always portrayed that way. Men have many privileges over women, yes all men. Not just some. All of you. Read Charlie Glickman’s post if you want to learn more about that.

But the truth is that women aren’t the only victims of a patriarchical system. When men abuse women in the home, young boys suffer, just as much as girls. Boys suffer when they are told Boys don’t cry, or called sissies, pussies or any other term for “female” when they show emotion.

Teens are further disconnected from their emotions and compassion, through the media, their friends, their fathers, and yes, women as well, be it their mothers or anyone else.

Their sexuality is warped away from intimacy and tenderness and towards crude entitlement, to using women’s bodies as masturbatory tools, to seeing them as things for their pleasure without a clue as to what pleasure actually is.

And yeah, sometimes misogyny kills men, too. Like it happened in this massacre. But that doesn’t make it any less of a misogynist crime.

So yeah, men are victims, too. What else can we expect from living in a society with such seriously screwed up ideas of gender and what it should be?

He was just mentally ill. It has nothing to do with women. If he hadn’t felt entitled to them, it would have been over something else.

First of all: are you a psychiatrist? No. Then you’re talking out of your ass to cover this little uncomfortable feeling inside of you makes you avoid the actual issue here.

Yeah, it looks like he was suffering from a mental illness. That’s an important discussion (sad that it only ever comes up when white straight young men shoot people, but okay). To be fair, he was from an extremely privileged background, so getting help for that should have been about 100 times easier than for 99% of the population. I have a mental illness, I know lots of people with mental illness. It’s not card blanche. You go get help. You work on yourself. And that’s really hard.

Elliot Rodger may have felt this intense level of entitlement due to a mental illness. But he didn’t feel entitled to be on the cover of Rolling Stone and shot up their head offices, or to be on some football team.

No. He felt entitled to something that a vast mass cultural narrative taught him to feel entitled to: sex from hot women. Not love, not intimacy, not a happy relationship or the meeting of minds – no: blonde sorority chicks he never actually met, just “desired” for their looks.

This is not a coincidence. And it’s not all down to mental illness. Mental illness may have provided the trigger but misogyny is the soil, the plan, the gun. And every time someone denies this, we give it more power.

 

So can we just repeat together: women don’t owe men sex. Women are not free prostitutes who service men for a drink, a sleazy compliment or pick-up-line or anything else men have come up with to “get laid”. We are human beings. As much as you have preferences (as in, if you wouldn’t date a “fat chick”, or a “crazy one” or a “clingy one” or etc.) they do, too. They don’t owe you anything. Never. There’s no such thing as a “friendzone”. There is rejection, and it sucks, and both men and women experience it all the time. Learn to deal with that. And move on.

How are we still talking about this?