I have an invisible scarlet letter pinned to my being that I wasn’t aware of until the last week. It appeared after I posted a teaser for my blog post, 26 Thoughts for 27. Just like Hester, in the book The Scarlet Letter, I committed a sin and am being shamed for it. But instead of an “A” for adultery, mine is “S” for “Slut.” Which is weird because I didn’t earn my letter on my back.
I earned it by doing something worse, something unthinkable. I talked about sex
On social media. Gasp!
Wait. That’s not right. I didn’t talk about sex. I talked about items used for sexual pleasure and protection to be used during sex. Items for women. That assist in giving women pleasure. But not sex itself. If I talked about sex, or the act of intercourse, (in this case) between a man and woman, I probably wouldn’t have garnered the same reaction. See, that’s expected of me. I’m an aspiring romance writer. Romance novels are all sex, not about love and happily ever after, so that wouldn’t have been so shocking.
But here’s the funny thing (I say funny, but I really mean fucked up): The entire blog post wasn’t about women and pleasuring themselves. That was ONE point. One out of twenty six. But that’s what people focused on because how could I post such a thing? Why would I share something so private? It just wasn’t appropriate for social media. I wasn’t talking about women and how vibrators are empowering. I was talking about how I love a good old time with my vibrator. Why would I make that the teaser? Why not use one of the other points and have that point hide in the post like the dirty shameful thing it is. Why mention that at all?
I used that teaser hoping the shock would spark curiosity, and it did. That blog post had the most views of any of my previous ones.
So maybe I should have a scarlet “M” for “Marketing” since it obviously worked.
Once again though the teaser wasn’t about me, and my use of a vibrator. Obviously, you were the kid that didn’t listen in elementary school, when your teacher told you to read the instructions word for word, before answering the question. (If you did you could have gotten As instead of Bs. Sucks.)
My teaser talked about vibrators and condoms and how I thought it was important that women embrace those items. I believe vibrators (and dildos) are awesome things that empower females. They allow women to gain a better understanding of their body, and God forbid, experience pleasure without the help of a male.
Growing up all I remember hearing about is how boys go through this phase of thinking only with their penises (and by phase it’s really their entire life post puberty). Often times that was simplified into the all too common, “boys will be boys.” Well world, here’s a shocker: Girls go through the same thing. We also have changes and urges, but for some reason we are raised to keep those private and told not to discuss them, effectually making us associate them with shame (way to go). Or we seek out sex, which as much as we hate to admit it is an emotional experience for us as well as physical. This often happens way too young, before many of us are ready, and can be detrimental to our self worth and future relationships. Not to mention we get called a slut or whore if anyone finds out. I will 100% buy my daughter a vibrator if I think it will lessen her chances of having sex before she is ready and keep her from experiencing any of that.
I also told women to embrace buying condoms. Today, dudes are too lazy to plan a real date, let alone find someone they’re interested in without an app. So, why in the fuck would you count on them coming prepared? PROTECT YOURSELF. Buy condoms. And if that guy at the counter sneers at you, call the manager, create a god damn scene, and demand they give those condoms to you for free so you can forgive them for being masochistic pricks.
It’s 2016 people. Men buy tampons. Women buy condoms. Get over yourselves. (Hmmm. I’m now thinking my scarlet letter might be a “F” for “Feminist.”)
Yet these points were missed because people stopped reading my teaser as the audience of an exerpt from my blog post, and started reading it as the person snooping through my diary.
Well, are you surprised? You’re a romance novelist. You write about sex. And they say authors write what they know…
Oh, you’re right! *smacks palm to forehead* I forgot! Those sex scenes in my book are obviously based on my own experiences or personal fantasies. Silly little me.
So remind me, was George R. R. Martin a Dothraki or a member of the Nights Watch before he became an author? And he obviously fantasizes about raping 12 year olds. Has someone looked into that?
And did Mark Greary really go by The Gray Man or was it a different color, like The Green Man?
Why hasn’t James Patterson been arrested yet?
Alright alright, we get it, but did you have to post it on social media?
Um, yes. I did. See, just like when you’re proud of that job you landed, or that raise you got, I’m really fucking proud of my writing. It’s not all going to be amazing. It’s not all going to be mind blowing. But I spend a lot of time doing it. At least 20 hours a week. It’s work. Unpaid work. I’m not going to share everything on my personal social media, but certain things I will, and I have the right to. I’m a writer. I write things for people to read them.
Well how do you expect to deal with criticism about your books, if you can’t deal with people not liking that post?
Here’s the thing: Not one negative comment was about my writing. I asked. Was it boring? Too repetitive? Been there, heard that? The people who had something negative to say hadn’t read my entire post. It’s not a critique when someone hasn’t read the entire work.
To wrap things up, at the end of the day I’m going to write what I write. This is my craft. My art. And if I can’t express myself, then what the fuck am I doing trying to make a career in the creative world? You don’t have to like my writing. You don’t have to agree with it. You don’t have to read it.
But don’t you dare shame me for it.
That said, I think I’ll swap out this scarlet letter you all have given me. It’s not really my color. Instead I’ll starting wearing a gold “BB” for “Badass Bitch.”