BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! This is an official C&D Emergency Alert! Please read the following post and prepare to weigh in. Thank you.
Mommy Porn? Or Mommy is a fully-functioning human with a sex drive?
by JM Cartwright
Yesterday at the RT Booklovers Con in Chicago, a CNBC reporter used the term "mommy porn" to describe the erotica that women are reading and enjoying these days. (I can picture the anchors back at the studios with smirks on their faces.)
Huh. What a neat, concise phrase that manages to denigrate an entire gender, box up a book category and dismiss readers all in one blow. I wonder if that was Courtney Reagan's intention when she casually used the phrase while delivering an otherwise very interesting and insightful report on what's happening in the book industry.
The phrase was used again in a Q&A session later, when an audience member spoke about the term, asking a panel of editors, agents and authors about it and what impact it was having on the choices that industry execs are making when buying and repping manuscripts. The discussion that followed was illuminating, to say the least.
When I was a kid, the men/dads I knew kept tittie calendars on their garage walls, and usually had a Playboy or two lying around. But that was okay. In the meantime, moms were back in the kitchen or vacuuming or doing laundry, asexual creatures that they were, just keeping the home fires burning. Hmmm. Perhaps that Leave It To Beaver picture wasn't quite as truthful as some folks would like it to seem. Oh - and today? - let's not forget at all the success of places like Hooters, and the "gentleman's clubs" that are all over the place in cities around the world. Even the arch-terrorist Bin Laden had his porn stash.
The RT Booklovers Con has lots of fun and interesting panels and events. But it clearly, unmistakably shows us one very essential truth: turns out that women are indeed sexual beings. Gasp! Heads up, people in TV land; if women weren't sexual beings, none of us would be here. Oh, wait, I guess there might be some who aren't so interested but that's certainly no reason to slap the rest of us down with a label stating, in essence, if we're interested in books with sex scenes - maybe lots of sex - then we're just porn enthusiasts. There, that neatly shelves any concerns that we might be persons of value, with feelings, thoughts, needs and wants that just might not be addressed by category romance books. Brrr, I can feel the shockwaves through the land.
Boys and girls: women like romance, women like love. Maybe it's not a stretch to sometimes say we're in love with love. Thus, we're often indulging ourselves in a good (or great) romance that allows us to happily, mentally, experience the wonder and joy of love and yes, the heat and sweaty fervor or a great sexual workout. Why should guys have all the fun? And, oh? We even like stories with non-traditional protagonists. Scratch that; we LOVE those stories. Gay romance is an exploding sub-genre in romance books.
Women are in love with men in love. Yes, we enjoy the sex. Who doesn't? But it's more than that. Yesterday, at another panel, one reader asked why we women are buying and reading edgy, erotic stories of love and sex. The panels members and audience bandied the question, answering with their own opinions. Well, here's mine, which I offered up yesterday as well. Women want to believe that a man can fall in love, can be vulnerable and care enough about someone else to lay it on the line, talk about that love, his feelings. We want to believe that all men are capable of those things. Else, why get up in the morning? Why continue to hope for a better tomorrow if half the world doesn’t really give a red rat's patoot?
The bottom line (since this report generated from CNBC I thought that was appropriate) for me is this. Women don't need to be ashamed of what they like, enjoy or love. First of all, it's nobody else's damned business. Second, as grown-ups, we all get to make choices and it's not really anybody else's place to judge those choices. Now being human, that's exactly what we do. Clearly, we all need to get over that.
Consenting adults can (and should) do what's legal and what they like. Why isn't that enough for everyone?
The explosion of eBooks is being driven by romance. Surprise, surprise. And it's also saving the publishing industries' collective ass. It's changing that industry at the very same time. Publishers, agents, editors - everybody's scrambling to keep up and stay ahead of the curve. Seems an impossible task but each day we see evidence that savvy entrepreneurs are grabbing a share of the market. Consumers are in control, that seems clear. The choices we make are what is governing the choices that publishers are making. Isn't that the essence of capitalism? Why must it be denigrated by using a sophomoric phrase like "mommy porn?"
Industry experts, reporters, followers, et al, here's a newsflash for you: we really don't care what you think any more. We're in the driver's seat and the industry is all around us, waving its arms, yelling "choose my book, buy over here, I've got what you want."