I Wasn’t Raped by a Guy Not My Dad, during which No Children and Animals Were Present

My knee-jerk instinct was to write that title, and make the entire content of this post: So suck it. And then I realized I’m not 12. I hit a sentiment like that later*, but I felt less juvenile by that point.

I’m sure most everyone is tired of hearing about censorship, Paypal, Bookstrand, Smashwords, credit card companies and all of the events of the last couple of weeks. I know I am. I’m even more tired of it affecting me on a day-to-day basis than I am tired of hearing of it.

People keep saying that businesses have the right to choose what they sell. I couldn’t agree more. The problem is that the businesses DID choose to sell it, and then were strong-armed into getting rid of it by an external company. That’s alarming. But, we’ve all been over this ground a hundred times.

Other markets will pop up (and a precious few still do exist as of this writing), even if the removal of this material spreads so far that it’s driven back to mail-order, the way people used to buy their sexy stuff before the Internet came along.

What bothers me the most is that I’ve been made to feel like a pariah among writers, and had the hatefulness of so many others aimed at me, all because I wrote a story about an 18-year-old having sex with a man who was briefly her step-father, or a woman having her rape fantasy played out, by choice. I’m a degenerate because I wrote some fiction.

Bookstrand really went after indie erotic writers with both barrels after removing them from their site, and that after a few days of panicked-sounding emails and embarrassingly unprofessional behavior. I guess they never bothered to stop and think that some of the people they were attacking might actually be Bookstrand customers, or potential ones. That did a disservice to all their authors, in my opinion.

The letter made it sound as if erotica writers were some sort of plague. Perhaps people who write certain types of erotica don’t do anything but sit in dirty, damp corners creating deviant stories. We don’t buy books from the places we publish at, or sit in PTA meetings next to “normal” people, or have lives outside debauchery and time spent making up the next story about whole families raping helpless puppies.

The letter termed incest, pseudo-incest and bestiality “disgusting.” Never mind that Siren itself sells several titles with brothers (sometimes twins and triplets) making love to another person at the same time, which is closer to incest than any non-related people actually having sex (as makes up pseudo-incest), and titles in which shape-shifters that turn into animals like geese and lamb have sex, but only in human form, (even if they do baaa when excited).

I have no problem with these types of books. The more diversity the merrier. It really bothers me that they have such problems with mine.

I sincerely wish that, no matter what a person might think of things like pseudo-incest, incest, rape, rape fantasy, dubious consent or any topic that’s perfectly legal to write in fiction and erotica, they might consider, really, what all this means.

If I, or anyone, wanted to write an erotic story about a 40-year-old woman who decided to have a sexual relationship with a 50-year-old man that her great-aunt was once married to, well, that’s now off-limits. That’s incest, and Paypal says these sites can’t sell it, therefore you can’t buy it there.

If I wanted to write a story about a woman who has a specific rape fantasy (and if you don’t understand the difference between that and rape, educate yourself) and convices her friend to tie her up so she can live it out, Paypal says no. We won’t allow these sites to carry stories of that nature. They want to–they used to–but we find it obscene.

So it might not be long before Paypal decides that two brothers doing the same person, even if the disclaimer makes it clear that they brothers don’t touch “for titillation,” or that having sex with people who can turn into animals and display any kind of animalist characteristic when aroused is also obscene. As put out as I personally am with Siren/Bookstrand, I sincerely don’t want that to happen.

The underage rules are really the ones to watch. Now, if someone decides that your character, no matter what the stated age, behaves like a child, it’s underage erotica. Because somehow, someone sitting in an office knows what the writer was thinking while writing it. Can so few people really see the danger in this kind of judgment?

Fiction is protected speech for a reason. What all the writers who admit to being happy about the suppression of FICTION don’t seem to see is that every time someone points at fiction and says “no, you can’t, that’s obscene,” they’re trying to control people’s opinions and exert power over the way people think.

Judging by how many express vicious gleefulness at seeing other writers’ work suppressed, those who want that power don’t have to work too hard.

One last thing really sticks in my craw here. There are many writers who really do get it, and are standing up in defense of fiction, no matter what the topic. I’m so glad to see this. Unfortunately, a common first sentence in all these statements is, “I would never write or read such a thing, but..” “I personally find that distasteful, but…”

I’ve said similar things in similar situations, I’m sure. Some things just aren’t my cup of tea. It’s the regularity with which it’s said that’s astounding here. Especially that people stress they would never read such things, but defend the right for it to be written and available.

I defend the right for it to be written and available. A fictional rape is the same as no rape at all. Fictional incest is not incest. Fictional bestiality isn’t hurting any animal anywhere.

But do I read the stuff? I’m not going to tell you. Do you know why? And this is the point, this is the problem with the whole situation, and summarizes my feelings in one compact little sentence, which makes me wonder why I just spent a thousand words on it.

*What I choose to purchase and read is nobody else’s fucking business.

cherryallen (30 Posts)


13 comments

  1. Taylor Gibbs says:

    *applause* What a great post! Censorship is the beginning of tyranny. When someone else regulates what people think/feel/have opinions on, this is a very dangerous slope.

  2. Oh man, Cherry, I think I love you in a very non-platonic way.

    I don’t mind the ‘i don’t read/write this’ because I take it to mean: I’m not defending this because I’m a creator/consumer of this kind of work, but even though I’m not, I think people should be able to create/consume whatever kind of fiction they like.

  3. tejas says:

    Puritanism: The fear that someone, somewhere, is enjoying themselves.

    I’ve been following this stuff since Taylor pointed it out to me. Gotta say, I’m still stuck on why *reading* ANYTHING “for titillation” is an issue at all (maybe for a spouse or a shrink, but otherwise?). Well, I know, *why*, because there are people out there so afraid that someone else might not share their worldview that they have to stomp down anything different with a steel toed boot. I get drawing the line at legalities for all the real world reasons that forced those decisions. What I DON’T get is pushing that line past the legal line. What that tells me is that fear that someone might be being hurt in the making of these stories or as a result of them has never been the issue with these types. It’s nothing more than a cover for their actual agenda, which is trying to remake the world in their own image.

    Sorry, but their image stinks.

  4. I can think of one book that has led to abuse of women, children, gays and minorities – a book that has provoked countless wars and senseless deaths, such as in the infamous witch trials…

    The Bible.

  5. Excellent post, Cherry!

  6. […] TechCrunch) Agreements Are Complete–Indie Authors and Publishers — NBP as Vendor (also NBP) I Wasn’t Raped by a Guy Not My Dad, during which No Children and Animals Were Present (Cherry Allen, One-Handed […]

  7. dave94015 says:

    Writers & readers of erotica shouldn’t be shamed into the closet on this one!

  8. Great post Cherry. You’ve hit on the exact problem I have with this entire clusterfuck. Anyone in mainstream fiction can write about a killer who rapes and kills people. That’s rape for titillation. But somehow when you add sex to it it’s suddenly “obscene”.

    If it’s legal we should be allowed to judge for ourselves whether it’s fit for our own consumption. This choice should not be left up to someone else.

  9. Sessha Batto says:

    Another excellent post on this oh so important topic. As a proud author of now banned books I stand by my content. I will not modify it (a scary slippery slope that many are resorting to) and I most assuredly will not apologize for it. If you don’t like it, don’t read it has always been my motto in life. If you don’t like it, I’m fine with that – it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. BUT, how dare they say it shouldn’t be anyone’s cup of tea. We can’t allow ourselves to be shamed into allowing a payment processor to dictate what we think, write, read or feel.

  10. Sherry Palmer Walter says:

    Oh I love this post, it is sssooooo what I have been saying. If we allow the Morality police to say what is and isn’t allowed than we are lost. Freedom of speech will mean nothing. We will become like countries we fight against, where human rights are squashed. Women can’t vote, women can’t go to school…some books are evil, the writers are evil. Enough! we live in free countries. Why is “one” financial institute allowed to tell people how to live, what to read, where and what to buy??? Do we want to live in countries run by religious zealots who decided how we can even breath.?
    If we don’t fight back, the next thing we know all books except “pure Christian” books will be banned.
    Another thing that irritates the hell out of me is who told these people they are allowed to be Judge and Jury? Is there Bible different than mine? Have they not heard?

    “Judge not lest ye be judged.” ” Let he without sin cast the first stone.” ????

    I would be willing to bet the sum of the money I spend on books a month(which is a lot) that there isn’t one person who owns or is affiliated with this financial monster, that does not have a skeleton in their closet.

    I am sick of hearing about all of it, but even more sick that it has happened. How many men and women have died to fight for human rights in other countries?? Now we have to fight for it in our own? Makes no sense to me. Freedom of Speech is one of the given rights in “free” countries. DON”T allow it to be taken away, so easily.

  11. […] ≈ Leave a Comment As you’re all aware, I’m sure, about the PayPal versus E-tailers issues, I thought I’d give another view of it and tackle something touched upon in http://onehandedwriters.com/2012/02/26/i-wasnt-raped-by-a-guy-not-my-dad-during-which-no-children-an… […]

  12. What I keep thinking is that these companies are choosing to bend over and take it up the ass from Paypal. True – they don’t really have any opportunity to switch (due to the tight deadline Paypal pushed on them and the fact that there are so many limited other online pay resources.) but are they doing anything about it in other formats? Are they announcing that these restrictions are placed on them by Paypal to the general reader…pretty much every reader I’ve chatted with had no friggin’ clue this was going on.

    I just keep going there has to be something we can do about it…sue for money’s lost, sign a petition to tell Paypal they don’t have the right to do this…something… it doesn’t even feel like we can lodge a complaint. But my lover keeps saying there really isn’t anything we can do and that’s the thing that’s the most frustrating.

  13. […] TechCrunch) Agreements Are Complete–Indie Authors and Publishers — NBP as Vendor (also NBP) I Wasn’t Raped by a Guy Not My Dad, during which No Children and Animals Were Present (Cherry Allen, One-Handed […]

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