Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Now Objectify!

I thought I would finish off this weird week by doing a two part series on nudity and women in fiction, and yes, you can fully immerse your mind in the gutter because I really want to hear your opinion about nudity and women in fiction. So sit back, relax, have a few beers, turn on those Dallas Cowboys on your t.v. Lock your doors and close your minds. It's time, for the two minute warning....whoops, wrong tangent.

The other day I was participating in a conversation about smaller government (a very big thing within a sub-circle of my Facebook friends), when a particular person we'll call Andrea decided, as some liberals are want to do when they find themselves on the losing end of a well thought out multi-pronged argument to change the topic by dumping on my book cover and saying I should be ashamed about objectifying women.

Now In Print

My reply, in its entirety, was this:

Sure, let's talk about how I objectify women. My avatar picture is my commercial debut called "Line 21". It's the story about a woman who's in debt to her uncle the loan shark, and the only way that she can come up with the $2000 in five day is to become an adult movie actress.

Now, if you have an issue with a woman using her body to earn money to pay bills, pay tuition for college, or simply to live a better life, that's your prerogative. But I can point you in the direction of dozens of women who do just that with what they do, be it with making movies, dancing as a stripper (Gold's Club anyone?), be in rap videos, what have you, in order to better themselves.

So please, tell me how writing a story about a woman who has an ethical quandary in using her body that way is objectifying her?

Andrea, do yourself a favor and go to a bookstore or surf Amazon and you'll find quite a few books written by women who have done exactly that, and not only have made a career out of doing it, but built a solid money making company out of it as well.

I finished the comment by doing a brief pimp of my book.

Suffice to say, Andrea didn't really have a response to my comment and instead switched to another topic of discussion.

However, the question itself did get me to think about what I write and how I write it.

While it's true for the most part that my stories are dripping with sex, or rather, have lead characters who simply ooze estrogen, it's also equally true that I make a genuine effort in creating my character as strong as they can be. Again, I know it sounds cliche, but I do enjoy making my characters use sex as a weapon of control.

Line 21 does have an underlying theme of control, in that Jeannie discovers (belatedly) that she can basically control her slice of the world simply by using what she has.

In my short story Red Stripe punk rock singer Krystal also uses her body, as well as her voice, as a weapon to control, inspired and incite the crowd with tragic consequences.

The point I'm trying to make, is that in adult fiction (as well as other mediums) sex sells, and thus requires a writer to use a certain amount of that particular weapon to enhance and/or round out a story. Doesn't necessarily mean that we objectify a woman (or man for that matter), only that we are using the gift that we have to the best of our abilities. No more and no less.

So my question to you is simply this: What is your opinion about turning a woman (or a man) into an object of desire and/or fantasy for the purpose of a story?


  1. Sex sells everything doesn't it? Thinking of rap videos, it's not just the women that use what they've got to sell the song. Thinking of guys like Nelly, LL Cool J, Usher etc. There is no doubt they are using what they've got just as much as women. Personally I'm not a fan of seeing sex being used as a weapon, but I'm quite happy seeing a beautiful body used in to add colour to a story or video, but of course my idea of beauty may be different from other peoples. ;)

  2. Hey, many conservatives would do the same thing :) Mainly because of the sex theme.

    My opinion're the writer, you do what you like. If I don't want to read it, I won't. Funny thing is, had she read your book, she'd know that your female characters run the show!

  3. Joe: Yup, sex does sell everything. :D

    And you do make a very valid point about the men using what they got in order to sell a song. People need to see the visual for a song as much as they need to feel it.

    While your idea of what beauty is different from everyone else's, it still can accomplish the same goal, only from a very tasteful p.o.v.

    M: She definitely has some strong opinios. I had a three day discussion with her last year about voter ID in Pennsylvania.

    And I agree, if you don't like it, no one is forcing you to read it.

    Still, while I may be the writer and as such, can write a character any way I see fit, I still have the occasional twinge of guilt when I do write them.

  4. If you were writing something about enjoying hurting little kids, then I would hope you felt guilty. Writing about consensual sex is nothing to be ashamed of, and you do it well.

  5. M: Thanks.

    It's not so much consensual sex between two adults, as it's creating overly desirable female characters that can make a person's jaw drop to the ground.

  6. Writers do that they feel they need to do, and make judgements about what they'll put in and leave out. Readers can make those same judgements, either to read what the author wrote or not. When writers and readers are coming from such different places as you and Andrea, there isn't really going to be common ground to get to. Or so it seems to me.

  7. I think there's a definite double-standard here. Perhaps you should've asked Andrea whether she'd read an obscure little series called Fifty Shades of Grey. :) Written by a woman for women, with sex on pretty much every other page...

    And how about all those romance novels that used to prominently feature a shirtless Fabio on the cover??

    Like you said, sex sells... and if you don't like it, then don't read it... :)

  8. Charles: Valid points made.

    I haven't been socked with much negativity in regards to my writig in quite sometime, so it was a tiny shock to my system.

    But I would've been more than happy to have an honest/structured discussion about it, if her point was made "I don't like that kind of stuff/why do you write like that?", instead of the condemning "why do you objectify women?".

    Lisa: Also valid points made.

    Romance novels of all shades and heat levels feature covers like you've suggested, as well as written by both sexes.

    And while sex does indeed sell, the type of that does really depends on the personal taste of the reader.


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G. B. Miller

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