Although I suppose a lot of people would dispute this, I consider what I do for a living to be semi-related to the sex industry. Writing romance, sure I understand I’m not naked on camera, I’m not writing hard-core erotica, yes. But.
Like a growing sector of the porn industry, I’m selling sexual fantasies to women. I casually use words and portray scenarios that would give me sainted Ma a heart attack. I profit from someone else’s desire.
In the fan community, there’s a lot of overlap as well. I’m personally part of at least 4 Facebook groups whose only purpose is to direct liberated ladies to porn Tumblrs, gifs, penis pics, etc. It’s all part of the same beautiful community of women who are not ashamed to discuss their sexuality, their fantasies, who casually discuss sex toys the way men have discussed women for centuries.
I love being part of it. As a feminist, it feels like a natural step towards equality.
The elephant in this sexy little utopian room, of course, is James Deen. We were ALL obsessed. He was so cute. He did all these supersexy moves while staring intensely into the girl’s eyes. He made a huge deal of being into sex with ALL women, not just the shaven, tanned, siliconed ones.
We were all complicit in equating that to him being an ally. Or at least a lover of women. Even less than that, he just seemed like a regular guy who was really good at sex. We all projected on him.
When Stoya came forward with her allegations of rape, I thought we would all stand with her. I thought we would all say, “holy shit were we wrong.” I thought we would all delete the Instagram pics of ourselves in WWJDD tees. (Um, well me anyway. Cause it turns out what he would do is NOT something I’m okay with.)
The thing is, that’s not what happened. More and more and more women came forward. Some had assault or rape stories of their own about him. Others just heard enough rumors that they refused to work with him for fear of rape or assault.
And in return, more and more women from the romance community defended him. One woman even started a campaign for survivors of rape to support him. Think about that.
A survivor of rape, supporting a rapist.
It’s truly time for this community to stand up. We are empowered, liberated, sexual women. We need to stand up and say- no, SHOUT- that we believe women. That sex workers are due the same protections and sympathies as the characters in our books. That we are like them, because we. Are. Women.
And we stand together.
I’m with Stoya, and Joanna, and Tori and Ashley and Amber and Kora and Nicki and Lily and TM. And I’m with every single one of YOU who has been scared to come forward. Because I am a woman. And a mother of a girl who will someday be on her own in this world. And I never, ever want her to wonder if women will believe her.
Come stand with us.
And something else that just occurred to me and made me immediately ragey. That statistic about 1 in 4 women being victims of sexual assault? That we learned in health class and Cosmo and everywhere on the internet?
WHERE IS OUR ANSWERING STAT ABOUT HOW MANY MEN ARE ASSAULTERS???