Erotica and Social Responsibility

Anninyn

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Fine lets admit this. If we're talking about people who have rape fantasies- well. Hi there.

And I know that in real life it would be horrible and disturbing and traumatic- but it doesn't stop it getting me hot. Also, the fact that my husband would no more rape a person than he would wear their intestines as a jaunty hat, doesn't mean that playing along with my fantasies doesn't get him hot.

There is a difference between fantasy and reality, and as long as that's clear I see no problems.

I also get irritated by people implying I'm somehow sick and wrong for my desires. I mean, I'm sick and wrong, but not in a bad way, you know? I'm a grown woman, I think by now I'm entitled to feel the way I do. I'm just as entitled as anyone here to read stuff that caters for my kink.

The only thing I want is an acknowledgement, somewhere at the start perhaps, that this is FANTASY, and if you can;t tell the difference between your fantasy and reality...
 

Maryn

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Since we've had this discussion so many times I hadn't weighed in much on this iteration, but no, I don't think anybody who reads a specific kind of violence and finds it arouses them, when it's limited to fictional characters, has anything wrong with them.

Lots and lots of people into BDSM enjoy reading about characters being treated with brutality. They do not wish real human beings would suffer their fate, any more than you wish for real rapes.

What we generally all can agree on is that kidnapping, rape, heavy BDSM, and such don't fall under the tidy umbrella of erotic romance with a kink element. Those who publish it would serve readers well by identifying the bent of such works clearly, probably with separate lines targeting those readers.

Maryn, whose BDSM fantasies and her real-world wishes for herself or others do not align
 

Brindle Chase

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The only thing I want is an acknowledgement, somewhere at the start perhaps, that this is FANTASY, and if you can;t tell the difference between your fantasy and reality...

I don't think anyone was making that point. The point being made, is authors should heed caution presenting topics like rape, as a good thing. That rape is fulfilling and a blessing to our society. When you take something that is horrendous and sickening, and try to peddle it as something wonderful and enjoyable, for a few dimes... that, to me... is sick. Sorry. That's MHO

Rape fantasy is what it is. Fantasy. But if the author were to try to convince the readers that the victim is in love with the beatings, the forceful taking of them against their will, and can't wait for the deep scarring emotional trauma to kick in once the rapist has left them bloody and violated in the alley... Or that the rapist is having such good time, you should try it too, because you'll never know such amazing sex, until you've raped someone... that's where I think most humans should discriminate with extreme prejudice. The author needs to acccept accountability and responsibility for their words, same as anyone else... and if that's what you want to write... be prepared for how it is received.
 

kuwisdelu

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I don't think anyone was making that point. The point being made, is authors should heed caution presenting topics like rape, as a good thing. That rape is fulfilling and a blessing to our society. When you take something that is horrendous and sickening, and try to peddle it as something wonderful and enjoyable, for a few dimes... that, to me... is sick. Sorry. That's MHO

I would say stay true to your POV, whatever that may be in the story.

Rape fantasy is what it is. Fantasy. But if the author were to try to convince the readers that the victim is in love with the beatings, the forceful taking of them against their will, and can't wait for the deep scarring emotional trauma to kick in once the rapist has left them bloody and violated in the alley... Or that the rapist is having such good time, you should try it too, because you'll never know such amazing sex, until you've raped someone... that's where I think most humans should discriminate with extreme prejudice. The author needs to acccept accountability and responsibility for their words, same as anyone else... and if that's what you want to write... be prepared for how it is received.

If the author is actually trying to do that, then I agree with you. But I think it's important to discriminate being true to one's characters and the in-story POV and actually trying to convince readers of anything like that, which is my main point. The POV and the opinions of a POV character a not necessarily those of the author's, and I think it's important to acknowledge that. If we're dealing with an unreliable narrator of some kind, or one whose morals are at odds with society, then I would say not portraying that in some way is doing a disservice to the story, so it's an author's responsibility to the story to do so. And I would say under those circumstances, that the idea that the author is somehow responsible for all actions readers may take based on their reading or interpretation of the text is a dangerous slippery slope. If we're talking about an author that actually is trying to do what you're saying, then you're absolutely right.

And I think all of that is true of all fiction, regardless of genre.
 
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Brindle Chase

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I would say stay true to your POV, whatever that may be in the story.


I agree with that, actually. However, the author chooses the POV, the plot, the characters, the setting, etc. Choice comes with consequence, responsibility and accountability. As does freedom. If an author does not want to be accountable for their words, they shouldn't write them. Either you stand by your convictions, or you do not. IMHO.
 

kuwisdelu

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I agree with that, actually. However, the author chooses the POV, the plot, the characters, the setting, etc. Choice comes with consequence, responsibility and accountability. As does freedom. If an author does not want to be accountable for their words, they shouldn't write them. Either you stand by your convictions, or you do not. IMHO.

Again, I think you're vastly oversimplifying, but I think the issue of authorial responsibility and accountability is a discussion more appropriate for the Roundtable.
 

DiloKeith

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... the sub pees in a diaper for erotic purposes. It's depicted in a very non-squicky way...

I think sometimes authors think, because they are not squicked out by something, that the publishers and readers should not be. Most publishers, so long as its legal, will publish it, if they see a market for it. If they think most would be squicked... they squick and the author is left thinking, WTH.

I'm not one of those authors. I just find it frustrating that a book wouldn't be judged on its merits and would instead get an automatic rejection for a few sentences of content that most people would not find objectionable. This is more a problem with genre fiction in general, not social responsibility, so I should shut up now.
 
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dangerousbill

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I just find it frustrating that a book wouldn't be judged on its merits and would instead get an automatic rejection for a few sentences of content that most people would not find objectionable.

This is the reason I go to a specialized erotica group for critiques of my writing. When you put a piece of erotica in front of a general critique group, most of the comments end up being of the judgmental type.

'Jeez, do people really do that?' or 'That's disgusting!' or 'I'd never put my dingus in an electric pencil sharpener.' Nothing about characterization, plot, or anything else.
 

KimJo

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I definitely don't think there's anything wrong or sick about rape *fantasy*. I don't think there's anything wrong with an erotic story which presents characters engaging in a rape *fantasy*. (I think I have one out there somewhere myself, actually.)

My PERSONAL line is drawn when someone tries to present *real* rape as something enjoyable or something that the victim will really have fun with if she/he just relaxes. I've been raped. It ain't like that.

Everyone has their kinks; everyone has their lines. My line is that if someone is being physically and or emotionally damaged against their will, it isn't sexy, it isn't enjoyable, and it isn't erotic. Others may disagree.

Dilokeith, thanks for the offer; I'm sure I'll be in touch :)
 

Brindle Chase

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I'm not one of those authors. I just find it frustrating that a book wouldn't be judged on its merits and would instead get an automatic rejection for a few sentences of content that most people would not find objectionable. This is more a problem with genre fiction in general, not social responsibility, so I should shut up now.

Hmmm, I've never experienced that before. All of my publishers do judge a book for its merits, if your query catches their eye to begin with. Are you sure you are reading their submission guidelines? Is your story something they advertise as something they publish? Something's not adding up if you book(s) is/are getting auto rejected.
 

DiloKeith

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Hmmm, I've never experienced that before. All of my publishers do judge a book for its merits, if your query catches their eye to begin with. Are you sure you are reading their submission guidelines? Is your story something they advertise as something they publish? Something's not adding up if you book(s) is/are getting auto rejected.

I said "would", not "was". I meant the submission criteria would exclude an otherwise appealing book. Meanwhile, misleading BDSM gets published because it sells.
 
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Brindle Chase

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I said "would", not "was". I meant the submission criteria would exclude an otherwise appealing book. Meanwhile, poor quality, misleading BDSM gets published because it sells.


Ahh, I see. My bad. Well... publishers publish what they want. But I think you'll find there is a publisher out there for everything. Whatever the kink, there's one out there that will publish it.
 

DiloKeith

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I wasn't entirely clear before.

As for publishing - I just wish they had better labels for it. "BDSM" covers too much. No warnings, no qualifiers, nothing to give unsuspecting readers a clue about what the author and publisher consider acceptable for consensual BDSM. Oh, except we can be certain there won't be a stray drop of pee.
 
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Xelebes

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There are other labels that the industry tries to not use anymore. A big one is "brown-bag" - a novel(la) that explores the taboos in a rakish manner (incest, rape, fluid, bestiality.)
 

kuwisdelu

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There are many of things I would never do personally, but which I find interesting and arousing to read about in fiction. Though for me, that's mostly doujinshi.
 

Fruitbat

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This is the reason I go to a specialized erotica group for critiques of my writing. When you put a piece of erotica in front of a general critique group, most of the comments end up being of the judgmental type.

'Jeez, do people really do that?' or 'That's disgusting!' or 'I'd never put my dingus in an electric pencil sharpener.' Nothing about characterization, plot, or anything else.

:roll:

I'll just see myself out now... ;)
 

Filigree

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What Bill said. In fact, that's the reason why I don't put genre work up on the general SYW board anymore, because I'm damned tired of being critiqued by people who don't read my genres, don't want to read my genres, and want everyone else's writing to conform to their narrow standards. All their critiques can do is point how I can make my writing more accessible to their reading level and comfort zone.

I can't imagine putting erotica up on a general board.

Okay, rant over, sorry.
 

Fruitbat

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You, on the other hand, provided such an intensive and detailed crit of the first chapter I posted in SYW that I restructured the story completely, to its great benefit. Thank you.

You're welcome. You know we love you when you're dirty, Dangerous One. ;)
 

SafetyDance

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If you write a novel which contains a BDSM act which is not in fitting with the safe-and-sane guidelines--and there may be a number of valid reasons for that, to be fair--your publisher will still most likely label it BDSM purely to warn readers of the content. So there's one issue, right there.

I don't believe writers have much of a moral responsibility in anything, to be honest, but I do think that it is the mark of a good writer when realistic (ie bad) consequences apply to inadvisable acts. The realistic consequence of a BDSM act gone wrong, for example, is the victim's trauma. That often isn't prevalent in bad fiction. If the reader is going to get aroused by said act and said trauma...you can't control that, just as you can't control anyone getting aroused by the lovely Tragic Life Stories genre (and it happens. It's probably half the reason for the market).

My novel features an act which would be considered risky and unsafe in terms of BDSM. The perpetrator acknowledges the fact. That's how I left it, because as much as I can understand BDSM people (like me) wanting to be portrayed "positively," I won't treat them any differently to any other characters in my book. They're all just human, with their own faults and kinks and dodgy decision-making capabilities. All I can do is acknowledge the fact that it was unsafe, because the character knows that. Part of me thinks that some unsafe acts are legitimate kinks, actually, in terms of informed consent ("consent" being key).
 

Filigree

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I have this problem with a non-con act in the second chapter of a WIP. It's meant to be brutal and unsafe, from both a physical and mental standpoint. The perp is a secondary bad guy who has just decided to push the victim into a suicide or escape attempt, or damage him so much he'll have to spend time in hospital -- all to keep the victim from the primary bad guy. I don't want to soften this chapter, though I may have to. I certainly don't find it arousing. But it is needed to set up how bad the bad guy really is.
 

thethinker42

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I have this problem with a non-con act in the second chapter of a WIP. It's meant to be brutal and unsafe, from both a physical and mental standpoint. The perp is a secondary bad guy who has just decided to push the victim into a suicide or escape attempt, or damage him so much he'll have to spend time in hospital -- all to keep the victim from the primary bad guy. I don't want to soften this chapter, though I may have to. I certainly don't find it arousing. But it is needed to set up how bad the bad guy really is.

In that context, I wouldn't have a problem with it as a reader. If it was written (and the characters behaved) in such a way that I was supposed to find it arousing, or find it in any way positive, that would be different. But if it's clearly meant to be a negative thing, then it doesn't bother me.

My problem stems from, as an example, a character blatantly raping another, and a) the victim secretly enjoys it (so it's okay, even though the rapist doesn't know it), b) the rapist is certain the victim enjoys it (even though the victim is saying no, fighting, etc), or c) the victim falls in Stockholm Syndrome love with the rapist in spite of absolutely no attempt at redemption or any acknowledgment that what happened WAS rape. When I'm expected to *sympathize* with a rapist, or hope the victim falls in love with him, that's when books start flying across the room and bad words start flying out of my mouth.
 

DiloKeith

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Filigree, I don't see the problem. Like SafetyDance said, it's about being clear that the bad stuff is bad, not to soften or eliminate it. The author, the character, or both can do this.

Going back to SD's point, even kinky characters well-versed in SSC sometimes do stupid or unsafe things. The consequences make the difference.
 

thethinker42

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Filigree, I don't see the problem. Like SafetyDance said, it's about being clear that the bad stuff is bad, not to soften or eliminate it. The author, the character, or both can do this.

Going back to SD's point, even kinky characters well-versed in SSC sometimes do stupid or unsafe things. The consequences make the difference.

AMEN.
 

veinglory

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People regularly do unsafe things and get away with it too. I think having every unsafe act lead to psychological trauma, injury, pregnancy and HIV is also unrealistic.

Ultimately I think fiction is free to be whatever the writer/publisher/reader wants. It is fiction.

I have read rape, snuff and sorts of things and don't see a problem with that and think it has not polluted my brain or negatively affected me in any way. I would not expect such material to necessarily be in the public library but I think that if it is not available at all, that is a sign of religious and other moral demographics constraining artistic freedom.