Lately, it seems that if we – the people – talk about anything, it’s taken as a spin on politics. Ok, this kinda makes sense after what happened in the American election… but I don’t want to talk about politics. I want to talk about the human condition. You see, that is what I write about.
The problem is that much of the human condition is debated in politics. That makes this a very big, very grey line. I think I can walk it. At least, I’m willing to try. My goal isn’t to offend anyone or to rally for anyone. It’s to talk, think, and ponder – because that’s what authors do. We take the status that people know and understand, bend it a bit to make the whole thing fantastical, and then give it back with a shiny new skin.
For me, I have two themes that keep appearing in my work:
- Strong women can be sexy and sensual without losing power.
- Hope can overcome anything, because it’s what inspires us to do face the hardships.
But just stop and look for a second at how close I just came to politics! Hope was a big thing for that one guy about four years ago. Women? Yeah, well our rights are always center stage in American politics.
So, for the record, I want to clear up a few things:
- I don’t care how you feel about taxes, borders, or preferred political party.
- I do care about human rights regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion (or lack of religion). I believe that people – even those who disagree with me – deserve to be treated with hope and compassion (the caveat: and in the same manner they treat others).
- If you’re a hypocrite who thinks the rules apply to you and no one else, I hate you. If you’re an idiot who can’t wrap his (or her) mind around his (or her) own ass, I want nothing to do with you. If you don’t buy my books because of it? I’m perfectly ok with that – trust me, those two dollars won’t change my world that much.
- I’m kinda big on that whole equality thing. I mean, if you haven’t noticed, or anything.
- I do feel strongly about politics. I also think that it’s best kept right beside my porn collection and dorky coffee cups – where no one else can see.
So. Now that I have all that out of the way….
For most of my life, I have identified as an Egalitarian. I believe that all people should be treated under the same standards. No matter what God you pray to (or don’t), you should have the same protections if you’re declared insane. No matter what gender you identify with, you’re held accountable when you rob a store. No matter what race you were born into, you have a right to stand up for others when you see inequality. And, most importantly, no matter who you are, if you want the privilege that comes with something, expect to do the work and take on the responsibilities to get it.
I think most people can agree with me. Not all, and I get that, but most.
Now, the irony here is that I spent most of my life refusing to be a feminist. I think that it’s too easy to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction. I believe that the state of humanity drives us for a little vengeance when we finally get some traction. That means feminism, for most of my life, has seemed like just as big of a problem as sexism, but in the opposite direction.
I think that men are often stuck in a very difficult place. Look at any of our modern romances! We want them to be strong, sexy, unrealistically beautiful, and yet be sensitive without showing any weakness. Conversely, we expect them to love us for our fat, out of shape, aging bodies, not think a thing when we’re too tired to be all sweet and sexy for them, and lose it at the drop of the hat (or some hormonal swings, but it’s kinda the same from their point of view). That’s not exactly fair, and to me, it’s not really all that appealing. I mean, I get it. Wouldn’t it be NICE if it worked like that?
But it doesn’t. So we try to bend the rules, ideals, and mythos to make it happen. It won’t. It can’t. Men are just as human as women. They have their own dreams and goals. They’re just as valid as ours, and a little masculine escapism isn’t subjugation. It’s just one of the glorious aspects of human nature.
Conversely, my husband is a feminist. I have no idea how, but he’s managed to capture the perfect balance between strong and protective yet sensitive and domestic. This is a man who not only believes women are equal, but he lives it daily, proving it through his actions. He cooks, cleans, and romances me regularly. I work, work, work, work, then work some more. We have complete gender reversal in our house – yet not. He “cleans” the house with a shop vac. He plays with a welder, drives a tractor, and cooks on the grill. I write sensual sex scenes, love painting my nails, and have an addiction to salon day.
He feels manly, I feel feminine, and together, we have the most disgustingly perfect relationship in existence. (Where do you think I get my inspiration from, people?). But lately, something has changed. I think it started a few years ago, but I’m honestly not sure. Somewhere along the line, I decided that I was tired of the sexism that most people didn’t even notice when it was happening. Worst of all, a large chunk comes from women! The societal expectations for us are so ingrained that we can no longer see the inequity of it, and that makes me so sad.
But, my problem is that I’m not sure if it’s safe to talk about. I mean… politics! How can I rant about sexism without sounding like a parody of the nightly news? How can I talk about romance novels and those sex scenes without getting into birth control and reproductive rights? Including diverse characters and not discussing the prejudices they face every day? Popular culture and all the misogyny? I mean, things like men who think they have a right to treat women as property? That was kinda all over the news… and pretty darned political.
Well, after a week of thinking about it, pondering the implications, and weighing my options, I’ve come to a decision. I don’t care. If continuing on like I have before labels me as a liberal nut job or right wing idiot, then have fun with that. I must admit, I’ll be interested to see which it is.
And so, this was a very long way around my coming to a decision. You see, there is an elephant in this room. For those of us who try to transcend things like daily life, we’re hyper-aware of it. We can’t rant about our political beliefs on our facebook pages – that are viewed by fans who aren’t interested. We can’t toss out a tweet about it without drawing all the wrong kind of attention. We also can’t close our minds to the other side, because um… it’s kinda our job to write about changing views. We authors call that character growth.
So let me take this moment and point it out. These are elephants:
My opinions are not, and I’m going to have them.
They are what inspire me to write. They’re what fuel my next story. So yes, I will be talking about women’s issues, because women are a very strong part of my storylines. I also will not promise to avoid anything else in popular media.
I’m sorry if that offends anyone, but the stories must go on.