Seanan McGuire (seanan_mcguire) wrote,
Seanan McGuire

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Things I have learned, things that make me proud, and clarifying things.

Things I have learned in the last week:

If you make a post about the state of rape culture in urban fantasy, be prepared to deal with a lot of comments, reposts, and administrative scramble. This is not a complaint, I just want to write it down so that I'll remember next time. Also, I am still answering email and comments, it's just taking me a little while.

Things that make me proud:

With one exception, every discussion thread I have encountered has been totally civil and cool. Like, seriously, one site has had people going "but rape is essential to modern storytelling," and that is an amazing ratio. Thank you to everyone who has participated in this conversation, anywhere. This has been an incredibly civil, enlightening, interesting discussion, and I am so, so grateful that we all played nicely with each other.

A clarification of my position:

Okay, so. The one thing that I have seen people saying, which is reasonable, is that rape is an unfortunate reality of the world in which we live, and saying it never happens is not just unrealistic, it can feel like we're trying to erase the reality of survivors of sexual abuse. As a survivor of sexual abuse, this is absolutely not a thing that I am intending to do, or interested in doing.

But here's the thing. Had the question been "Will you ever write about a character who has been raped or otherwise abused?", I would probably have answered in the affirmative, just because I write a lot, about everything, and I'm not taking anything off the table. That wasn't the question. The question was "When will a character whose story you are already telling, who has not had this experience, have this experience on the printed page?" (Note that this was not the exact wording of the original question, but my reading of such. It's better punctuated, for one thing.)

I am not willing to write rape. I am especially not willing to write the rape of a first-person character, which describes all my current urban fantasy protagonists. I don't live vicariously through my characters, but there are sentences I am never, never writing as "I, me, mine." That doesn't mean I'm trying to erase the reality of sexual abuse. Just that it will never be a thing which happens during my books, because honestly, that is a thing I am not willing to put myself, my characters, or my readers through. I'm not telling stories that require it. I don't want to.

The other point I'd like to clarify is this: I've had a few people say that sexual violence should always be on the table simply because it's so realistic for male villains to want to use that against female heroes. Well, in my two primary universes, I have feral pixies living in a San Francisco Safeway, and frogs with feathers. If a lack of "I will dominate you with my dick" is all that makes you think I'm being unrealistic, I want some of whatever you're having.
Tags: contemplation

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