Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A rant on morality of content in erotica (Becca's Birthday Wish)

Well that's been annoying. My latest book's published fine just about everywhere, no problem, no ADULT filtering. All's well and good... UNLESS! For once, Smashwords has been the more restrictive of places and I think just a little over-sensitive. They seem to think implication that someone under 18 could but didn't have sex, in their words "exploring such things" is unacceptable. 

Now I don't want to give them too much crap about it since I can understand where they're coming from and they are keeping open review dialogue with suggestions to add clarification that all characters are over 18. If it was Amazon I'd probably just get some rejected marker and have to ask some obscure email address why and they'd just go "Because it's unsuitable. We are able to offer free shrugs". I do like that Smashwords cares, but maybe a little too much this time. 

But maybe it just got a bit risque and scary, all these age numbers flying, it could get pretty crazy and try to fly something under the radar, right? Sure, but not here. Underage sex isn't publishable and I'm never going to try to, between people of the same age range or whatever. The point was to acknowledge that it does happen, and can be a very serious thing to young adults, but that peer pressure to participate in any sort of sexual culture isn't necessary to be seen as attractive or whatever. You'll find someone you love and want to have sex with at whatever age and they'll be worth the wait, but perception of time and age is different when you're younger and "everyone's doing it". 

The moral was very anti-underage sex exploration.

That's where things start falling apart here though, and what's bothered me enough to go on a rant about it. Ideally the fixes I've done are enough since I'll admit there was a couple other button presses that needed fixed too, and I don't know how I missed those, but all in all could have made it look a bit suspect. So far, I've just removed the age number from the synopsis and made a patronisingly obvious content warning that there isn't any sexual content involving minors (and won't ever be), just reinforcement of proper morality. 

Otherwise, I know it might not be the best avenue to make a moral out of it but it was a simple plot device rather than some grand crusade I was looking to devote a message to. And no, I'm not really writing to 'educate' and change the world but when you're open to writing sexual lifestyles and morals, you kind of expect to have the freedom to write "it's okay to not be pressured into having sex early" and not get it brought to questioned for being unacceptable. You expect it to make people smile and appreciate the modesty of the advice. The key point is not everything in (my) erotica is written for sole purpose of sexual gratification just because it's erotica. There's purpose, plot and feelings behind actions and plot drives that people think should be censored for sanctity through silence, as if "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" really means no evil will occur.

This really isn't a world of rainbows and wish fulfillment where cute buzzwords that people "need" will herald enlightenment and world peace. I might be being slightly hyperbolic about it all but really, I'd have expected other places to shoot it down faster if it was actually an issue of suspect content. Blargh ranting, I should be writing 17th century sisterly incest instead.

Bonus moral: Teach and practice sanity and equality free of any form of impersonal discrimination at your discretion. Don't expect something else to do it for you.

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