Can we talk about the book world drama right now?

There is rage on twitter and mass posts on Facebook about a certain romance book. (I won’t mention titles or author names as I can’t be doing with all that nonsense going on)
Basically one book in a series has been pulled by Amazon (or according to twitter yanked to be recategorised out of romance) for being about a 15 year old girl having a romantic liaison with a 32 year old man.

I can neither confirm or deny the truth to either the banning or the move to a category but what I can confirm is the disgusting attacks this author has endured. Threats to her own children!!! I will come back to that.

Now about the book, a lot of folks are attacking it and some defending it. Personally I write about surviving abuse so it would be wrong and hypocritical for me to defend the book completely, and such and would never condone anyone write a love story about an underage girl where sexual interactions happen with a grown ass man. I do not agree with this plot. That is my personal opinion, yet I won’t be reporting it or joining the mob with pitchforks.

It’s all sorts of ethically wrong , especially in this day and age where people are fighting hard for the rights of women to be better protected and open peoples eyes to the sort of grooming and abuse of power involved in ‘seducing’ underage kids. Not just girls. If this was a boy and grown ass woman it would still be wrong. That is a sensitive , triggering topic and literally world news right now as many countries take action over age of marriage and age of consent. 15 is still a child in my eyes. If a man wrote this book there would be equally as much revulsion and questioning of his sexual preferences. Pedophilia should not be sensationalised in a positive manner.

I pride myself in being an advocate against child abuse so my standing is obviously against the subject matter for all my moral and ethical reasons. However, as the lovely Kendra commented below – “What is bizarre about this whole thing is kinda not even about the book. It’s about censorship, book banning, free speech, the concept of consent, rape culture, sexual trauma and child advocacy “

I agree completely. It’s a complex debate that is being lost in the rabid behaviours of many in the community. This is way more than just ‘its’ wrong, ban it’ let’s act like vile people and drown out the sensible voices in a wave of angry attacks.
This is about also people misusing a system and “weaponising Amazon tools” to fit their own agenda. Cancelling an authors career. It’s ridiculous, this kind of mob mentality that rips our community down.

The irony is that these are the same people sending threats and writing malicious posts. Now I may be a bit dim here but I believe it’s morally worse to threaten real people, try to destroy someones life and make threats towards her family and children than write a book about an underage liaison. If you are fighting a cause like this then maybe you need to not be a hypocrite with your methods. Real life threats and assault on a child in a weird vendetta is actually worse than fictional statuary rape.

Give yourself a shake. Stop hiding your bullying self behind a cause.

Now many say ‘oh but it is fiction’ and I can see your point but a lot of young girls reading ‘fiction’ and seeing these kind of liaisons as romantic or ‘normalised’ due to adult authors writing these kinds of books sends the very wrong message to teen girls. We influence society by what we put out there as acceptable and unfortunately, this topic is literally hot news right now. I mean the mixed reactions to what is actually wrong here is a good pointer at how far society still has to come. Some really see no issue with this. And I mean women and mothers too.

We contribute to what is acceptable in society more than we realise, so stop and think if this is a message you want to teach your own young girls and boys. We should be educating when things like this arise and not look at people like this author as villains, but merely someone with social programming who doesn’t see wrong in what they have written. It means we need to put that message further into the atmosphere and in a way people listen. You don’t educate with threats.

We call this ‘rape culture’ and is a societal mess we are working hard to rectify. Let’s set a tone in our community that makes plots like this a thing of the past.

Consent is a conversation everyone is talking about in terms of child brides and the #metoo movement. It’s a conversation we should be having over this drama and it’s being lost in the mayhem. Too many women are programmed into thinking a relationship with a 15 year old girl really isn’t doing anything wrong and why not? A lot of women have children under the legal age of consent in many countries. Many readers were mothers by the age of 16. Underage pregnancy is a real issue and another reason we need to stop normalising this and give our kids a better example in what is right. We need to unprogramme this way of thinking and shine a light on rape culture and issues around consent.

At the end of the day it’s rape. Legally, morally, ethically. An underage child cannot consent (by law) and does not have the sexual and emotional maturity to be able to identify grooming abusers. We need to , as adults, stop smudging the line between what is right and wrong. Take all the emotion out of the debate and class the book as a book containing child rape. It’s not a romance book. Regardless to the plot beyond that.

However…..

Books exist containing such matter, incest, child marriages but none of them try to pass off as romance and so rightly neither should this.

But….

Should the book be banned? (Note that here we are talking about BANNING and not deplatforming. Those are two different things)
I am all for the removal on wesbites where it breaches TOC’s (deplatforming)

Hmmm, no. I think it should be put in a category/place befitting it’s nature, away from general romance and into one of the dark fetish, or niche type categories where things like bully romance exist. Where rape fantasies lurk. There are many books with undesirable plots in the world that have won awards. It is still a work of fiction. We don’t ban slasher books, murder, twisted weird books even if the real life scenario is wrong, illegal or downright sadistic. because it is still fiction. The author should not be getting attacked, threatened and such.

The book community can be a really toxic and aggressive place if you find yourself on the wrong side of the hordes and I do not condone it at all. Although in a way it’s a good thing there is outcry on the subject matter, it shows how far we have come in terms of the rights of children. It prompts posts like this to pick out the subject and again discuss it. That’s how change happens.

Some fiction is purely fantasy and although it makes us uncomfortable and maybe not our thing, others argue there is a healthy place for it. While I do not agree with this particular subject, I do agree we should not censor every single thing in the creative world. Personally I would have made the heroine over the legal age of consent as I don’t see without reading the book what reasoning it has for making her so young in a modern story setting. As a mum and aunt, the thought of that kind of story makes me uncomfy, yet where does it end?

Amazon made it very clear in recent years they were clamping down on books which have scenes of a violent or abusive nature. That includes Statuary rape. So I am not shocked this book has been flagged as romance is one of the biggest selling categories and needed a very good clean up.

Recategorise it so people know exactly what they are buying to read but do not completely ban it. Plenty sites cater to this weird stuff. A lot of historical romance has similar agings so its a bit unfair to ban the book and I don’t see you attacking those books or authors. In fact there are literally hundreds, maybe thousands of books with underage liaisons across the book world. If you feel that passionately then why are you not targeting a whole list of books? Why only the one surrounded by drama. We call this pack or mob mentality. Don’t be a ‘sheeple.’

I mean Lolita is a famous book about a 12 year old girl and an older man that became a massive best seller with a cult following….. Why? because sometimes banning books sensationalises them and makes them more sought after. Think Clockwork orange and what banning did to that book.

Censoring books is a slippery slope and merges into books with content that is on the same lines but completely different, such as autobiographies of child abuse. Because censoring hits at generalising subjects and not a book by book basis. Many books have underage relations , including the bible.

So that is one of the reasons why I am not on board with banning books. It’s too muddy a topic and one I myself cannot navigate. It’s too murky and complex and doesn’t always have the desired outcome. A lot of cult books which achieved millions in sales were banned at one time and hence another reason it isn’t always the best path.

Take this kind of thing out of general romance and stop acting like vile people. You lose your moral standing if in defending a fictional 15 year old girl you attack authors and threaten their family, which was really the main point of this post. It’s disgusting behaviour. Stop dragging down our community and step back to breathe and think about how your behaviour is as bad as writing about underage romance.

If you cannot voice an opinion without being an asshole then maybe be quiet.

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