Links: Saturday, March 22nd

March 22, 2014 Links 0

An animated gif of a grey and white cat  viewed from between a person's legs. The cat wiggles its butt before launching itself at the camera .Pounce

  • Harmful Communication: The “I Love You” Defense – Now this is a post I want every romance author to read. If the characters are arguing about something and the defense boils down to “I love you, and I was just doing what I think is best for you” I am not here for it.

    Here’s the thing: Love is a verb. (So is “care” in the similarly deployed “I care about you.”) It’s not a fixed state of mind, where as long as someone has decided they love another person, that’s all there is to it. Love is an action—or, better, a series of ongoing actions that constitute loving behavior. The act of loving somebody.

    When “I love you” is deployed as a defense, an invoked reminder, it functions to communicate the idea “I can’t hurt you, because I love you.”

  • My Trans Story is Not Your Growth Experience – Trans writer Quinn Rosenberg discusses the popular book narrative of the cis woman confronting her prejudices when she finds out her husband is trans and how it makes trans* people’s lives into a character building experience for cis people.

    cracked open the book, and immediately shut it. Of course. This was a memoir of another cis-woman who finds she isn’t as enlightened as she thinks she is when she finds her “husband” raiding her panty drawer and is subsequently transformed into a better person through the grace and patience of her partner.

    As a member of a minority whose voice is very rarely heard, much less listened to, seeing such a piece of media unfailingly irritates me. It makes me feel like Richard Pryor in The Toy. My presence in another person’s life leads them to grow as a character, to undergo an arc. Character arcs are what define protagonists in stories. If a character goes through some trials and challenges and ultimately comes out of the story a different person, for better or worse, then they are a more fully realized character. As a trans person in this narrative I am relegated to a plot device. An obstacle. Something that must be overcome in order for the real protagonist, the cis-woman, to complete her arc.

  • Writing Latin@ Characters Well, Part 1. What are you? – A tumblr recently collected all the links to this nine-part series on writing Latin@ characters written by a Mexican-American blogger, and I thought authors might want to take a looksee.

    So, as a reader, I am not expecting a writer to pinpoint the “correct” terms. I am expecting the writer to be aware of the complex array of terms out there and how many, many factors come together, in degrees varying from individual to individual, to determine how people like me self-identify. If you, as a non-Latin@ writer, create a character who is just a version of you, but with brown skin and a different surname, it’s not going to work. It won’t feel authentic, because, to paraphrase Sherman Alexie, “We know a lot more about being white than you know about being us.” And readers (even white ones) will know the difference. They will feel the difference.

  • What’s Missing from Journalists’ Tactic of Snagging Stories from Twitter? Respect. – Tina Vasquez has a piece for Bitch talking about how the largely white media treats POC communities on social media as a novel curiosity they can mine for content rather than an important demographic theycould interact with.

    The night Fox curated her conversation, I saw how other women of color, those who often tweet about feminism or social justice issues, appeared to be waiting for the other shoe to drop—because they knew it would. It was only a matter of time before the conversation was co-opted. This is what happens on Twitter. Women of color’s tweets get quoted without permission or without proper attribution, their conversations turned into stories by journalists who never interact with them, just lurk in their timelines, then get paid for turning their tweets into stories. Voyeur journalism.

  • Tweeters of the World, Unite! – If you’re not yet sick of the thinkpieces that were inspired by the “what were you wearing when you were sexually assaulted” conversation, this is a great post about commercial media finding the words of WOC are good enough to scrape from social media but not to pay for.

    Implicit in the idea that withholding one’s tweets would affect journalists’ ability to do their jobs is the notion that tweeters are producing something necessary to the “supply chain” of journalism. A Twitter blackout could be viewed as a form of labor action, with tweeting cast as a form of work. That work is obviously unwaged. Are some Twitter users becoming an unpaid workforce exploited for their intellectual and emotional labor?

    I reached out to @bad_dominicana, who prefers to be identified by her handle, to ask her to expand on her tweet. She wrote back, in part: “The cycle isn’t a week, but hours after our discussions, the Guardian, Buzzfeed and countless others come to graze off us without ever giving back. Lots of us started pitching and writing for the media that ripped us off to try and get ahead of the cycle and beat the thieves, but its still happening.” If a women of color blackout on Twitter occurs, she writes, “It’d be a long time coming.”

  • What I Want to Know Is Why You Hate Porn Stars – Finally, I enjoyed this poetic personal account from a gay porn actor.

    In high school, when I was a kid, a friend asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.

    A porn star, I said.

    It was a funny, half-formed kid’s dream, but I meant it.

    I’d seen porn, like most of the kids in my school at that point, and this was before the internet. Aside from the fact that the cool kids were talking about it, I wanted to do porn because it seemed like a no-brainer. People gave each other and themselves and the audience pleasure as their job? It was an amazing prospect. I wouldn’t have to be a banker or a stockbroker or whatever. I could be a porn star.

    Well, have fun getting AIDS, he said. He meant it, too.

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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.

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