Whore

It’s funny to me how much whores are looked down on in our culture, while at the same time, a woman who doesn’t look like someone a bunch of people would want to fuck is so devalued. I mean, I know it’s because women are devalued period. But there’s something really fucked up about how much of our culture is “You are bad or evil or fucked up or victimized if someone gives you money to fuck you,” while at the same time being “Well, sure, of course we give more money to women who people will want to fuck.”

Like where’s the line? Of course there is no line. But god damn.

Anyway, this from EW:

Still, you can’t count on selling a book on the writer’s talent alone—so while factors like being photogenic or savvy with social media won’t make or break a deal, they can definitely sweeten it. “I actually knew very little about [Sweeney] when I bought The Nest,” says her editor at Ecco, Megan Lynch. “I didn’t know that, for example, she knew Amy Poehler well enough to approach her for a blurb. That was a happy bonus.” Lynch stresses that while she would never “decline a book I loved because I felt like the author wouldn’t be able to handle an NPR interview, it would certainly affect how determined I might be: Am I going to hang in for another round at auction, or drop out?” Herr, for her part, acknowledges that an author’s appearance can affect an advance — “We look at all of that stuff” — but insists, “We would have paid her the same money if she weighed 500 pounds and was really hard to look at. That’s my firm belief.”

I can’t really express how this makes me feel. It makes me mad in every sense of the word. I want to believe, have to believe, I’m getting rejected because my story is just not what people want and that the next story could be better, could find a home.

But I can’t become the kind of woman you want to look at, if you don’t already find me pleasant to look at. And the idea that my work is fine, but someone has looked me up on the internet and seen me and made the same judgement that the fucking Pith commenters make about me every day, that men in my family have made about me, that the whole fucking world every day… it just makes me feel insane. Like, what am I even doing, striving for something that the people who can give it to me literally think I am unworthy of?

Intellectually, I know that, when someone tells you that you’ll only be worthy of something once you achieve some arbitrary, unrelated thing, they’re intentionally trying to keep you from the first something. They’re trying to improve their odds of getting love or being successful or whatever by slamming the door in other people’s faces.

I know that.

It still sucks. This is the only body that I have. This is the only face I have. And I’m only getting older. This is literally as good as I get. To think that might keep me from success as a writer sucks.

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3 thoughts on “Whore

  1. I had to look it up–don’t think of Entertainment Weekly as how to judge yourself or your writing!

  2. FWIW… Every agent worth beans I’ve ever interacted with or observed (including my own) is more interested in the writing than the face. Maybe for EW, when we’re talking about crazy-ass mega lit-fit book advances…maybe. But for SFF/Horror, I don’t think that applies (and I am enraged at this article, too).

  3. Yeah, I think that’s true. I also think that one of the reasons for that is that sff/horror is filled with a lot of male editors and so the dynamic is different. Which is not to say that men don’t respond to how women look, but that, if a man was open with this attitude, women authors would warn each other about him and there’d be a sense of him possibly being a creeper in all facets of his professional life.

    But, in my experience, my whole life, this is something women do to each other–assign value for each other based on whether we think the other women is acceptable enough for men to want to fuck. It’s really demeaning and undermining, but, like, I don’t think that editor is any danger to me as a person (where I might, if she were male).

    To me, this is more like “when sororities go wrong” as opposed to “when frat parties go wrong,” and, though both dynamics suck, we seem better able as a writing community to deal with the latter.

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