So...recently I submitted a couple of stories to a lesbian fiction website, I can't exactly remember why I thought it was a good idea. I don't think the site gets much traffic, so it didn't feel like much of a risk. Anyway. The site managers were having problems with one of my files, it kept coming up corrupted every time I mailed it to them. I sent a new copy on Sunday, and didn't hear back from them, so I supposed it was okay. This morning I went to the site just to check and see if it was linked/posted, if not, I would re-submit the file. Well, it is posted, and that's fine, but I also discovered that the story was prefaced with the following warning:
This Story is rated 'Adults Only' for its sexual content. CAUTION: This Story contains graphic depictions of violence, abuse, and of rape.
That upsets me, and I can't even articulate why (it's not just the bad grammar!). It made me wince when I read it, and it made me feel like there was something wrong with what I'd written, that people needed to be warned away from it. I don't think there is anything wrong with the subject matter (I also think "graphic" is overstating things a bit, as is the "adults only" tag, but that's another journal entry, some other time). It made me wonder, if 100 women clicked on this link, how many of those 100 would feel comfortable reading the story after see that lead-in line? It's a poorly written story, it needs work, but...I wrote it because I thought the topic was important.
Lesbians don't talk about woman-on-woman violence. They pretend it doesn't happen. There's no support system for a lesbian in an abusive relationship. Shelters are for women fleeing men, not women fleeing women. Partly this is a side-effect of feminism: we're all supposed to be focusing on the accomplishments of women, the potential of women, the oppression of women [by men]. It's difficult to do all that and then turn around and say, "Well, yeah, women beat other women, too." People like to blame violence on the patriarchy, and maybe there's something to that, maybe women learn how to be violent from men, but wherever its origins, it's always been a part of my "community" and maybe always will be.
I don't write much anymore, and when I do write, it's pretty stream of consciousness kind of writing, not a lot of determined thinking goes into it. But I can say one thing about my writing--and this goes for academic writing as well as fiction--it's *supposed* to make you uncomfortable. If you're not at least a little unsettled after reading something I've written, either you're not paying attention, or I'm not doing my job very well. It's depressing that people need to be warned away from confronting scary topics, it's depressing the things we don't want to face.