Saturday, March 31, 2012

Call for Stories for BDSM Fairy Tales

Leather Ever After: BDSM retellings of classic fairy tales
Editor: Sassafras Lowrey
Publisher: Ravenous Romance
Deadline: August 1, 2012
Payment: $25 plus a copy of the anthology
Story Length: 2,500 ­ 5,000 words

Once upon a time, in a dungeon far, far away, you were summoned to join the quest for the hottest and kinkiest retellings of your favorite fairy tales. I’m seeking hot, well-written stories about bondage, power play, sadism and masochism. Think dragon fire-play, princesses in bondage, evil step mothers, and happy endings too good to be true. Give me fantasy, or show me the magic all around us, when Prince Charming wins the leather contest with the help of his fairy drag-mother, Rapunzel is entangled in hair suspension and the little mermaid edgeplays with knives. I’m looking for a strong literary voice and characters with a a diversity of race, sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions. All characters must be over 18. It’s time to write a new ending to your favorite bedtime story.

Submission Guidelines: Email submissions in Times New Roman 12 point black font Word document (.doc) with pages numbered of 2,500-5,000 words to Please include your legal name (and pseudonym if applicable), short 50 word or less bio in the third person, mailing address, email, and title of the piece as part of your document.

Friday, March 16, 2012

How About Real Porn for Women?

Sarah Wendel of Smart Bitches Trashy Books has written an impassioned, intelligent response to the eternal publishing question, "Is Romance porn for women?" in response to the reaction to the best-seller status of EL James' 50 Shades of Grey. And, as an extra bonus, she's added her two cents on a woman's right to read arousing material. It's good. We should all read it,

But my response to this question is personal, because I came of age during the feminist movement in the late 70s, where the personal is always political, and my personal issues are not romance and porn, but feminism and porn.

As some of you may have noticed, I call myself a feminist pornographer on my Twitter description, and I consider that part of my personal brand.

Porn has been co-opted by men, and defined by men. Even though a handful of female directors have made porn for women, they were born in the crucible of porn created and crafted for men, so men have dictated this market. Porn, as we know it in America, is all about the male gaze, even gay porn.

Erotic romance is the only place where you will find the female gaze. Just look at those covers.

It is the only place in America where you'll find men objectified by women.

So, no, romance is not porn for women, because it doesn't always objectify the men (although the marketing always has), but erotic romance, in my not so humble opinion, IS porn for women. That there are stories and characters and metaphor is all icing on the beefcake. The sole purpose of erotic romance is to seduce and carry its readers into the fantasy that has a happy ending both literally and figuratively.

I love the chutzpah that Sarah displays in giving those who call romance porn the middle finger, but I want to go one further, and say, talk to the hand.

While romance may not be a feminist issue, erotic romance is. I have always seen feminism as the right to choose, and the empowerment to have choices. For me, a lot of that empowerment has been in freedom from other people's ideals of a woman's sexuality. We should have the freedom and the opportunity to choose from every level on the spectrum from asexuality to responsible polyamory.

Is calling 50 Shades of Grey "mommy porn" demeaning to women? You bet. So instead of trying to distance ourselves and divide ourselves into good girls and bad girls, why not upset the entire apple cart and say, yes. It is porn for women, and we want to own it.

Let's make real porn for women. Let's make porn better. Let's change the definition of porn.

Let's bring the the romance reading community and the sex positive feminists together and create feminist porn that will totally change the way women in this country are defined. Let's stop letting the male gaze define us.