Folks. Fellow writers of supernatural, urban fantasy and other such genres that happen in modern times with elements of fantasy in it. We need to have a talk. I hate to be the one to bring it up, but we have a problem with this whole…. sexy thing.
While I’ve spent my time reading John Dies at the End, I have a female friend who has just dove head first into Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files and she’s been trying to work out why every damn woman in the story wants his dick, why all of them are sexy and devious and sultry and how the hell one of them managed to make her nipples erect on cue. The more I tried to make excuses for the book, the less I found I could defend. The one female character not after his dick seems like a stereotyped feminist, not wanting a man to do anything for her because he is a man. The reporter wants to sleep with him to get the story. The description lingers far too long on how hot the women around him are instead of getting on with the damn story. By the end, I could only say, “Well, that’s what the genre is like.”
But really? It shouldn’t be. For one thing, it’s disrespectful. Both to the reader who wants the damn plot to continue and not know the contours of this woman’s unrelated-to-the-plot ass, and to the characters. Unless you have a character who is thinking about sex and picturing women naked all the damn time, we don’t need to stop everything to lovingly detail someone’s cleavage. Is he stopping to admire every single woman he sees, or does he have shit to do? Is he erect the majority of the story? Priorities.
And unless you’re writing porn, not every woman out there is going to want your main character’s dick. Have you gone out and met women? All attracted to very different things with very different interests and different things that you have to do to get them interested in you. If they ever develop an interest in you. Also, they don’t all have that stereotypical tall, thin and huge breasts look either. Different shapes and sizes, most of which can still be described lovingly and beautiful. Let’s get a little variety in our writing.
For another, it’s alienating to a very large potential reader base. I’ve now looked at the Good Reads reviews for the series and WOW is that series losing readers because of this. I can’t believe I have to say this, but ladies need to be treated like a part of the potential readers of a series, too. Let’s not just write it for the male reader. Heck, what about gay guys? Somehow I don’t think they like it all that much either.
The straight male reader is not the only one reading the genre.
For me, I’m going to try to make sure the ladies in my series are diverse and not used only as eye candy or a potential sex scene for the main character. If nothing else, at least I’m not going to actively try to offend my female friends with my writing.