Sarcasm AND alliteration in the same headline. This is like my best blog day EVER. Except there’s no flowchart.
I did a pie chart instead:
You had to know I was going to go there, so quit rolling your eyes at me. I couldn’t decide on a subliminal-message kind of color scheme, so I just went with hot pink for Girly Girl Power.
I do have a point, just shut up and keep reading.
The blatant, nonsensical, unnecessary and utterly fucking ridiculous weight-shaming in Kate Angell’s Squeeze Play provided a BIG FAT TARGET for my Darts of Mockery — and several people who read the review weren’t shy about borrowing my metaphorical projectiles (see below) or bringing their own to the party:
My infamous Darts of Mockery are stocked in three different styles:
- Wimpy little foam thingies with suction cups that don’t stick to anything, like the cheap Nerf darts my son bemoans.
- The middle-grade Velcro darts that stick if you “throw” them from three feet away, but don’t present a choking hazard for dogs of less than usual brain power.
- The big-boy, bad-ass, biker-bar, don’t-fuck-with-me darts with actual POINTS that may cause pain and will hopefully cause intellectual stimulation when aimed properly. You know, like at BOOKS, not authors.
I tend to use the don’t-fuck-with-me darts the most. No, really.
I decided I couldn’t let this latest episode of Piss-Me-Offery go without having a bit of light-hearted fun with it — but with some honest constructive criticism as well. I’m saving up all the snark for the group project following the lecture, so here’s the inaugural Insta-Love Online Seminar for Romance Writers:
Using Body Image as a Character Trait in Romance Writing
Don’t. Go. There.
The ONLY exception to this rule is making a character’s weight issues an integral part of the story. And that’s a trope that should be touched only by a very select few authors who have the sensitivity AND skills in characterization to make it work.
Helen Fielding did it brilliantly in Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Random Author, you are no Helen Fielding.
If you throw in references to pounds and sizes and scales and muffin-tops and Spanx, it’s going to come back and bite you in the ass. In more ways than one. (Was that snark? I made it a few paragraphs snark-free, didn’t I?)
It seems like a no-brainer equation to me:
Women come in all shapes and sizes.
Women are the ones buying and reading your books.
WHY would you take such a low-payoff gamble that is nearly guaranteed to alienate a significant number of your readers? Do the math. You’re not going to come out ahead.
And for the remaining readers who aren’t offended or annoyed, you risk kicking them out of their reading trance as they mentally grapple with the pounds:height:size ratios.
Case study: Squeeze Play by Kate Angell
While Stevie tipped the scale at one-thirty-six…
Her size sixes had evolved into tens and twelves
over the years, and the occasional fourteen.
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I estimate that EVERY SINGLE READER will remove themselves from the story to calculate Stevie’s height knowing that she wears double-digit sizes at 136 pounds.
Don’t believe me? The official Answer According to Twitter was that Stevie is approximately three feet, four inches tall. EVERY contributor to that discussion, including me, put not just the fictional character into the equation, but herself as well.
And for what purpose? None. Nada. Nil. Null. After all that bullshit, there was no character change or growth. The weight-shaming was just a superficial and lazy and insulting attempt at defining a non-entity character. It didn’t matter. It doesn‘t matter.
It should never matter.
And if you have your “hero” do the shaming….
You might as well just pack up and go the fuck home.
I made it to the end of Squeeze Play without noticeable damage to my Kindle, but I left little chunks of my brain behind whenever the dickhead “hero” offered his “blunt” and “honest” “advice.”
“Chocolate-covered strawberries are great comfort food.”
“Find comfort elsewhere.”
“Why all the concern?” His gaze darkened to jet, dropped to her breasts, then to her belly….
That crosses the line to MISOGYNY, and you’re out on two strikes.
Hey, Mr. Hero — you like it “blunt” and “honest”? Come over here so Betty and I can give it to you straight:
Thus endth the lesson for today.
Got it? Good. Because that shit is NON-NEGOTIABLE.
Now that the boring lecture is done…
Let’s move on to the Fun Group Project: Choose How You Lose!
If you’re joining this rant in progress, don’t miss the beginning and end of all this WTFery:
- World Series of Romance: Squeeze Play by Kate Angell
- Follow-Up: Fun with Fat Shaming! (Part 1)
- More Fun with Fat Shaming: Group Project!
- Even MORE Fun with Fat Shaming: The Low-Fat/No-Fat Edition!
- Final Round of Fun with Fat Shaming: The Guys