Tag Archives: Twitter trolls

#SaysTheEditor: Perpetuating Stereotypes


So here’s the deal. I use Triberr to promote myself and others. Even more than the promotion I’ve gotten out of it, I’ve gotten to know some really cool, diverse people. And yes, I often fill the Featured New Book Spotlight via Tribemates.

But every now and then, someone will pop up on my Twitter timeline, aggravated at what someone else wrote. This last time, earlier this week, it was a post I’d shared from a prolific author I’ve yet to read. HER post was a guest post from another author. So I’m what? Twice removed from the content of this post? Three times? If you click through, do you even SEE the West of Mars name anywhere on the post? Hell, I don’t even appear on the blogroll. But nope. I’m the target.

Pardon me while I sigh heavily.

It turns out that the guest poster is an erotic author who set a book in a nudist colony, and this nudist — and I’m not even sure HOW they saw my post, as they weren’t my followers in the first place — told me it was insulting.

I asked how.

They said setting an erotic romance in a nudist colony was insulting because it reinforced the stereotype that nudist colonies are all about the sex.

Now, I happen to know some nudists. They are pretty representative of the world at large: Some are all about sex, some aren’t. Some like the feel of the air on their skin, some like the people, some like not worrying about what their clothes say about them, some are all about the environmental benefits of doing less laundry. In short, it all kinds to rock the world, you know? And from where I sit, that’s a good thing. But then again, I used to live down the street from Mr. Rogers. Yeah, THAT Mr. Rogers.

So I disagreed and said that the story should be about the people first, the lifestyle second. What better way to dispel the stereotypes than to write a really good book that shows the stereotypes are wrong?

But no. The Tweeter told me I was WRONG. That when it comes to nudists, it’s ALL ABOUT the lifestyle, not the people who live it. And then they told me to kiss off because I clearly know nothing and have no desire to learn.

Umm… excuse me?

What makes a really good romance is that it is about the characters first and foremost. Readers want to connect to the couple; half the fun of a romance is envisioning yourself in the shoes (or, in this case, skin) of the lead characters. The setting becomes secondary, be it a Caribbean island or Regency England or a ranch.

Which means that in my viewpoint, setting a book in a place as stigmatized and as mysterious as a nudist colony is a good thing. The people who are going to pick it up are the people who are open to looking behind the fences, who are quite possibly looking for the truth about what colonies are like. These are the people with the open minds, the people who may even want those stereotypes to be debunked.

So back to my Tweeter. They (the avatar showed a couple, so who knows who I was being yelled at by) were insulted that stereotypes were being perpetuated. They refused to see any potential value in what this author had done, or to engage with her, who was responsible for the post and her research into nudists. And then the Tweeter insulted me directly.

Wow. What a way to convince people to see beyond the stereotypes. What a way to have a positive effect on the world.

Now, pardon me while I go shake my head and wander around for the day, unable to understand how a lifestyle is more important than the fascinating people (because all people are fascinating, in their own way) who live it. Because, you know… it’s obviously more important to live a lifestyle than it is to interact with your fellow man.