Friday 8 March 2019

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Don't Demand Authors Perform Their Outrage for You

Don't Demand Authors Perform Their Outrage for You

There has been another recent YA controversy where a marginalised author wrote a book that was harmful to another marginalised group, and insensitive about a tragedy. But that's not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about the people who demand authors from the marginalised group that has been harmed to speak out publicly about the controversy - like this.

This is completely out of order. Completely. Nobody gets to dictate to authors how they are supposed to respond to something offensive. As I said just earlier this week, authors are people, too. They get to choose how to respond.

You don't know how they have been affected by what has happened. You don't know if they are so hurt right now, they've had to take themselves away to process what they're feeling, alone, quietly. You don't know if they have a mental illness that has been triggered by what's happened, and all their energy right now is focused on looking after themselves.

You don't know if they're scared of what might happen if they were to speak out publicly. In the previous YA controversy - which happened just a few weeks ago - two women of colour received death threats for speaking out publicly, and had hoards of trolls in their mentions. Perhaps they don't have the emotional bandwidth needed to deal with bigots in their mentions that could - and probably would - come with speaking out.

You don't know what's going on behind the scenes. Some people choose to call in rather than call out; speak to them privately. Perhaps they don't want to vilify someone publicly - especially if they're also from a marginalised group. You don't know of the work and the conversations that are being had behind closed doors.

How dare you demand authors do anything. They are writers, that is their job. Yes, it is upsetting to have your marginalised group hurt, but to demand authors that share your marginalisation speak up about it is too much. It's not their job to do that. They're not ignoring it, or acting like it doesn't matter. They're dealing with things in a way that's better for them.

Why would you want authors to perform their outrage for you? Isn't it just enough that they feel it? Because of course they feel it. They don't have to say how upset and hurt they are to be upset and hurt. Authors have the right to privacy. Authors may be a lot more accessible these days because of social media, but that does not mean they owe us anything.

We're better than this, so do better.

Over to you graphic

What do you think on authors and how they deal with their hurt? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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  1. Not everyone responds to everything online. I can't stand people who post vaguely worded tweets like, "I see who isn't supporting us today..." like posting something on twitter is the height of help. I never even know what "controversy" they are talking about. Unfollowing all these people on Twitter made my timeline a much better place.

  2. I totally agree with you about this. It was really disheartening to me to see people calling out certain authors and demanding that they speak up about that situation. It's no one's place to decide if or how another person should respond to something like that. The whole thing got really nasty and ridiculous.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction