I’m constantly at a loss when interviewed when asked “And what is the message behind your books?” The answer seems obvious to me. The message is whatever the reader takes away from it which may well be different for each person.
In both my Cameron and Ailsa works I hope that one of the themes is that people are people and free to do their own thing, treated with respect and admired for whatever they do well. However I came up against my own prejudices yesterday and it was like hitting a brick wall. I’m a feminist. I was in there at the start, remember the bad old days and am still fighting for equal pay and treatment for all. Incidentally this includes non- discrimination against people who choose not to have children.
Riga, the female main character in the Alchemy series is making her own way in a still mainly- masculine dominated world despite the banning of the phallocratic religions. She works on an equal footing with her colleagues and has the same philosophy as me “take me as I am or walk on by”.
My dilemma came when I found my books being advertised along with underwear that I consider (along with the so-called “beauty industry”) to be demeaning and degrading to women. Fine, everybody can wear what they like and choose to look like any kind of clown if it suits them. I find the brain-washing of females to conform to a certain norm (dictated by men) to be distasteful. I’m not a prostitute. Why should I have to dress like one to ensure a man finds me attractive? Personally I think they look like a Christmas Turkey tied up with strings but is that is what they want to do, bits of flesh bulging out of the “forgot a bit” spaces… well fine. This was how I dealt with string!
Attractive is as attractive does in my book. I would much rather someone tell me they would like to get inside my mind than inside my drawers. That is my preference.
Maybe it is because I have had to work in a mostly masculine world where that kind of outfit would have been hazardous and inappropriate. It didn’t stop some men finding me attractive although this Flight Sgt got his ears tweaked for suddenly hugging me before the photo was taken. I was in charge, mainly teaching survival to these youngsters. The fact that they treated me with respect but still as a “pal” was a great accolade. (And if you are wondering why I am not wearing any headgear in that photo it was to avoid being saluted). We were dressed as Army in that comp as we were playing the enemy in a Casualty Evacuation exercise.
So, given that my books are another blow in my constant battle for women not having to pretend to be what they are not, for them to be accepted for what and who they are, I don’t want them advertised next to exploitative crap.
Do I enjoy getting dressed up? Oh yes! I love being a pirate or a fox ..