Today, I’m proud to present you with yet another intriguing guest post. When I read the title of Jezebelya’s post, all I could think was “Yes please!!”.
I started wearing makeup when I was 14. Soon after, I didn’t want to leave the house without it anymore, while just months before that, I never wore makeup at all. Why this sudden change?
I grew up as an ugly duckling. Or at least, if I was supposed to believe my classmates and teachers back then. When I was 13 (and changed schools), all of a sudden, people started to ask me if I was a model; I was flabbergasted. It might’ve even introduced me to the concept of vanity, which is probably the main reason why I started wearing makeup in the first place.
However, one day, I was already late for class and rushed to school without ‘putting on my face’, not really thinking much about it at the time. That day, the kids at my high school asked me if I was sick because I looked awful and pale, and “fucking ugly”…The result is that, to this day, I always wear makeup when I go outside because I feel like I’m the ugly duckling from primary school again if I don’t. The other reason is that if you’re considered to be a pretty woman, you’re not allowed to look tired. Or, you know, normal. Even though this peer pressure sickens me, I can’t seem to put an end to it in my brain. While I consider myself to be a feminist at the same time. Which is why I’m definitely going to read Jezebelya’s book, because it deals with this subject and more. Now, onto her actual post! -Anne
How to Deal with Criticism When Writing About a Controversial Subject
by Jezebelya Orobas
Writing about controversial issues is a skill that not only non-fiction writers must learn, but it also applies to writers of fiction. While many authors try to avoid writing about anything that might offend their readers, you might be surprised at what offends people today. Writing about controversial topics can prove fatal to the career of any author, which is why it’s so important to learn how to do it correctly before you begin writing.
For example, my friends Shiva Thejust and Vishnu Tannay wrote The Unconquerable Heart, an action/adventure work of fiction which deals with autism, gender equality, LGBT issues, and one hot button topic in America right now – transgenderism. The way they wrote it resulted in great press for them, but it could have easily been quite the opposite. If your fiction book includes a topic that has appeared in the news headlines recently, there is no way of escaping the scrutiny of the media as it applies to your book.
When I wrote All Women Are Whores, I made a conscious decision to embrace the controversial topics head on. I knew that the title would spark controversy, but I didn’t realize that it would result in a social media backlash leading up to feminists calling on Amazon to ban my book. Feminists who, by the way, admit to never having read my book. It’s a book about female empowerment with a facetious title, but not a lot of people get that when they see it on social media or on Amazon.
The controversy surrounding All Women Are Whores doesn’t stop at the title, however. In the book, I write about a number of harmful social issues and give real-world solutions to each, such as archaic social archetypes put into place to prevent women from being successful, the perverse use of the female figure in advertising, and comprehensive sexual liberation. If all of my solutions were put into action, a lot of people’s morals would probably be offended, but it would also mean the death of thousands of global businesses in order to achieve social justice.
I also call for a boycott of the fashion and cosmetics industry – both of which I have worked in for many years – in order to put an end to what Naomi Wolf calls the Beauty Myth as it applies to the beauty industry. I renamed this the ‘Cult of Beauty’ in All Women Are Whores because I went one step further by calling out the fashion, cosmetics, pornography and diet supplement industries, which have proved to have devastating, and in some cases fatal, psychological effects on women.
Half-way through writing the chapter about the Cult of Beauty, I realized how ludicrous it was to go against a multi-billion dollar industry. I am not asking the reader to replace the role in their lives filled with fashion and cosmetics – which women have been programmed from birth to use on a daily basis – with absolutely nothing. But I feel like these are topics that we cannot continue to sweep under the rug and act like they don’t exist when there are studies linking the Cult of Beauty to an increased suicide rate among women. So, I implore authors to go ahead and write about all of those controversial topics, but for God’s sake, learn to do it correctly if you want to continue to write books. This is why I made absolutely sure that the wording I used when writing about these topics was very careful and deliberate.
As writers, I think that most of us thrive on achieving that ”flow” state, in which our thoughts fluidly and freely spill onto the page. You simply can’t do that when you’re writing about a controversial topic. The best advice I could give to writers who are taking up controversial issues is to assume that your words will be used against you.
When writing about controversial topics, authors can escalate each topic to the point of reaching critical mass. Then, just when the reader expects you to say something damning, they can use vague wording which will still get their point across, but is also left open to interpretation if and when they get called out on it later. You can find many of these examples in my book, All Women Are Whores.
~About the Author~
Jezebelya Orobas is an author and ex-fashion model who founded and built her own modelling agency by the age of 21. Today, she is an artist, media blogger, traveller and observer. She puts a lot of focus on scientific research and the psychological influence of media and advertisement.
She is working with financial astrology and Astro cartography to help people improve their investments and business decisions. Jezebelya lives in Monaco and is of American/German origin. She plans on travelling around the world to embrace femininity and combine it with a new, modern form of feminism.