by Kathleen Bradean
There seems to be two types of erotica (actually many more than that, but let’s pretend the world is simplistic). There’s the sort that’s about sex. Then there’s the kind of story that’s about something else but that something else is revealed through sex.
I have nothing against stories that are just about sex. There’s something rare about that honesty. But I’m thinking lately a lot about the other kind because that’s what I tend to write. Often times, especially when the sex is BDSM, the story is about an inner journey, which when you think about it is empowering and positive for the reader.Sometimes the story is about revenge, which can be fun to read. it’s two self-indulgent fantasies wrapped into one.
Less often, I see stories about alienation, guilt, or depression. In the hands of a skilled writer, those emotions can lead to shattering works. I’d like to see more of them.
The one emotion I can’t recall ever seeing is anger. More specifically, female anger. In her novella Beautiful Losers, Remittance Girl touches on it, but it’s coupled with shame. I fully understand why. That’s the way women are socialized to experience it. We get angry then immediately try to deny it and turn it against ourselves. I don’t see female rage expressed in non-erotic works either, unless it’s an extremely negative portrayal of a woman being unreasonably bitchy just for the hell of it Or because she’s mentally unstable due to hormones. It’s always an insulting portrayal.
Why is that? Can’t we ever just be angry because the situation is enough to make any reasonable person mad? And can women ever express anger without it being a negative portrayal? What is this huge taboo against female anger?
I don’t know. I wish I had answers. Have you ever written a story where a female character had every right to be angry and she expressed it in a healthy, mature manner that didn’t make the reader think she was in the wrong for feeling that emotion?