Society speaks to me, and says: your narrative is not right.

Society speaks to me, often harshly. Frankly it’s enough to make me stop writing for long periods of time.

Here are some of the things it says to me in the night when I’m trying to write:

  • Racism is fun!

    • Your main character is Inuit. Why not make them half-white so that people can identify with him better?

    • Is it realistic for an Inuit to be educated? Aren’t they a bunch of drunks? That would be more realistic.

  • So is transphobia! Especially with a radfem bent!

    • HAHAHA your character thinks she’s male! How disturbed. You need to show her recovering from this delusion or else you’re being anti-feminist, especially since she’s your main character!

    • Why are you rewarding your sexually deviant character with romance? That’s unrealistic. And your character is totes sexually deviant, because she’s not straight, therefore she’s obsessed with sex.

    • What is this misgendering thing you’re accusing me of so shrilly?

  • Let’s not stop at transphobia. Where’s the fun in that?

    • Your character referring to … fine, THEMself … as being of both genders is just confusing. Confusing loses you readers. And you want readers, don’t you?

    • I have no belief in your character that refers to themselves as male one day, female the next. It’s arbitrary and disrespectful of gender. Didn’t you know there’s only two and you can’t be both? DOGS AND CATS LIVING TOGETHER.

  • How about some internalized racism? Even more fun!

    • Why are you making this character half-Vietnamese, half-Chinese? They are like, the same, right? So you are just writing a samey-character. Make him half-white! Better audience identification and contrast and theme!

  • WHITE MAKES RIGHT

    • Why are you giving your characters non-Western names? I mean, yes, they aren’t white, but everyone knows non-white characters in the West always have Western names, to reduce cultural friction. Don’t you want to be accepting of other cultures, especially white culture? Anyways, non-Western names are SO HARD.

    • Why are you portraying your white characters as being subtly racist? This upsets me. Are you ungrateful for being born in the best first-world culture in the world? ARE YOU?

    • You must always have at least one white person, or else it’s not realistic.

  • ABLEISM: WHAT’S THAT

    • Why is your character complaining about the prosthetics this advanced society gave him? Why doesn’t this advanced technology make his severe injuries all go away? WHY ARE YOU NOT MAKING YOUR CHARACTER ABLED IN THE FUTURE WHERE WE CAN FIX THIS SHIT?

    • You have to justify your character being disabled narrative-wise. Being abled is the norm, after all. Unless you are writing a message story, your main characters should be able-bodied.

  • Grand-daddy of them all.

    • Don’t be such a politically-correct pussy. You have a character who’s non-white, disabled, and transexual. That’s such a bingo card and obviously you’re leaning on this crutch because have trouble coming up with an interesting character. I know this because other people write really interesting white, straight, able-bodied characters and don’t need that crutch.

I once told a friend of mine of some of these misgivings which I attributed to society’s impression on me. Her response was pretty much, “This is just your problem. Those racist, sexist, transphobic, heteronormal, ablelist thoughts are ALL YOUR FAULT FOR BEING SO CLOSED-MINDED.”

Some days I just want to kill myself instead of writing.

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2 thoughts on “Society speaks to me, and says: your narrative is not right.

  1. We swim in a sea of prejudice and discrimination the way fish swim in water. Of course some of it soaks in. Even having these arguments in your head means you are at least arguing with the voices of prejudice.

  2. You have to write. If they don’t want to read because your character has no white blood – their problem. And a white character would be so out of place in the story, wouldn’t she?

    There are plenty of people writing white characters.

    I have a disabled character – and she stays disabled. It is just part of her. And I know I’m going to have questions about HOW disabled she is, and whether that part isn’t realistic, and whether I have missed opportunities to advocate for people like us – already had a few comments.

    If that’s the character and story you want to write, if writing this story isn’t because YOU have an agenda, this is a great time to write – because the publishers can’t stop you, can’t keep the people who want your story from finding it. The big publishers only want white stories. Pah on them.

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