Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sexy not Slutty: Minor Changes to Entangled & Duplicity

It was brought to my attention that I used the word "slut" several times in Entangled. (Six in the original text.) I had to go back and do a search because it's not something that stuck out in my head. That's lingo I grew up hearing all through high school - never even considered it could cause controversy.

Apparently, another author was getting tarred and feathered for "Slut Shaming." I had to look up this term because it's the first I'd heard of it: "The act of making a woman feel guilty or inferior for being sexually active."

I felt a tinge defensive when I first received the email even though it wasn't accusatory in the least. (I appreciate the heads up. Better a personal email than a public beating.) I come from a long line of strong, independent women. My heroines are friggin' ninjas, man, total Woman Power! Bam!

After a few days of pondering, I had to admit that personally, I'm not fond of the word "slut" and would rather say "miniskirt" than "slutty skirt" as I did twice (and now changed). Why does a short skirt have to be slutty?

I actually like one of the new passages much better now. I call it Thing 1 and Thing 2. (The parts in blue used to say "two of McKinley High's biggest sluts" and then further down used to say "speaking of sluts.") 

After class, Charlene’s best friends, Brittany and Kiki, practically shoved Thea aside to get to Graylee. Both girls were wearing long leather boots over skinny jeans.
“Where’s Charlene?” Brittany demanded at the same time Kiki asked, “How is she?”
“She’s at home and she’s fine.”
“Obviously she’s not fine. She just had her heart ripped out,” Brittany said.
“And yet it still beats,” Graylee said. “Excuse me, ladies; I’ve got to get to class.” She felt bad ditching Thea that way, but she wasn’t about to stick around for a lecture on broken hearts from Thing 1 and Thing 2.
And speaking of heart breakers, Stacey turned the corner with Blake’s arm draped over her shoulder.

This was updated as of June 3, 2012. There's nothing I can do about the 22,000+ copies that were downloaded free last month during amazon promo days, but I'm happy to have it changed for the paperback addition, which just became available this week on amazon. 

I also cleaned up the language as best I could except when Gray, in the guise of Charlene, is joking around with Brittany and they're calling each other "bitch" then "super bitch" then "super mega bitch." Try reading it as "jerk" and it sounds plain stupid. I'd rather offend a few people than water down the story too much.

Just made changes to Duplicity as well based on a review on Goodreads in which a gentleman expressed annoyance at my use of the terms NetFlix and Kindle. I use these terms like I would Kleenix. Didn't even notice, but I'd sooner use something universal so it's been switched to TV and eReader.

Now back to working on book three where there are no sluts, no bitches, and no Kindle devices - just good old fashioned magic and romance.

(I originally posted on this subject June 6, 2012 at Goodreads.)


  1. Lol yeah... I don't know ANY teenager who doesn't use the word Slut. So I think this is just dumb. But that's me. I find it make sit realistic. I hadn't heard of Slut Shaming before a few weeks ago either. I think there's a line between Slut and "Sexually active" imo. Sometimes Slut is what needs to be said >.<

    1. I have to agree with Giselle on this one. This is ridiculous. It's a term that is used daily in high school life and in real life in general. There is a line that is drawn and some people cross it IMO as well. Sorry that happened Nikki.

  2. I agree with Giselle. To each his/her own, but there's nothing wrong with the use of word "slut" or "bitch" in literature. There are REAL people that use words like that, and in the manner, ALL THE TIME. Portraying them in literature is what makes it realistic.

    Nikki, I'm sorry that someone made you feel like you had to censor yourself, and that you had to question your character's choice of words. I am disappointed that you changed the wording, and am happy that I have the uncensored versions of Entangled and Duplicity.

    Stay true to yourself, to your characters, and to your story, dear friend. I'll support you 100%, no matter what <3

    -Katie @ BlookGirl

  3. I'm liking this. I've got my own kick ass angels. Watch out meanies or I'll sick my ninjas on you. LOL!

    Don't worry, Katie. I would never censor myself. That would be a pansy ass thing to do. I'd rather get slandered. Upon consideration, I much prefer saying "miniskirt" to "slutty skirt." I don't see any reason to call a short skirt slutty. But when Gray refers to herself having to play the part of the "sister slut" I left that. And I left in the B-bombs. Fuck it! That's how they talk.

    I prefer not to use specific brands so replacing NetFlix and Kindle was no big whoop to me. These were things I discussed with my husband for over a week. They were carefully considered before changes made. In other words: This was not done on a whim to appease certain individuals.

    I am open to reader concerns and feedback.

    I also stand firm on my story.

    I had several concerned emails regarding the scene where Gray wakes up in Nolan's bed. Regardless of it causing unease, that's just how it goes. In fact, if I manage to cause shock, offense, distress, or all three all the better. It means I'm writing something that's not boring.

  4. I personally think it is great that you researched into a problem that some readers have had with your book, and made an educated decision to change it. Slut shamming is prevalent, and we don't realize how hurtful it can be. Women's sexuality (or anyone's in that regard) shouldn’t be shamed - her value isn't determined by how few or many people she sleeps with. It's also a horrible double standard - it's socially accepted for a man to sleep with numerous partners (he's considered a player, but not degraded in the same way), while women are considered and called sluts, skanks, hoes, and whores. Even if a woman isn't sexually active but dresses in a way that is considered provocative she is considered a slut. It’s a way of trying to regulate women’s bodies and sexuality. Slut shaming goes much further than just being a slur when it is used to try to justify a rape – for example, saying "she was asking for it" by the way she was dressed or acting, etc. Which is NOT ok.

    SO that is why I am commending you for reconsidering the use of slut in your books! I also think that is the beauty of self-publishing: you are able to respond to concerns and feedback, reconsider, etc. I haven't read Entangled yet (it's on my list!), but I really want to read it even more now :)

  5. Hmm, I have to say I am glad that you looked into this problem and remedied it. I haven't read your book (yet) but, I have to say I'm not sure if this would have offended me. This isn't you talking, it's the character talking and unfortunately that's how how high schoolers talk. Of course that doesn't make it right.

    Slut shaming really gets to me in a lot of the Big Six published books were the girls are literally shamed for their 'slutty' behavior while the male counterpart is praised or seen as more desirable for acting the same way.

    There is a thin line between watering down and censoring and I can only imagine how hard it is for you as an author to determine for yourself.

    Happy Reading !