Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Falling off the Pedestal.

Over the past couple of weeks there's been an issue in the wider romance community about a couple of cover models behaving badly; one behaving appallingly on-line and the other behaving appalling at a convention. You can find the information here, here, and here. Honestly, I'm horrified, but not surprised, as I'll explain down below. Wonderful people, cover artists and models, have offered to provide recovers for authors using these cover models. Some details here, here and here.

I admit, as someone about to step out into het romance, the first thing I did was check with my artist, Meredith Russell, that my covers didn't use these douchecanoes. Professional that she is, Meredith had already checked her covers. There is talk of boycotting the books using these models. I understand, but in the long run, the only person it hurts is the author. The models have already been paid for their involvement. Don't punish the authors for the actions of these guys.

I was in the fandom world for a few years; first in Torchwood and then Supernatural. I was forty before I discovered the on-line fandom world, and I approached it with equal amounts of breathless enthusiasm and middle-aged cynicism. Fandom is a fantastic place for community, but one thing I noticed in the fandoms, was how fans (mainly women) treated their heroes (mainly men). The heroes could do no wrong.  They were on pedestals so high, and the fans arranged themselves in a pecking order beneath them. No one, but no one, wanted to see their stars were anything less than superheroes, and people who said otherwise were swiftly silenced.

Of course, this behaviour isn't limited to fandom. I've seen Big Name Authors (yes, the capitals are meant) behave appallingly and their fans turn on the people who call them out. Unconditional support no matter what the behaviour. These fans perpetuate the mistaken belief that the Big Names can do no wrong.

Ah Sue, but what about Bill Cosby (US) and Jimmy Savile (UK). I've said it before you could. They are big names. Read the comments on the Bill Cosby link. The women are accused of being attention-seeking, money-grabbing whores. It was exactly the same for Savile when the allegations first came out.

  • why didn't the women report it then? They did, no one listened.
  • why are they crawling out of the woodwork now? Um, let me see, because people are listening?
  • They're attention seeking... of course, these women just love have their lives raked over by the media and the public.
  • They're money-grabbing etc... statue of limitations anyone?
  • It's not the hero's fault, the women threw themselves at him. *rolls eyes*
And so on and so forth. 

No one wants to believe their heroes have feet of clay. Whether your hero is a minor cover model, an author, or a huge star, you want them right up there on the pedestal, all shiny and golden.

The romance industry is one of the few genres dominated by women, from authors to readers. I've seen more than one post saying the whole industry should be a safe space for women and men are there by invitation only. This made me blink because I write M/M and walk side-by-side with male authors and readers, but these posts have a point. No one in the genre should be at risk from a model harassing and blackmailing an author, or a model who thinks it's clever to tell someone to commit suicide, fat-shames and doubles-down on his arrogant stupidity post by vile post. God, both of these make me so angry. 

No one should have their safety compromised and their career threatened. No one should be bullied on-line and no one should be disbelieved, and attacked when they are brave enough to admit what happens. Unconditional support of your hero is not always right. Sometimes it's downright dangerous.


  1. So many ridiculous views about bisexuality. I hope you don't mind, Sue, but I've referenced your post about falling off pedestals in my blog for today.