Two things: women in literature and Skype sex blackmail

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

In two things this week we’re going to look at male authors writing women, and Skype sex blackmail. The first will make you laugh, and the second should make you very angry indeed.

The good: if women wrote men the way men write women

This McSweeney’s article is amazing. If women wrote men the way men write women:

“Brett pulled his tank top up over his head and stared at himself in the full-length mirror. He pushed down his jeans, then his boxers, and imagined the moment when Jennifer saw him nude for the first time. His feet were average-sized, and there was hair on his toes that he should probably take care of before tonight. He liked his legs just fine, but his thighs were wide and embarrassingly muscular. He tried standing at an angle, a twist at his waist. Some improvement.”

Read the whole thing – it’s amazing. And then let’s have no more novels in which heroines deliberately strip naked in front of a mirror so they can provide readers with a first-person breakdown of their bodies and neuroses. Maybe some people do this, but I never ever have. Occasionally I’ll catch a glimpse when I’m running through the hallway without a towel, or spot something when I’m getting banged bent over the dressing table, but deliberately stripping so I can assess my body like a car mechanic M.O.T.-ing a Nissan Micra? Fuck off.

The bad: Skype sex blackmail

Read this story of a guy who was enticed into wanking on camera, then blackmailed over the video:

A half hour later I get a message on Facebook. “Listen,” it says, “I’m a man, and I recorded a video of you masturbating. Do you want to see it?” He sends me the video. It’s about five minutes of me masturbating. “I have a list of your friends and family from Facebook – your mum, your sister, your cousins,” he says. “You have one week to send me to send me 5,000 euros (£4,450), or I’ll send them the video.”

The blackmailer is – naturally – an absolute shit of the highest order. On top of this, though, there’s a huge problem with the fact that a masturbation video was shameful enough to cause the subject of this article so much pain. In a society which treated sex as it should be treated: with no more shame than we’d treat eating a cheese sandwich or going to a gig, then blackmailing pricks wouldn’t be able to hold such power over someone just because they had a wank on cam.

The police have their job to do in catching the perpetrator. But we have a role to play too: speaking out against sex shame so the next time someone’s blackmailed over something as innocent as a wank in front of Skype, the most extreme reaction they’ll get from their relatives is a simple: “So what?”


  • asrai says:

    Thankfully the whole “staring in a mirror” to describe the main character/heroine is dying out. I was reading the examples and if those are the books people are reading, they need to get better books.

    • asrai says:

      Also another man shaming women’s fiction.

      • Girl on the net says:

        Not sure I get what you mean by this?

        I can see what you mean about ‘get better books’, but honestly this stuff happens in books that are otherwise considered classics or great literature – it’s not just a trope of poor fiction, it happens quite a lot imho.

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