besides the issue of desirability being an avenue for men to tear you down,
it is also a major roadblock in earning your platform.
a friend and i who have both written for thought catalog are examining all of the situations of “girl, microfamed” like the internet phenomenon of marie calloway or other girls who write about sex and gain instant success for being so “out there” and “open” and “honest.”
the thing is, this piece, and so many pieces like it, lack insight. but she has a lit agent. the question that it boils down to for me and my friend is: what makes this so successful?
and the answer is really easy, and not something a lot of people want to recognize or confront. almost no one wants to hear you write about sex if they don’t want to imagine you having sex. aka if you ain’t a dainty little white thing.
when nightmare brunette’s readers sent me hate mail after i expressed being disappointed that she admitted she didn’t post pictures of fat people or people of color, i was shocked. i found nightmare brunette’s writing insightful, equal parts beautiful and sad, and real. i thought that i was trying to cultivate a space with similar qualities? so why had all of these readers who supported her send me messages like, “you think anyone wants to listen to a fat brown chick who can’t even have a normal relationship? they don’t.”
but if no one did, i wouldn’t have the readership i do now.
this is a problem very particular to female writers of color: some people will listen, but more people will want to dismiss you or replace your voice with a white woman’s. i feel like every time i write something, i have to defend my very existence and experience because i am not white or pretty, and therefore not desirable, palatable, or believable.
it’s exhausting. i’m exhausted.