The St. Paul Co-op Gas Bar has been wonderful to me since my books came out. They offered to display them on the counter by the cash registers and sales have been brisk. St. Paul doesn't have a bookstore so, with the gas bar being one of the town's busiest spots and with it's customers all approaching the counter with their wallets out, this was an offer I treasured.
However, earlier this week when I showed up to fill the van with gas and replenish my book supply, I was told I could no longer sell my books there. Some older lady had complained that the cover to Schrödinger's Cat was pornographic and the Co-op administration had apparently agreed.
|The controversial cover|
It ought to have been at least mildly amusing, and I knew that. However, I could not stem the flow of tears, no matter how much I chided myself.
It was one of those times when emotions ruled rationality--totally. I was devastated that someone saw pornography in my poor pregnant heroine, struggling to maintain her sanity and her marriage as her daughter slipped steadily toward death.
Although authors are known to have strange and deep connections to their characters, my reaction exceeded even that norm. Today, though, after a night's sleep and some chatter on the social networks, I at least partially understand my reaction.
I burst into tears because I felt that the degrading sexualization of my troubled heroine was an insult not only to her but to me and to all women
I cried because, for all intents and purposes, someone in my community said that if I show cleavage and wear a dress above the knee I'm a slut and shouldn't be out in public and someone else agreed.
I cried because someone said that because Chorie is dressed beautifully, she's pornographic and the dying child in the background and the family off to the left are irrelevancies.
I cried because someone said that women must mask themselves as asexual beings before being allowed out in public. Someone said that if I dress up pretty, I become a disgusting sexual object that ought to be hidden. Someone said women are bad for business when they wear their summer outfits.
Somebody said I ought to be ashamed of myself for wearing my scoop-necked shirt...and somebody else agreed.
Yup, that's what turned on my tears when someone insulted my heroine.
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Eileen Schuh, Canadian writer www.eileenschuh.com