Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cop this--apparently women can't write good sex

I realise this is veering into completely different territory, but I was just wondering if anyone took any notice of the recent debate fuelled by the comments of Kate Copstick, the new publisher of British magazine Erotic Review, who said women a not naturally good writers of erotic fiction?

You may have heard her talking to Ramona Koval and Linda Jaivin on Radio National’s Book Show a few months back.

Basically Copstick (what a name, eh?) said she doesn’t want her magazine “drowning in oestrogen”. That women “complicate, they add layers to sex, and sex in the Erotic Review I think is a beautiful, pure thing which deserves to be written about, celebrated for itself, and it doesn’t need a subtext, it doesn't even need a context.”

She also complained of young women who think they’re writing about sex but are actually writing about sexual politics, which is “not very sexy”.

“The Erotic Review is not there for women to have a go,” she told the BBC. “I don’t believe in equality, I believe in elitism. I want the very best writing and women are not passionately devoted to sex.”

What do others think about this? Surely it’s a bit scary that the owner of the world’s leading erotic journal has concluded that only men can write sex well.

Or is she just judging from the perspective of her predominantly male readership? (Maybe female readers would like a bit of context and subtext if she was interested in catering for them. After all, her target reader is "a dirty old man with two PhDs"...)

Surely some women are passionately devoted to sex (at least some of the time). And besides, when sex becomes “complicated” does it automatically cease being a beautiful thing?

Isn’t erotic fiction without any subtext or context really just porn? Albeit perhaps well-written, literary porn, as Copstick would argue.

I'm not really sure of my stance on this one, but I'm intrigued by this argument nonetheless...


Damon Young said...

Any statements about the artistic merits of a whole gender or sex strike me as absurd.

It's like saying men don't talk.

Oh. Wait.

Rachel Power said...

Well, who knows what men are capable of in the privacy of their own homes.

(Now, how many PhDs is it that you have Dmaon?)

Damon Young said...

Just the one, I'm afraid. Which explains why the Erotic Review stories weren't my cup of tea.

Did you read them? And if so, did you feel underqualified and underwhelmed?

Natalie said...

Perhaps it's as simple as this. A male reader (your main buyer) might just relate best to an erotic tale written by a man. I am no expert on erotic literature by women, but books by Tobsha Learner spring to mind, and reading it, my mind was not being bogged down by sub-plots or politics!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, exactly what Damon said - any statements about the artistic (or other) merits of a whole gender are just absurd.