Today in Rape Culture
Smack in the middle of a new profile of Neil Gaiman in The New Yorker:
He was one of the first writers to have a blog—he started it in 2001, and had, at last count, some 1.4 million readers—and he often posts to his Twitter feed a dozen or more times a day. He attributes his recent No. 1 débuts to his ability to communicate directly with his fans: he tells them to buy a book on a certain day, and they do. "It means I'm nobody's bitch," he told me.
The hat tip goes to Latoya, who notes in her piece that Gaiman's success is largely attributable to "his wide appeal to female readers," which makes his use of misogynist slurs all the more tragic.
But let us be honest: The use of "bitch" here is not merely a misogynist slur. To be someone's "bitch" is to be sexually subservient to hir, and the phrase is typically associated with nonconsensual sexual subservience, i.e. rape. (Specifically, it originates with prison rape.)
I understand, quite keenly, the value of being a writer who is able to communicate directly with hir readership. That is a priceless freedom.
Mr. Gaiman, I have been a writer beholden to other people with agendas, constrained in my work by forces I could not control. I have also been someone's "bitch." And they are not the same thing.
Not at all.