Thursday, July 19, 2007

Of Tempests and Teapots


A Caughnawaga Woman,
Cornelius Krieghoff, c. 1855
McCord Museum of Canadian History.


Dear Dog, as Miss Snark would say - if not something more explicit.

Seems a couple of up-and-coming authors at the recent RWA Convention attended their book-signing dressed in - gasp - mini-skirts - and - gasp - funky, thigh-high socks. Something mildly like characters in their book.

Agent Kristin has a photo.

This is so totally outrageous, yanno.

People could see their legs.

Seems it may be unprofessional. It may make all writers in the romance genre looks bad. It projects an image entirely at odds with attempts of others in the genre to be perceived as serious, to acquire respect ( certain covers showing man-titty and bare bottoms notwithstanding.) It may be part of an Evil Plot by Evil Publishers to force us all in costume as part of Evil Promotion. It's a cheap and tasteless ...

Smart Bitches' ( just google or follow the link on Kristin's site - I'm too lazy today to link) post on the topic has over 200 comments - from every perspective.

Seems that writers, the first to maintain, promote and go to the stake for individuality, must adhere to a dress code. Some things are just not done.

Pardon me while I laugh myself sick.

WTF is the fuss about?

30 comments:

Steve G said...

Controversy, controversy...What will they think of next. You can't enter the club if you're wearing trainers. Something I heard in London.

writtenwyrdd said...

Silliness. Now, if they are overweight and middle aged as I am, and THEN they decided to wear minis and tank tops, there would definitely be something to howl about. After they take all the victims who gouged their eyes out to the hospital, lol.

Bernita said...

One does get the private club whiff here, Steve.

Even if you did, Written... what would be the big deal?

Jaye Wells said...

I was at the conference and saw them. I also saw the looks of disgust as the two very pretty and young authors walked through. When asked, I told friends about the authors and how this was part of their branding for their books (they also wore them at BEA). People seemed to simmer down then. However, I think one of the biggest misconceptions about it was people thought Dorchester asked them to dress that way.

I think this comes down to two sides. One side wants to be taken seriously. They believe the words should count more than anything. I can't blame them.

Then there are the P.T Barnum authors who do everything they can to garner attention for their books. They just want to sell books in a crowded marketplace however they can. I can't blame them either.

What I can blame is the fact RWA members continue to complain about lack of respect when we continue to air petty squabbles for public mockery.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Sexy sells.

I'd think any publisher would be thrilled to have an author go to such lengths (of leg) to sell their books.

Bernita said...

Very well put, Jaye. Thank you.
For me, SS, I just can't see that they actually went to great lengths.It's not as if they were twirling pasties or anything.

Rick said...

Wow, what a strange controversy!

Maybe because I'm from an SF background, I'm not shocked, shocked! by someone in costume at a convention. If the gals can carry the outfits off - which they can - what's the issue?

Writers in the romance genre need to quit obsessing and simply accept that they're writing subliterary trash, just like all the rest of us who write books with the intent that people will buy and read them for pleasure.

Bernita said...

Rick, I agree entirely.
Tired of the victimization.
Don't think one has to come from an SF convention/background, one may see much more outre outfits on just about any street.

Dave said...

It's a "Madonna Publicity Corp" move at publishing. Create controversy and let it work for you. Sexually attractive costumes showing legs works for me (oink! oink!)...

Bernita said...

All the comments certainly provide one with a broad perspective of the highly varied reactions, Dave!

Charles Gramlich said...

they went to "short lengths" didn't they? I mean, it was mini-skirts.

Kate Thornton said...

Damn, I wish I still looked good in a mini skirt!

Bernita said...

Just couldn't resist, could you, Charles....

It's not the only way to be sexy, Kate!

Rick said...

I agree with Dave - they looked pretty good in those minis! Oink for me, too.

Bernita said...

Some suggest that's partly what caused the controversy, Rick - they did look good.

Seeley deBorn said...

What? Now they want to control how we dress too? Good effin grief.

Didn't we just have a conversation about pimping one's self, and dressing as characters for promotion? I mean, it's not like they showed up to contract negotiations dressed like that.

I'm really tempted to call them all a bunch of hen pecking catty bitches. Shall we start a best and worst dressed list too??

December/Stacia said...

What I can blame is the fact RWA members continue to complain about lack of respect when we continue to air petty squabbles for public mockery.


THANK YOU JAYE!!!! I've been wanting to say that since this started.

I think they looked fabulous. I think Sherrilyn Kenyon's swan hat was fabulous. Why can't writers have fun with clothes, ffs?

Jon M said...

Looked okay to me? Was it okay to say that? I don't think I'd attand a convention in a mini skirt...too horrific...As you say, What's all the fuss?

Bernita said...

"Shall we start a best and worst dressed list too??" Was of the impression, Seeley, there already was one!

Oh, well, December, there'll be a new one next week at this rate.

Bernita said...

You could if you wrote a certain type of fiction, Jon. And there's nothing wrong with a kilt...

Jaye Wells said...

Bernita, that reminds me. No one is complaining about the man who showed up and wore a kilt every day. He was quite popular.

cyn said...

omg, bernita said wtf. haha!! love it! =D i wouldn't do anything that required me to abide by a dress code. i thought writers were the creative free-spirited sort. wtf indeed.

takoda said...

Romance writers have all the fun. Sigh....
My MC is a freckle-faced 10 year old boy.

Okay, then. Back to work!

Bernita said...

Sadly, Jaye, unless he was also flogging a title...

I apologize, Cyn. Sometimes no other expression will do.
~wondering how strait-laced she thinks I am~

You could always dress as Bruegel the Elder, Chris...

raine said...

Geez--I thought it was FUN!
Thought they brought a lot of energy to the proceedings.

Not sure I would do it, but if they enjoyed it, what was the harm? Do we have to take ourselves so seriously?

Bernita said...

"what was the harm?"
Exactly.
Think the whole fuss is ridiculous, Raine.

Chumplet said...

I can see it now: Red carpet lined with fashion magazine journalists and Entertainment Tonight, picking apart every writer's outfit.

What got me is everyone jumped down Nora's throat for expressing her opinion on the matter. And that's all it was. An opinion. I don't think she was trying to dictate a dress code. Or was she?

400 posts and still counting on that baby.

Bernita said...

Frankly, Chumplet, I was rather pleased to see that others were willing to express opinions contrary to Nora's. And I doubt if she minded.

kmfrontain said...

It seems to me that those in charge of RWA may be waaaaay behind the times, which makes me wonder where they last checked their reality. Since when did artists, of any art form, conform to a social code that didn't suit them? If an artist is conservative, it's because he or she is conservative. Otherwise, enjoy who they are. To do anything else defeats the reason artists exist: their originality.

I've missed many of your blog posts this month. Summer is awful for being in sync with on line activities and news.

Bernita said...

The main purpose was promotion, Karen, as I understand it, for magna style books - something for which the traditional bookmark just wouldn't cut it - I thought they managed it tastefully.

Certainly caused an uproar - Smart Bitches has now over 500 posts on the topic, and I still cannot understand the fuss.