Monday, April 02, 2012

Bloggers have the right to control the content on their sites

I usually stay far, far away from the kerfuffles in blogland. Occasionally I will lurk and read about them, but rarely do I involve myself and add my two cents. However, I saw a couple people I follow on twitter talking about being ticked about a situation and I determined to stay out of it and not even ask what it was until I read this post at Reviews by Jessewave.

Although I am a lurker there - rarely commenting, mostly for the same reason I rarely comment on any blogs these days - I read from my phone... I avidly read their reviews of m/m romances and have so many books in my TBR pile based on their recommendations, that if I bought them all at once, it would probably take my entire paycheck. The reviews on her site are informative, professional, and intelligent.

Why am I writing this post? Well, apparently, Wave's policy of reviewing only m/m gay books is ruffling feathers. Why? Because she doesn't review all the letters of LGBTQ, only the "G", and yet she has links on her site to Embrace the Rainbow, It Gets Better, and many other websites that provide help and assistance for troubled teens, and has the Safe Reading Zone logo on her sidebar. From what I can tell, the SRZ logo is indicative of a site that is not biased against the LGBTQ community, that is supportive and non-judgmental. This definitely describes Wave's site. Just because the site doesn't review other subgenres of LGBTQ, doesn't mean that the site is judgmental or non-inclusive. She doesn't review books about lesbians, bisexuals, transgedered or anything else, except for gay men. Yes, two penises, two acknowledged men in a romance with each other. She states it up front in her review policies. Apparently, to some, this means she is not an advocate of the genre, or of the LGBTQ community.

I say hogwash. OK, I say bullshit, but for the sake of staying PG, I say hogwash. First off, there is no stronger advocate for the LGBTQ community than Wave's website, and Wave herself. She does a lot of posts the goal of which is to educate the community (and herself, she admits) about m/m and also LGBTQ issues. I've appreciated many of those posts, because while I am not terribly educated about the lifestyle beyond what I read in the m/m romances I enjoy, I know there is a whole other world out there to learn about. Does that mean I can't advocate for the rights of those people? No, not at all.

Just because I'm not a lesbian does not mean that I can't be an advocate for lesbian rights. It doesn't mean that if I choose to put up a banner advocating for lesbian rights, but don't read and review lesbian books, that I should have to take down the banner. I don't read or review books about lesbians because it's not a genre I enjoy reading. I do frequently read and occasionally review books about gay men. And I am an advocate for gay rights, too. As well as bisexual, transgender or any other person. Nobody should have different (or fewer) rights based upon who they are, how they identify, the color of their skin, their religion, etc. I believe that I've made that perfectly clear through many of my posts - here, on my personal blog (intentionally unlinked), and on my political blog.

I digress. My point here is that as a book review blogger, I have the choice to read and review whatever the hell I want to. I blog about books because I have a love of reading, and I want to share my joy with others. Therefore, I tend to blog about genres that I read most and love. Wave's blog states in the banner that the site reviews male/male adult-themed books. It's not a secret. It's the genre she reads and loves. And frankly, the content on her website belongs to nobody else but her and the site's reviewers. They can post whatever they choose as long as it doesn't violate the law. And I have the choice to read it or not.

If I can't advocate for that for any blogger, then what happens to my own rights as a blogger to post the material that I choose to post? I lose control over that. If Wave doesn't want to read and review anything other than m/m gay romance, then that is her right. If she wants to post banners supporting other websites, supporting causes, or advocating for men on the moon, that is her right. Nothing else need come into the discussion.

Book blogging has evolved tremendously since we first started reviewing books here in October 2005 (and holy moly - that's almost 7 years!). It used to be stricly about sharing a love of books. Now it has become, for some, a big business. And that's ok. But for those of us who choose to stick with blogging for no other reason than we want to share our love of books, there continue to be no rules other than I get to share what I want, when I want, and in the genres I want. I don't know anything about Wave's relationships with publishers - other than she obviously has one, since she offers many free books - but it shouldn't matter. She should still have the right to choose which books from those publishers she accepts and reviews.

And I for one, will continue to stalk read her reviews for new books to enjoy. Yes, in the m/m genre.

12 comments:

  1. Ii's crazy that some people have a problem with how Jessewaves blogs, but then some people love starting drama and discussions that nobody wants or needs.

    My motto is "blog and let blog" and as long as people don't make a business out of their blog (then my demands are a bit different) I don't care what they do on their blog. If I don't like a blog, I don't have to read it.

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    Replies
    1. "blog and let blog" and "If I don't like a blog, I don't have to read it."

      These are it, exactly.

      Delete
  2. So....because you and I don't really read or review paranormal books does that mean we're marginalizing shifters and vampires? I know that's making light of the situation but honestly - I'm like you and call BS on this one. It's just so.....mind-numbing. And absurd. And just stupid, honestly.

    I've said it before, but I'll say it again. The kerfuffles that I see crop up in the m/m world really mirror what I saw in the "early days" when the first romance novel review sites started. Now that blogging has exploded, and it's honestly very easy to start one when you're HTML Stupid (uh, Exhibit A = Wendy), genres and books that were once largely "in the shadows" aren't necessarily anymore. Let's face it, a lot easier to find commentary about LGBTQ books than it once was. That's just a fact. Digital publishing rising also hasn't hurt matters.

    So yeah, I think overtime these sorts of dramas will either 1) go away or 2) evolve - just like they have for the straight romance novel review sites. Although I say that now and look how often we still beat the reviewing horse to death. Heh.

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  3. So ridiculous, yes to everything Wendy said.

    If a reader has a problem with the blog or its review policy...hey, the exit is just a click away. And lucky for all of us, there's plenty of room on the internet to start a new gig.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey sweetie!! Long time no see! How's everything going? The house, the kids, the writing, etc...

      Delete
    2. Same old same old. :P I'll be in Cali in July--hope to see you at RWA.

      Delete
  4. I think for me, the worst part is the overwhelming belief that she has an obligation to review all subgenres. Unless she promised someone in a legal document, she has no obligation do do anything at all.

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  5. First of all, yes. To everything you said. And to everything that has been said in the comments.

    I am a staunch supporter of LGBTQ rights. Hell, I have heard it called LGBTSA, including us straight allies. One of my best friends and his partner got married a year and a half ago and I was lucky enough to be part of the wedding party. I love them, I support them. I do not read m/m (or any other LGBTQ) romances. Should I not be allowed to add links to my blog promoting the support of equal right to marry and for such organizations as It Gets Better?

    I have not read the posts containing the kerfuffle. Not sure if I will. I just hope everyone can remember that ultimately we are on the same side, supporting love between two people, regardless of gender.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You just said it all perfectly and far more succinctly than I did.

      Delete
  6. I don't even read about these kerfuffles, I read my books and that's enough for me... thank you. But re: your post (not bothering with the rest), I only have little to say: "To each his/her own." My blog is my blog, I read what I read, and review what I review. End of discussion.

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  7. Ridiculous. Obviously one doesn't have to read LGBTQ fiction to embrace the rainbow. The former is a form of entertainment and personal enjoyment. The latter is simply love and acceptance for fellow humankind. Besides, I can't imagine Jessewave writing ANYTHING on her blog that isn't 100% supportive of BOTH of those topics-- reading LGBTQ fiction and embracing the rainbow. Why anyone would want to try to stifle such openminded-ness and acceptance is beyond me.

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