One of the critiques against “Frosted Glass,” my Snow Queen retelling, was that it was man-hating, that the author blamed men for women’s problems. Believe me, I try not to take critiques personally, but I feel like I want to respond to this particular critique, because I can imagine it applying to several other stories of mine, and I want to clear the air.
First off, just to be clear, not a man-hater. I may be queer, but that doesn’t mean I think guys have nothing for me or anyone else and should therefore be punished. Violently. No, instead I like to write what I like to call gender-specific predators.
This isn’t out of the realm of regular criminal profiling. Serial rapists and murderers have a type and a modus operandi that stays fairly consistent. Different kinds of psychopathology yield different results. Similarly, in the supernatural realm, the predators have a type and a modus operandi – they just usually serve supernatural ends.
When writing “Frosted Glass,” I created a world in which Snow Queens were always women scorned by men who procreated by causing other women to be scorned by men (by removing the hearts of men and replacing them with cold stones). The Snow Queen has a very specific agenda: take the hearts of men unworthy to have the heart and recruit new Queens. In that way, the Snow Queen, perhaps, is a misandrist. But I ask readers to please not extrapolate myself from my characters, especially my villains. I like to write characters on the dark side of gray, characters who are morally ambiguous. That doesn’t mean I lack my own code or believe everything my characters do. In fact, given my usual subject matter, readers better hope I’m not like my characters. :)
Similarly, in “In Circles,” Bloody Mary – another femme fatale – has a different modus operandi entirely. She goes specifically after women, in keeping with the Bloody Mary mythology. There’s a twist in the story about what kind of women she goes after, but her prey is always female. I’m willing to bet that readers wouldn’t be so quick to judge me a misogynist because of it.
There are other gender-specific predators in mythology: incubi and succubi spring to mind. There are plenty of things that prey almost exclusively on either women or men, and those are usually very useful for erotic purpose. That doesn’t mean that I hate whatever victim I’m writing about (or that I hate the villain by imparting it with socially unacceptable characteristics … in fact, I’m more likely to do that to protagonists than antagonists). It’s part of the reason I don’t automatically label Roald Dahl a misogynist because The Witches features an all-female villain class. After all, in BFG, all the giants are male.
Anyway, I simply wanted to clear that up. Supernatural erotica lends itself to gender-specific predators, and I’m not one to deny someone their personal tastes in a story. I’m more than willing to torture men and women alike.