On Mommy Porn and Other Pejoratives
Mar
24
2013

So for some reason since the success of a certain book series, the media has seen fit to describe my genre, a genre I’ve been writing since 2005, as “Mommy Porn” or “porn for women” or “housewife porn” None of these phrases is particularly accurate and they’re all insulting. Imagine if that author was male if you would. I can guarantee no one would have referred to it in the pejorative. No, that author would have been described in positives – in glowing terms about how writing sexy stories is good for men and freeing or some such.

Let’s get a few things out of the way. I don’t write porn. Porn exists for the sole reason of titillation. There’s only enough story around the edges to guide you from one sex scene to the next. Erotic romance is a romance novel where the bedroom door remains open during sex scenes. There IS a story there and while the sex should be hot and might make you blush or whatever, the purpose of that story is to tell you about those characters within it and their struggles and triumphs, not just their orgasms.

Generally, it’s a thing that whenever women are good at something, successful at it, dominate it, media needs to belittle it. “Mommy porn” is a prime example of such behavior. The ways it is used against us to shame and belittle are manifold. By using “mommy” we are yet again reduced to a function. We’re not people, we’re uteruses who make macaroni and cheese and endlessly do laundry. We can’t like sex. We can’t understand books. We’re just “mommies” “Housewife porn” is much the same, only you can add in ironing of shirts and vacuuming.

Porn is an easy way to belittle not only the people who enjoy erotic romance, but those who write it as well. If it’s just porn it has little value. Your judgment for enjoying it is suspect though you are, after all, only a woman, a mommy at that. And if all you’re writing is porn, who cares that it’s a hugely successful genre? Who cares that the authors of erotic romance are part of a vibrant and economic powerhouse? They only write porn. They have no value.

I don’t particularly care what someone on CBS thinks about what I do. Or some random dude who didn’t get enough love as a child says at twitter to fill his gaping self esteem hole by trolling around looking to engage in some stupid argument. I write what I write. I’m proud of what I write. I think my readers, and romance readers in general are wonderful, awesome and intelligent. They’re busy women (and some men too!) who generally manage about a billion things in their day to day lives. They’re not just “mommies” or “housewives” at all.

What I do care about is the way media and society seems to always need to find a way to belittle things women do. I have a daughter I’m attempting to raise in that world. Thank goodness she’ll grow up seeing her mom do lots of things. Thank goodness she’ll grow up to understand she has choices. Though she’ll also need to grow up understanding that she’ll have to demand them. I want my sons to understand that things that appeal to women aren’t silly or dumb, that women have value and just because something is targeted at women’s desires it’s not open season to mock it. Because I’m raising sons and a daughter to respect themselves and believe in their own worth. My husband and I want them to realize the people launching all this silly mommy porn nonsense do so because they don’t value themselves or have enough self respect so they need to find it by ripping others down.

Anyway, I write those books. I write them and readers love them and I fervently hope they do so without any shame.

46 comments to “On Mommy Porn and Other Pejoratives”

  1. Sharon
    March 24th, 2013 at 11:05 am · Link

    Both my husband and I were pretty insulted by the use of the term “porn” used over and over this morning on the CBS program. Let them call it what they want, those of us who read erotic romance know what it is and why we love it. The rest of them can just go on being ignorant.



  2. Lisa
    March 24th, 2013 at 11:08 am · Link

    I hate the term mommy porn. It is insulting to both the reader and the writer. What you write is sexual and sensual, yes. Porn, no way. I’m even a little iffy on if it is erotica. You always have such a strong plot line that to me, the story is always first. I like the people who populate your fictional worlds. I want to know what happens in the story lines.



  3. Kim Ogg
    March 24th, 2013 at 11:08 am · Link

    I totally agree. It pisses me off that they put a negative spin on the amazing work you and your fellow authors put out there. Like those of us who read them are some degenerates or something. I hope you never let the Haters get to you. You are seriously talented and one badass bitch! Keep em coming! P.s. I live for your tweets they crack me up



  4. Kim Ogg
    March 24th, 2013 at 11:08 am · Link

    I totally agree. It pisses me off that they put a negative spin on the amazing work you and your fellow authors put out there. Like those of us who read them are some degenerates or something. I hope you never let the Haters get to you. You are seriously talented and one badass bitch! Keep em coming! P.s. I live for your tweets they crack me up :)



  5. monica t.
    March 24th, 2013 at 11:10 am · Link

    Thank You Lauren!!!! First let me finish clapping. Done. I absolutely HATE THIS TERM. I want to bitch slap the person and or people who thought or in this case did not think when this term was used because of the explosion of F.S.O.G. I will not type out the title of that book because NO. She inadvertently started all of this and I did not read her book because I am already full into this genre thank you very much and did not need for some stupid people whom apparently have NEVER had sex or seen sex in our current society! (take your pick of stupid sexually oriented crap) that passes for “entertainment” these days. You just can’t read ONE BOOK and then paint everything author in this genre with the same damn brush! I read erotica an awful lot and I know the difference in what I choose to read in order to ENTERTAIN my self with. This genre is not porn and it never will be to me. I am reading and understanding women and men whom are trying to come together in an hopefully successful relationship with a better understanding of how and why they want to deal with each other warts and all, and in the journey find and keep love as well. Nothing more and certainly nothing LESS. Lauren I will continue to support you and authors like you because I CAN and I Fucking Love you for It!!!!!! Laters Monica T. :wink: :grin: :smile: :smile: :smile: :smile: :wink:



  6. Moran
    March 24th, 2013 at 11:11 am · Link

    I couldn’t agree with you more!
    Every word you wrote here is so true and it’s just sad how even in 2013 women still need to fight for rights and feel the need to defend what we choose to read and explain to people that it’s not porn!

    I think that the 50 Shades books did a very bad public relations to erotic romance since it’s nothing like the amazing erotic books I’ve been reading for the last 6-7 years or so.
    Keep writing great books and don’t let the media tell you that your books are porn!



  7. Gina DeWitt
    March 24th, 2013 at 11:18 am · Link

    Great blog Lauren!! I agree whole heartedly and am incredibly tired of this labeling…..first it’s another genre of books like mystery, thriller or sci-fi, second while “mommy” is a noble pursuit it is not all that a woman is….should we call football “daddy sport”?
    This label serves only to be devisive….I read an article in which Nicholas Sparks said he writes fiction NOT romance….why? because the media make romance seem like something less than worthy of being written or read? He writes romance…ask anyone who races out to the movies based on his books or better yet ask the producers who market them as ROMANCE MOVIES.
    I read mysterys, thrillers, romance and erotic romance and I am not ashamed of anything I read and am thrilled when an author who’s work I enjoy releases something new for me! I read my print books in public and when I put them down I make sure they are cover up, especially the HOT MEN covers!!
    I am glad that authors are selling more books with revamped generic covers but really I hate the covers and prefer the originals. Why can’t people just be reasonable?



  8. Carley
    March 24th, 2013 at 11:20 am · Link

    Here here. Thank you so much. I hate that a lot of my favorite female authors, such as you or Laurell K Hamilton, have their work belittled down to “porn”. I think you guys are amazing and Im so glad the you keep writing.
    I plan on using what you’ve stated in my Sociology of Gender paper. :mrgreen: I will of course be citing you.



  9. Deanne
    March 24th, 2013 at 11:43 am · Link

    It is so sad that women are still having to prove themselves to being an equal to their counterparts. I have to say that we should be viewed more than our counterparts, w



  10. Deanne
    March 24th, 2013 at 12:06 pm · Link

    Sorry hitting buttons, and not meaning to. I was recently let go from my position with the reason that I now have too many responsabilities at home(on mat leave with 3rd child) to be able to fulfill the position as is required. Are we being seen as being torn between family life and career? Can’t we have both? I have every intention to have both! And my children know that their mom does the laundry and works 9-5 ahas a very large calendar in their kitchen to keep everyone organized. :)
    I love your books, and not because I am a mom or a women, but becuse they are good. The stories are captivating the story of Erin losing her child was heart wrenching and the sex between her and her men was hot and fitting!
    I will leave with this, my son has a shirt that says, winners hate to lose and losers just hate.



  11. Rhonda Garrett
    March 24th, 2013 at 1:10 pm · Link

    I have been reading romance since my first Harlequin novel (which cost 50 cents) when I was 12. I have 5 adult children, 4 of whom are college graduates & have brought home significant others that I genuinely like. Child #5 is a straight-A sophomore in college. My husband of almost 34 years is still my best friend. Although my mom told me many times as a teenager that romances weren’t real life, after meeting my husband on a blind date and being engaged three weeks later, I kind of beg to differ. I considered my (sane, healthy, productive) family a significant contribution to society. I defy anyone to prove that my reading tastes have in any way diminished my life or my family’s life.



  12. Liliane Menard
    March 24th, 2013 at 1:20 pm · Link

    Thank you Lauren very much . I agree with you. what I choose to read is romance for adult. And as you say the bedroom door stays open but there is a storyline, characters, etc…

    I find the use “mommy porn” dismissive, insulting and misogynistic!



  13. Melanie Grossi
    March 24th, 2013 at 1:24 pm · Link

    I could not agree more. It is stories like this that diminish both the authors and readers of this kind of literature. I’ve been reading romance/relationship novels since I was a teenager. Newsflash to the */sarcasm* wonderful */endsarcasm* producers of both this story, and the one recently on Nightline, these are stories about adults in relationships, and adults in relationships have sex and use some bad words.

    If you don’t like it, don’t read it, but don’t insult us, and don’t for one minute think some poorly written fan fiction started this genre, it may have brought more readers, and more authors to the party, but it’s been here for quite some time, and as long as authors like Lauren, Megan, Cherise, et al keep writing quality books I’ll keep buying them, keep reviewing them, and keep telling all my friends who read about them.



  14. Michelle
    March 24th, 2013 at 2:08 pm · Link

    Oh, the whole “mommy porn” is enough to send my blood pressure through the roof! I am so sorry Lauren that your hard work is belittled like that.

    What bothers me even more about the whole “trilogy that shall not be named” going like a wildlife is that authors that have been in the genre for YEARS, if not a decade plus, are being compared to that series. If you liked ….. then try Lauren Dane/Maya Banks/Sylvia Day/Shayla Black/etc. which is such crap! There is NO comparison. And the review sites are just as bad, if not worse. There were erotic romances out with D/s settings long before the “trilogy” came out, that blow it out of the water. But because it is the ‘hot’ thing of the moment, then everything is compared to it, back-lists are ignored, and each new release is ‘held up to it’.



  15. kame
    March 24th, 2013 at 2:13 pm · Link

    I read many different genres and what I read with my e-reader is my business. Does it make me less of a Mom- No, does it make me less effective at my job No. People need to stop judging others. You make great points!



  16. Robbye
    March 24th, 2013 at 2:32 pm · Link

    I personally think that the green eyed monster is behind the term “Mommie Porn”. It has to be something perverse if it’s making money even though they didn’t come up with the concept. I can’t say it any better than you did that the term and what it implies is demeaning and unfair. I’m glad you called them on it.



  17. Mary @ BookSwarm
    March 24th, 2013 at 3:47 pm · Link

    I truly dislike that term. It’s belittling. And you definitely don’t write porn. Super-hot romance, erotic romance and paranormal romance, yes. Porn? Not on your life.



  18. Deb
    March 24th, 2013 at 3:49 pm · Link

    Thank you, Lauren!

    I am a mom, lawyer, wife, and daughter. When I sit down to read fiction, I want to be invested in the characters. I want to enjoy the story, and I want to be drawn into it. I admit. I want a happy ending! I think that people not comfortable with themselves belittle what they do not understand, and yes, there is a double standard in genre classification. I, however, count myself lucky that there awesome authors out there writing literature (yes) for me! :!:



  19. Linda
    March 24th, 2013 at 4:58 pm · Link

    Thank you Lauren. I detest the term “mommy porn”. It demeans who we are and what we choose to read. I read your books because of the characters and the storylines and yes, I also read the classics AND I think they are all on the same level. I get the same level of enjoyment from a well written book irregardless of what category that clueless people put them in.



  20. Suzie
    March 24th, 2013 at 5:17 pm · Link

    Great post Lauren and so true. I like many others can’t stand the term mommy porn both the media and yes some women use that term after reading one, poorly written book that happened to be well marketed. At first I thought the hype would be good for the genre, instead it has made a mockery of well-written books, the authors and readers. You and so many other authors were writing books and series I loved long before a year ago. Books I couldn’t get enough of and will continue to read.



  21. Dee
    March 24th, 2013 at 6:47 pm · Link

    Thank you! I’ve always wanted to know what authors like yourself thought about the “mommy porn” moniker. It is belittling and devalues women’s work. I remember reading Laid Bare and thinking how awesome and universal Erin’s story is. It’s a shame that books with a little bit of romance are relegated to the romance section and not put on wide display for all to read.

    Your books are awesome, feminist even. “mommy porn” is sexist beyond belief and to hear legitimate news outlets use it infuriates me a lot. We can talk about a book being terrible without denigrating the genre or all the authors who write in the genre.



  22. Liza
    March 24th, 2013 at 6:53 pm · Link

    I was very offended by the CBS story this morning. Nothing about erotic romance is porn. I don’t know why the name “mommy porn” ever got thrown out, but wish it would die a quick death.

    I also made sure I let the CBS Sunday morning show know my feelings on their story. I posted to twitter directly to them with #cbsfail in tweet. Has been RTed multiple times since it originally posted.



  23. JenM
    March 24th, 2013 at 7:32 pm · Link

    This is why I don’t watch TV or read much news. I’ll stick with my books, thank you very much. They are just jealous because lots of female authors are actually making a living as authors, which is something that historically has been very hard to do.



  24. Bobbie
    March 24th, 2013 at 7:52 pm · Link

    Thank you for a thoughtful article. I thought the CBS segment was ridiculous as did my husband. We could only laugh at the stupidity. However, my husband keeps reminding me that the people who run the CBS Sunday Morning show and 60 Minutes are ancient and have no concept of what is happening outside if their narrow world. And for the record, we are in our 60’s and still think they have their head up their respective asses. Let me read what I want, don’t belittle it! Keep on rocking, Lauren!



  25. Renee D
    March 24th, 2013 at 8:03 pm · Link

    I love this post. My husband, for whatever reason, feels the need to belittle the fact that I enjoy reading the erotic romance genre. He has gone so far as to say that it shows the lack of intelligence of the reader and the lack of talent of the writer. I pretty much told him to eff off because he’s never complained about the benefits he receives as a product of my reading. If he didn’t want me to read, he shouldn’t have bought me an ereader.

    Keep writing and I’ll keep reading!!



  26. Nikki H
    March 24th, 2013 at 8:09 pm · Link

    I hate that term “mommy porn”. It just sounds degrading, and the use of it is usually by someone who has no idea the difference between erotica or romance novels and pornography. Case in point–CBS News. I sent them an email telling them that and that I would no longer watch CBS News.



  27. Michele
    March 24th, 2013 at 8:10 pm · Link

    Well said Lauren Dane!!!



  28. Michelle
    March 24th, 2013 at 8:58 pm · Link

    To mischaracterize the creative literary work of talented authors in such careless ways is insulting to the authors. Moreover, it further insults and demeans readers who have demanded, and received, thought-provoking plots, world building and multi-layered character development. It is sad that instead of focusing on the “rediscovery” of reading, national medial outlets must resort to stereotypical “name calling.”

    However, we will continue to support those authors who actually LISTEN and RESPOND to their fans, by buying their work, providing honest reviews and sharing great stories with our friends. The words “BEST SELLING AUTHOR” are EARNED!

    READ! SUPPORT YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS! “LIKE” THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES AND BLOGS!



  29. Laura Kaye
    March 24th, 2013 at 9:46 pm · Link

    Very well said, Lauren. Thanks for taking the time to write it.



  30. Tuere
    March 25th, 2013 at 3:33 am · Link

    Extremely well put, Ms. Dane. I didn’t get to see the CBS program, but I’m sure it was the network’s sad attempt @ being “trendy.” In a climate of political correctness, they could have no idea how degrading such titles are to an entire gender! I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt, mind you. And one of the best parts about this post is you don’t take the opportunity to disparrage the other author (and their success) in the process like MANY others do. You are a class act! :)



  31. CateS
    March 25th, 2013 at 4:19 am · Link

    Deanne… for you… If you can prove by paperwork or a witness that you were let go from ”
    my position with the reason that I now have too many responsabilities at home(on mat leave with 3rd child) to be able to fulfill the position as is required”
    I would suggest that you see an attorney that specializes in Employment Law.



  32. Beth Ann
    March 25th, 2013 at 4:24 am · Link

    Good for you. I was really insulted by the tv spot…how could they talk about how many millions of readers exist and in the same breath think it all right to insult those readers?? Keep up the good work.



  33. Jan Cook
    March 25th, 2013 at 8:17 am · Link

    Don’t fight it, embrace it! Make it your own.



  34. Tara Mills
    March 25th, 2013 at 8:24 am · Link

    Mommy porn is just another way to belittle women, our interests, and our tastes without knowing anything about the variety and depth of romance. These books are so much more, focused on very real and identifiable relationships, which quite naturally include intimacy.

    I find it more troubling that culturally, we seem to accept violence far easier than romance and love — based on our entertainment tastes.



  35. Kate Douglas
    March 25th, 2013 at 9:30 am · Link

    You’ve touched on one of my hot buttons, Lauren. I’ve been writing erotic romance since 2001, and have lost track of the number of times I’ve been insulted face-to-face (always by men) who think they’re being witty and/or funny. Asking if my husband approves of my writing smut (he’s not complaining–the income is quite nice, thank you) or using the porn pejorative in all its many forms is not acceptable.

    My books are good, the stories strong and well-written, and I feel no reason to defend what I do to men who think they’re being witty. The “wink, wink” smirks and outright rude comments only remind me how much I love my readers. They get it–men and women–who want to read a good, sexy romance.

    One thing I have started doing is to tell people, when they refer to my books as smut or the unfortunate “mommy porn,” is to very politely tell them that I don’t appreciate the insult. Often they just don’t get it–the terms have become so tied to our stories by the mainstream media that they say them without realizing just how demeaning they are. Which is why we have to stop the use, so that it’s NOT accepted, by mainstream media, our kids or ourselves.



  36. Sharon Duff
    March 25th, 2013 at 9:39 am · Link

    Characters with whom you can identify and interesting plots re what draws readers. That the characters are completely drawn means they have sex as most of us do on a regular basis. Even if we are not as agile and flexible as some charcters doesn’t mean we do not enjoy reading about them. :wink:



  37. Bobbi
    March 25th, 2013 at 10:11 am · Link

    As always…well stated.



  38. Patsy
    March 25th, 2013 at 10:37 am · Link

    I think their just jealous and ticked off that they didn’t have the balls to do it themselves. I personally love your books. Laid Bare was my first erotic romance and to be honest I was shocked and sat it aside. I finally did read it and I laughed and cried. It wasn’t the sex that kept me reading your books it was the stories. I love them. You are awesome.



  39. Christine
    March 25th, 2013 at 10:44 am · Link

    I found the whole interview on CBS completely insulting. I certainly don’t consider what I read Porn and I find it insulting for someone to intermate that.



  40. Naas
    March 25th, 2013 at 11:04 am · Link

    I am a South African male reader and would-be writer of erotic romance. I’ve read a few of your books and love it. I live in South Africa and I admire women who can write these wonderful stories with such enthusiasm and love. Please ignore those ignoramus men. They never loved women, or themselves. They need more help than psychiatry can provide.



  41. Sheila
    March 25th, 2013 at 11:19 am · Link

    Amen!!! Funny how one series can result in a label, I for one have been reading erotic romance for YEARS!! and Yes it is my favorite!! and you Lauren Dane…in a word.. ROCK, so please please keep on writing, I am just waiting to buy the next book!! and Thank You



  42. Mary
    March 25th, 2013 at 11:20 am · Link

    We all know which series of books is being referred to here….and while romantic erotica is indeed an excellent genre, this particular authors books I feel are aptly labeled “porn.” Erotica is two people making love with each other as equals. Porn is e male being dominant over the female, spanking, raping, bondage, etc. the author’s writing was subpar to say the least and her storyline extremely weak. If not for the porn sections, the book never would have been published.



  43. Kate Douglas
    March 25th, 2013 at 11:28 am · Link

    Mary–so sorry, but I have to disagree with you. ALL erotic romances–the entire genre–is often referred to as Mommy Porn, and for what it’s worth, the current popularity of BDSM stories are not necessarily pornographic. There might be a fine line between some erotic scenes and porn, but when there is a story that makes it work, characters you care about and a satisfying ending to a love story, it is most definitely NOT porn.



  44. LL Brooks
    March 25th, 2013 at 1:03 pm · Link

    suppose they ever actually read any of it or just skipped to the sex scenes and based the prejudice opinions on that.



  45. Sonya
    March 26th, 2013 at 6:44 pm · Link

    Mary, BDSM is NOT rape. Putting the two in the same sentence is unfair.



  46. Vanessa
    March 27th, 2013 at 4:41 pm · Link

    Excellent post Lauren, It is really difficult to come up with a new comment.. but I support all you and others have commented here. I too hate the term ‘mommy porn’ and grind my teeth everytime I hear it used in the media. I agree too with the person who posted about a certain series becoming the ‘bar’ against which other stories are measured, it is not accurate when a recent story becomes that and all those written previously ignored. So well said and maybe the media need to be sent the link to this post and the comments for them to see that there are intelligent people have intelligent points to make against such a pejorative!



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