Friday, July 16, 2010

Rape Culture 101 -- Writing Advocacy Fiction

by Connie Chastain*

When I asked Pierce if I might discuss my false-accusation novel in one of my essays, I didn't expect his offer to link to the novel's page on, though I certainly appreciate it, just as I appreciate the okay to blog about something very important to me -- my belief that fiction needs to be used much more than it is to positively portray men and to counter feminist propaganda.

No doubt about it, nonfiction is crucial in the communication of ideas. This blog is but one example. But fiction (and drama) are potent persuaders, too. Feminists and progressives know that and they've used them for decades (along with taking over education, legislation and the courts) to promote their worldview and alter society.

There have been some false-accusation novels in the past with positive portrayals of men. To Kill a Mockingbird comes readily to mind, since this year marks the 50th anniversary of its publication. But Disclosure, a novel by the late Michael Crichton about a false sexual harassment case, featured a less admirable protagonist who seemed highly inconvenienced by the charge but not really emotionally affected.

You see it over and over again, in news reports and other accounts; false accusations of a sexual nature are emotionally devastating to the accused man and those close to him. This is in addition to the possible loss of job, income and standing in the community--and sometimes the loss of several decades of life in a penitentiary, if the accusation is rape.

I found one of the best examples of this effect in a comment made by Reade Seligmann, one of the Duke Lacrosse defendants. I no longer have the quote, and can't find it online, but he said, in effect, that when he saw himself on national TV and heard news reports about what he was accused of, "I can't tell you what that does to me inside."

That was a major inspiration for my writing Southern Man; to show the emotional effects of false accusation on an innocent man--what it does to him inside. To show how it carried over to his family and loved ones. To show what the thoughtless acceptance of "Women never lie" and similar feminist declarations can lead to.

It may be a little audacious to think the initial offering of an unknown novelist will make any headway against the institutionalized hostility toward males in our culture, but you gotta start somewhere.

Although I suspected no traditional publisher would cross feminism and take a chance on my manuscript, I did shop it around for a while. My suspicions were confirmed by a rejection letter from the late Kate Duffy at Kensington, who wrote, among other things, "While the premise is interesting, I don't think this adds anything new to the idea of sexual harassment."

Well, of course it adds something new to the idea of sexual harassment -- the effects of a false accusation on an innocent man. At any rate, that letter convinced me to bring the novel to print myself. It is an advocacy novel, written to inform through entertaining. It is intentionally emotional; perhaps even emotionally manipulative. I wrote it for traditional women who may not realize the extent to which feminism and progressivism has influenced their world--though I do hope men can read it without gagging.

I would love to see more advocacy fiction on behalf of men and more counter-feminist novels. I encourage aspiring novelists who doubt their chances with establishment publishers to consider self-publishing. Thanks to the digital age, it has never been easier or more affordable. A recap of my experience bringing Southern Man to print can be found here:

Thank you again, Pierce.

*Connie is a member of the FRS team.  Her weekly essays appear every Friday.  Her personal blog is