I read an excerpt of an erotic story and found myself once again disappointed by the use, by both the hero and the heroine, of the word slut when referring to the heroine of the story. (Needless to say, I didn’t get the book.)

When did it become acceptable to use words like slut and whore to refer to the main character of a story in a genre which women are supposed to find validating? When did degradation and humiliation become attractive? What woman with any self-respect at all would want to be treated like that? Would you, dear author, accept such demeaning treatment by your romantic partner?

​I’d like to think not.

It puzzles me as much as it appalls me. Why are romance writers (yes, folks, erotica falls under the romance genre) perpetuating such demeaning attitudes through those horrible, derogatory terms when referring to their heroines? How does such negative terminology support a genre that is supposed to support women as worthy of happiness?

I think romance writers have a social obligation to portray their heroines in a positive manner. The words we write grow in our readers’ minds. Let’s not plant poison ivy.