Monday News: Book Bub secures funding, MFA programs lack diversity, the problem with “slut shelves,” and teaching young women about sex

Monday News: Book Bub secures funding, MFA programs lack diversity, the...

BookBub Raises $3.8 Million in Series A Funding – Book Bub, which promotes digital books through daily emails to a massive subscription list of more than 3 million, has just raised $3.8 million from investors including Avalon Ventures, NextView Ventures, Founder Collective, and Bloomberg Beta. The investments were made in exchange for preferred stock, which is called Series A funding, because it is the first in a series of funding opportunities (or requests, depending on your perspective). Book Bub serves traditional, digital, and indie publishers and authors, and it can be quite expensive for an author or publisher seeking visibility among subscribers.

BookBub has run 10,000 ebook deals over the past couple years, leading to purchases of more than one million ebooks per month (as well as downloads of millions of free ebooks). “BookBub’s traction proves it’s filling a huge need for readers, authors, and publishers,” said David Beisel, partner at NextView Ventures. “We meet with countless startups, but it’s uncommon to find one that has become such a meaningful part of an industry so early in its existence.” –The Digital Reader

MFA VS. POC – In anticipation of an anthology from a writer’s workshop for authors of color co-founded by Junot Diaz, the author talks about the lack of diversity in writing programs and the replication of the white male default subjectivity in the training of young writers. It’s a sad state of affairs Diaz chronicles, and makes even more remarkable the fact that literary fiction seems to offer much greater diversity than genre fiction.

From what I saw the plurality of students and faculty had been educated exclusively in the tradition of writers like William Gaddis, Francine Prose, or Alice Munro—and not at all in the traditions of Toni Morrison, Cherrie Moraga, Maxine Hong-Kingston, Arundhati Roy, Edwidge Danticat, Alice Walker, or Jamaica Kincaid. In my workshop the default subject position of reading and writing—of Literature with a capital L—was white, straight and male. This white straight male default was of course not biased in any way by its white straight maleness—no way! Race was the unfortunate condition of nonwhite people that had nothing to do with white people and as such was not a natural part of the Universal of Literature, and anyone that tried to introduce racial consciousness to the Great (White) Universal of Literature would be seen as politicizing the Pure Art and betraying the (White) Universal (no race) ideal of True Literature. –The New Yorker

On “Slut Shelves” and Eating Our Own In Fiction – A very interesting post on the existence of “slut shelves” at GoodReads and the persistent sexual and gender double standards in YA books, fiction in general, and society in general. I recently posted a story about the belief that some authors have that too many women serve as gatekeepers in children’s literature, and this article adds another dimension to the innate sexism in that belief. I know this is a depressing subject, but given the incredible speed at which women in the US are losing control over our reproductive rights, we need to be paying attention to the diffusion of these double standards. Romance certainly has its share of “slut” accusations, where, as women, we should certainly know better.

Women’s voices in fiction are drowned out and forgotten. What it means to be a girl ismade into a myth — the myth that girls are meant to be easy to digest and the myth that the right girls are “not like other girls.” We label books for young readers as being books for boys or books for girls, and we perpetuate the idea that one gender is far more important to cater to than the other. That the voices and needs as females don’t matter as much because “what about the boys?” We call books where girls dare to make choices about their own bodily pleasure smut, and we treat them as lesser, and we call books where girls have their bodies taken advantage of the same damn thing–Book Riot

The sex talk that young women should get – This post could have been written in rebuttal to the slut shelves of GoodReads. It’s a very interesting contemplation of the ways in which girls are taught about sex in a way that does not provide them with agency and an appreciation for their own pleasure. The stigma around female masturbation, the author notes, is a prime example of the ways in which girls and women are sexualized within a cultural environment that makes female pleasure something furtive, secret, and even shameful.

But girls are given short shrift when it comes to hormones and sexual curiosity. Overwhelmingly, the social message that girls hear is that sex for us is meaningless without love. Rather than choosing a boy, teaching him to listen and telling him where to go, we’re told instead from a young age to be wary of who we ‘give it’ to because ‘boys don’t respect girls who don’t respect themselves’.

All of that places girls in the position of passive bystander to sexual activity. Because what’s not to respect about a woman who knows what she wants, who isn’t afraid to ask for it and who understands that the world of pleasure has more for her than simply negotiating the exchange of sex (a secondary activity) for the receipt of love (the primary goal)? –Daily Life