#saferLIT: Making the lit community safe

Some indie lit pubs believe in putting out “edgy” and “quality outsider literature” while in reality, their work is a hot mess of predatory misogynist and sexist violence couched as “art”. How can these pubs still allowed to exist?

These indie pubs exist, because unfortunately, we can’t stop them and it’s technically a free world where any dude could just establish an online lit mag and brand themselves as EIC for soliciting predatory and sexually violent literature couched as “art”.

I just skimmed through one… and I couldn’t continue. Even the titles sickened me. How could readers derive joy from reading poetry that promotes sexually assaulting someone? Or a story about voyeurism. And always… always about the male gaze.

The horrible realisation is that these EICs, poets and writers are someone’s spouse, brother, cousin, friend at the pub, colleague at work, dude you meet at the supermarket or at the gym. Would their bosses know? No.

The same principle applies to the trolls who harass the vulnerable, the marginalised, women, POC online. THEIR LOVED ONES DON’T KNOW. Now, for us in the lit community, we have to be careful and aware of such indie pubs. As EICs, we already specified no sexual violence.

Men, if you are reading this, it’s time you betray your gender and LOOK OUT FOR PEOPLE AROUND YOU. Just don’t let this sort of attitude and behaviour slide. If you stay silent, vile literature where women are preyed upon, assaulted will still continue.

If you stay silent, it means that you are complicit. Don’t be taken in by excuses like “It’s just a joke!”, “It’s just in my imagination” and “It’s just a sexual fantasy.” Fantasy sometimes become real.

We need to stand up against such pubs, their poets and writers. If we are so keen about anti-harassment in the community, we have to walk the talk.

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