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Controversial Topics > Apparently "Vagina" Not Appropraite Word In Christian Publishing

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message 1: by Nike (last edited Oct 22, 2012 05:25AM) (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
But what word are we to use, especially in non-fiction? Are we to say "woman parts" or "lady parts"? The book in question in the article is non-fiction.

But what if it was Christian fiction? What if the heroine had uterine cancer, or cervical cancer?

This type of thing makes us look ridiculous to mainstream Americans.

Rachel Held Evans, Evangelical Author, Uses The Word Vagina, Has Book Passed Over By Largest Christian Chain...

A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans Year of Biblical Womanhood

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10...


message 2: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (JanelleB) You're right, Nike, this issue makes a laughing stock of Christians, especially given the non-fiction context. It would be funny if it wasn't true. What a shame.


message 3: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Bailey (JSBailey) | 22 comments But God invented vaginas...


message 4: by Elise (new)

Elise Stone (EliseInAZ) I'm sitting here shaking my head. I have no words. This is exactly the kind of thing that made me decide I wouldn't even try the CBA publication route for my book. I'm writing about real people, not plaster saints who don't have vaginas.


message 5: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
All I can say is I hope she gets a lot of PR out of this and sells a lot of books.


message 6: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Bailey (JSBailey) | 22 comments Wanna know something interesting? I went to Ted Dekker's book signing at a LifeWay in Louisville on Monday and purchased a copy of his latest release, The Sanctuary; which happens to contain the word "penis." Now why does LifeWay say that that is okay if "vagina" isn't? Are vaginas somehow more offensive than penises? Hmm...


message 7: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (JanelleB) That doesn't make sense. Maybe he gets away with it more easily because he's an establish writer already with proven sales.


message 8: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
J.S. and Janelle,

I hate to say it but I think you're both right. There is more acceptance of the word penis. Men have nether parts and women are not supposed to. Men have sexual feelings and women are not supposed to...good women at any rate. That's an over exaggeration, but the feeling is there on some level.

And yes, he's a star in Christian publishing and stars get away with what others can't.


message 9: by Marcy (new)

Marcy Dyer (marcy_dyer) | 37 comments J.S. wrote: "Wanna know something interesting? I went to Ted Dekker's book signing at a LifeWay in Louisville on Monday and purchased a copy of his latest release, The Sanctuary; which happens to contain the wo..."

I think Ted Dekker can get by with writing things that a lot of us can't. Maybe because he's more established? But I know he writes books about Vampires and demon possession and most CBA publishers won't touch those....


message 10: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Bailey (JSBailey) | 22 comments Marcy wrote: "J.S. wrote: "Wanna know something interesting? I went to Ted Dekker's book signing at a LifeWay in Louisville on Monday and purchased a copy of his latest release, The Sanctuary; which happens to c..."

Why won't they touch on the subject of demon possession?


message 11: by Marcy (new)

Marcy Dyer (marcy_dyer) | 37 comments I don't know, but I've read a lot of submission guidelines that say absolutely not. In several crit groups, I was told that was a taboo subject also. Not sure why....


message 12: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Bailey (JSBailey) | 22 comments Marcy wrote: "I don't know, but I've read a lot of submission guidelines that say absolutely not. In several crit groups, I was told that was a taboo subject also. Not sure why...."

It's a good thing my soon-to-be-published novel isn't going to published through a CBA publisher, then! Maybe these companies just don't want to make readers uncomfortable.


message 13: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
J.S. wrote: "Marcy wrote: "I don't know, but I've read a lot of submission guidelines that say absolutely not. In several crit groups, I was told that was a taboo subject also. Not sure why...."

It's a good th..."


That is HUGE in CBA. Don't make the reader uncomfortable. But haven't the best writers in past era, I mean the ones called "great" made readers uncomforatbale?


message 14: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Bailey (JSBailey) | 22 comments Nike wrote: "J.S. wrote: "Marcy wrote: "I don't know, but I've read a lot of submission guidelines that say absolutely not. In several crit groups, I was told that was a taboo subject also. Not sure why...."

I..."


Making readers uncomfortable is FUN!


message 15: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Brink (bikerbabs) | 3 comments J.S. wrote: "Nike wrote: "J.S. wrote: "Marcy wrote: "I don't know, but I've read a lot of submission guidelines that say absolutely not. In several crit groups, I was told that was a taboo subject also. Not sur..."

The whole Christian industries, "Not making readers uncomfortable" is sort of why I wrote my Amish Vampire Series. Not that it has anything offensive in it, at least not to me. But I would go to the Christian bookstore and I'd see rack after rack of Amish fiction. (Not that people shouldn't read or write Amish fiction) but why is there more of that than anything else? I think it's because it is so ultra sweet and nice that no one could possibly be offended. Of course the other question is, why do so many people read it? Fiction is really about a fantasy world. Do that many people fantasize about being Amish?!
I truthfully had a very hard time finding a book in the Christian bookstore that I was interested in reading. I find much more of my reading material from Indie authors nowadays and small pubs that don't set ridiculous rules.


message 16: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (JanelleB) Is that why people like Amish fiction so much. No wonder I have trouble finding books lately.


message 17: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Bailey (JSBailey) | 22 comments Janelle wrote: "Is that why people like Amish fiction so much. No wonder I have trouble finding books lately."

Janelle, I was just snooping your profile to see what kind of non-Amish books you like to read, and I noticed that your last name is Bailey, too! Do we rock, or what? ;) My mother's name also happens to be Janel (without the extra "le" at the end), but Bailey is my married name so she doesn't have the exact same name as you. :)

While we're on the topic of books, does anyone wanna read mine? I swear I don't have any Amish people in them. ;)


message 18: by Jason (new)

Jason (Jokers_Knight_Out) I believe it has to do with the modern American "feelings" issues we face today, especially by churches that believe you must "speak cleanly", including not using terms (including anatomical) that, for whatever reason, aren't swearing in the slightest yet make "sophistcated" people squirm.
Ted Dekker had issues getting a good start when he started. In one of his early books, in a Forward, he mentioned that one elderly woman read another book of his and condemned him to be "demonic", yet he never gave up his writings and, with his 7th book, Thr3e, finally became established. Since then, he still gets considered controversially dark, but he sticks to what he believes rather than back down.
Why does the CBA cringe at certain things that are in the Bible nonetheless? Because there's a pervading belief that if you include "superstitious" stuff like demon possessions, vampires, and a guy who steals eyeballs and gives people limited power, people think you're proselytizing them on human nature and contradicting them on their self-created beliefs, effectually telling them they're wrong and need to get right. But to not use words like "vagina" or even "penis" would just be a stunner. Read Ted's book The Priest's Graveyard, not even a quarter way in, the main character references how he tortured someone and went too far and accidentally cut his victim's "member" off.
I do think it's very sad that the mainstream market can literally get away with using any and every cussword, horrifically vividly violent action, sex scene, and, in this context, using anatomy and not worry about the audience's reaction whereas today's church seems so hypertensively concerned with not making the congregation (let alone the individual reader) cringe by using little non-swearwords and replace them with laughable substitute words. It's one reason why, before discovering Ted Dekker, I nearly didnt' want to read Christian books, too sensitive for the reader and not forward enough on any social issue that needed discussion.


message 19: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
Barbara wrote: "J.S. wrote: "Nike wrote: "J.S. wrote: "Marcy wrote: "I don't know, but I've read a lot of submission guidelines that say absolutely not. In several crit groups, I was told that was a taboo subject ..."

I LOVE the idea of an Amish vampire series. Delightful.


message 20: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
Jason wrote: "I believe it has to do with the modern American "feelings" issues we face today, especially by churches that believe you must "speak cleanly", including not using terms (including anatomical) that,..."

In the real world of bad guys and terrorism torture aimed at the genitals is routine.


message 21: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (JanelleB) @JS Bailey is a great name. I was very happy to marry into it. I've heard of a few other Janelle Baileys but this is the first Janel Bailey I've heard of.
Oh, and no matter how hard you look you won't find any Amish books on my shelves. Probably not even Barbara's vampire ones as I'm not really into vampires.
BTW good luck with your book.


message 22: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
Janelle wrote: "@JS Bailey is a great name. I was very happy to marry into it. I've heard of a few other Janelle Baileys but this is the first Janel Bailey I've heard of.
Oh, and no matter how hard you look you ..."


Barbara is a wonderfully talented writer.


message 23: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Bailey (JSBailey) | 22 comments Janelle wrote: "@JS Bailey is a great name. I was very happy to marry into it. I've heard of a few other Janelle Baileys but this is the first Janel Bailey I've heard of.
Oh, and no matter how hard you look you ..."


My mom's last name isn't Bailey. :) My name is Jenn.


message 24: by Jason (new)

Jason (Jokers_Knight_Out) Nike wrote: "Jason wrote: "I believe it has to do with the modern American "feelings" issues we face today, especially by churches that believe you must "speak cleanly", including not using terms (including ana..."

Sadly, a lot of Christians don't care about justification on the use of certain terms, which annoys me.


message 25: by Elise (new)

Elise Stone (EliseInAZ) Barbara wrote: "The whole Christian industries, "Not making readers uncomfortable" is sort of why I wrote my Amish Vampire Series...."

Okay, even I might read this, although I don't usually read vampire or Amish stories. The combination is just too intriguing!

I just got the first half of a copyedit back last night and quickly went through it to see what the editor had come up with. She'd highlighted "banging" and noted that this wouldn't be acceptable to the CBA. (I guess she forgot the part about my indie publishing this book.) The character who uses it is a grad student whose roommate is in jail for committing a murder. He also turns out to have taken over the roommate's drug dealing. I can't imagine him saying something about "having relations with." I didn't use the f-word because I personally find that offensive, but I had to give some flavor of the character. He had to be real to me.

The being real part is the exact reason I decided to self-publish and not worry about what the CBA would like or not.


message 26: by Jason (new)

Jason (Jokers_Knight_Out) Elise wrote: "Barbara wrote: "The whole Christian industries, "Not making readers uncomfortable" is sort of why I wrote my Amish Vampire Series...."

Okay, even I might read this, although I don't usually read v..."


Yeah... "having relations with" sounds way too cheesy, way too formal... oh heck, it sounds way to fluffy and lofty to be realistic for someone who committed a crime and is sounding like they're from today's generation. And yeah, I would use the word banging, in more than one way. With the book I'm working on, it's loaded with multiple levels of euphemisms and slang, intentionally making it dark (even a pastor using "ass" is reference to a donkey as like in the Bible), so I doubt think the CBA would appreciate people sounding like a postmodern day Lewis, Tolkien, or even a next-gen Peretti. I suppose they haven't noticed they're losing their grip on today's kids who'd rather read the nitty gritty than feel "preached" with clean language.


message 27: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (JanelleB) @JS sorry for the confusion
@Nike I'm sure Barbara is a wonderful writer, and the concept of Amish vampires is really cool, but I'm just not into vampire books.


message 28: by Marcy (new)

Marcy Dyer (marcy_dyer) | 37 comments In one of my books I have a cop say something about a girls boyfriend "diddling" his secretary. I don't think that would ever cut it in the CBA....


message 29: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (JanelleB) I have an apology to make. After my rash statement that I wouldn't read Barbara's book because it is about vampires, I actually went and checked it out on Goodreads. And now I have to eat my words. It looks like so much fun! I've added it onto my to read shelf. Maybe next time I'll check the book out before I stereotype it and decide its not for me.


message 30: by D.M. (new)

D.M. Dutcher  | 9 comments I think this is not so much about that. It's probably more that the book parodies a popular idea among their market, complementarianism. TBH I'm not a fan of Evans; she tries to put herself in the middle of liberal and conservative, but that's only possible because she's vague and not challenged on some of her terms.

If it's just edgy story matter, that's okay as long as the core belief is good. But when the edginess is in the core, it's a tougher sell.


message 31: by Nike (last edited Nov 19, 2012 07:09AM) (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
Elise wrote: "Barbara wrote: "The whole Christian industries, "Not making readers uncomfortable" is sort of why I wrote my Amish Vampire Series...."

Okay, even I might read this, although I don't usually read v..."


Elise, Might I suggest he say

"having congress"

or

"engaging in intercourse"

or

"we copulated"

"I had carnal knowledge of that woman." But if he was Bill Clinton he'd say, "I had no carnal knowledge of that woman."

It's ridiculous.

Banging is a great word. I'm going to add it to my acceptible list. It eliminates the "F" word which is the other word he'd use.


message 32: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
Marcy wrote: "In one of my books I have a cop say something about a girls boyfriend "diddling" his secretary. I don't think that would ever cut it in the CBA...."

Nope, no diddling around. LOL


message 33: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
Janelle wrote: "I have an apology to make. After my rash statement that I wouldn't read Barbara's book because it is about vampires, I actually went and checked it out on Goodreads. And now I have to eat my words...."

I can absolutely tell you Barbara is a terrific writer.


message 34: by Alan (new)

Alan (ProfessorAlan) | 32 comments The issue is that people who buy their books at CBA-affiliated bookstores want safe, sanitized books. They want nothing in the bookstores to upset their image of christian propriety. And since without that dempgraphic of customer, CBA-affiliated bookstores are finished, they have to listen.


message 35: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
D.M. wrote: "I think this is not so much about that. It's probably more that the book parodies a popular idea among their market, complementarianism. TBH I'm not a fan of Evans; she tries to put herself in the ..."

Please explain "complementarianism." I'm not in that market at all, but in the Christ Fic market and don't get that term.


message 36: by D.M. (new)

D.M. Dutcher  | 9 comments Nike wrote: "D.M. wrote: "I think this is not so much about that. It's probably more that the book parodies a popular idea among their market, complementarianism. TBH I'm not a fan of Evans; she tries to put he..."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compleme...

Held Evans is pretty open about being egalitarian in the wiki sense.


message 37: by Jason (new)

Jason (Jokers_Knight_Out) Nike wrote: "Marcy wrote: "In one of my books I have a cop say something about a girls boyfriend "diddling" his secretary. I don't think that would ever cut it in the CBA...."

Nope, no diddling around. LOL"


You're just diddling with us, aren't you? ;)


message 38: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
Jason wrote: "Nike wrote: "Marcy wrote: "In one of my books I have a cop say something about a girls boyfriend "diddling" his secretary. I don't think that would ever cut it in the CBA...."

Nope, no diddling ar..."


I'm diddling w/you guys heads a bit that's all.


message 39: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Bailey (JSBailey) | 22 comments Nike wrote: "Elise wrote: "Barbara wrote: "The whole Christian industries, "Not making readers uncomfortable" is sort of why I wrote my Amish Vampire Series...."

Okay, even I might read this, although I don't ..."


In regards to sexual relations, how about "knowing" each other? I can't remember exact verses, but somewhere in the Bible I know that it says "So-and-so 'knew' his wife," meaning, well, you know.


message 40: by Dalaina (new)

Dalaina May (Dalaina_May) | 2 comments Elise wrote: "I'm writing about real people, no..."

hahahahah. This made me laugh out loud. But I know what you mean. There is rape and kidnapping in my novel, and my missions pastor was initially really excited to promote... until he read it. He loved it, but isn't so sure he can publicly promote it because it's too "real." Yep. Too real. Like that is a bad thing.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (Gatadelafuente) | 52 comments I follow Rachel Held Evans blog and I find her to be a refreshing voice in the Christian community. I like that she makes her blog a safe place for the spectrum of Christians, who don't fit into the typical viewpoints that people associate with Christianity. She handles some of her critics with a lot of grace, considering some of the comments/rants they direct at her.

She is starting a series on sexuality and Christianity, and I am looking forward to it. It's a topic that doesn't seem to get enough exploration. It's as if Christians are asexual by and large, and that's definitely not the case.


message 42: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Richmond | 9 comments Lady Danielle wrote: "It's as if Christians are asexual"

In the first CBA novel I read, the bride and groom came home after the wedding. The next morning… What? Is a chapter missing? No. It's a CBA romance, known for what what's excluded. As if all those children in our congregations arrived through immaculate conception.

A quick survey of the animal kingdom shows God knows many ways to perpetuate the species. He blessed humans with sex! Celebrate!

Intimacy is an important part of marriage. I included it in my mail-order bride story and Thomas Nelson was brave enough to publish it!


message 43: by Nike (last edited Jan 13, 2013 02:25PM) (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
Lady Danielle aka The Book Huntress wrote: "I follow Rachel Held Evans blog and I find her to be a refreshing voice in the Christian community. I like that she makes her blog a safe place for the spectrum of Christians, who don't fit into th..."

Lady Danielle, Christians are not asexual. They just lie about their sexuality. Right now I personally know of two young women from very Christian homes who got pregnant out of wedlock. I know of a deacon who left his wife, ran off to another state where he married his new girlfriend and they joined another church. If I can name three incidents off the top of my head, I'll bet others can too. An online friend of mine moans about the sexually active young girls in her church.


message 44: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
Catherine wrote: "Lady Danielle wrote: "It's as if Christians are asexual"

In the first CBA novel I read, the bride and groom came home after the wedding. The next morning… What? Is a chapter missing? No. It's a C..."


Catherine, so glad you did that. So glad Thomas Nelson published you.


message 45: by Sheshie (new)

Sheshie Pie Catherine wrote: "Lady Danielle wrote: "It's as if Christians are asexual"

In the first CBA novel I read, the bride and groom came home after the wedding. The next morning… What? Is a chapter missing? No. It's a C..."


I always figured that not including it would be the same as a made-for-television movie fading to black were the audience knows what happens.

For me personally I believe it's all in the manner of how it's written. Something were those scenes are not especially graphic or pornographic but a means of promoting what a loving, Christian couple should look like.

I'm trying to figure out my personal boundary (or rather how) on writing between following what Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 6:20 where I write about all subjects from the perspective of someone whose been transformed in mind and spirit in Christ's blood and to also glorify Christ.


message 46: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
Sheshie wrote: "Catherine wrote: "Lady Danielle wrote: "It's as if Christians are asexual"

In the first CBA novel I read, the bride and groom came home after the wedding. The next morning… What? Is a chapter mis..."


In this area I think we all have to figure out our own personal boundry as writers...and probably also as readers.

I want to write something that evokes attraction, passion, desire...but is not graphic. I don't want to write about asexual characters, or prissy ones.


message 47: by Larry (new)

Larry Andrews | 3 comments J.S. wrote: "Wanna know something interesting? I went to Ted Dekker's book signing at a LifeWay in Louisville on Monday and purchased a copy of his latest release, The Sanctuary; which happens to contain the wo..."


message 48: by Larry (new)

Larry Andrews | 3 comments I gave testimony in support of a book which had been challenged by a parent in an area school system. The parent objected to the author's use of the word "penis." I 've often wondered about this parent; would s/he have preferred " wee-wee tool?"


message 49: by Jason (new)

Jason (Jokers_Knight_Out) Let's hope those weren't parents of a middle or high schooler, or this generation's... "screwed"?
Puns aside, I do believe that most churchgoers that do not appreciate, even loathe, sexual organ references and sex euphisms in their literature, yet praise the Bible are either Biblically illiterate/ignorant, or just hypocritical. Working on what I nickname my "R-rated Christian book" since it has frequent swearing, some heavy violence, and makes references to numerous taboos, including sexually-related. needless to say, I imagine legalists, pharisaic-hearted, blind-hearted Christians would want to burn it. why include those things? A character study on raw human nature, especially as seen in the Old Testament.


message 50: by Nike (new)

Nike Chillemi | 480 comments Mod
Larry wrote: "I gave testimony in support of a book which had been challenged by a parent in an area school system. The parent objected to the author's use of the word "penis." I 've often wondered about this p..."

I also wonder what word we are to use. Penis and vagina are the correct words. We could all say "down there" or "the nether region."


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