Long time geek, fangirl, mother, and reader. I've got a lot to say, you might not like it all, but it will be honest and hopefully helpful.
[Update: Riptide has pulled down the Belonging 'Verse site and their post about it, but there are still cached versions up (and of course I have screen shots). Please let me know if any of the links are broken.]
Trigger Warnings: This post contains graphic images and ads prompting Slavery, Rape, and Domestic Abuse. Mentions of Racism.
Riptide publishing is promoting the Belonging 'Verse novel, by Aleksandr Voinov and Rachel Haimowitz, with an ad on their main site totting the benefits of slavery.
"Welcome to Belonging 'Verse, where we are at your service. In this modern-day alternate universe, slavery remains legal all over the world."
The ad links to a hyper realistic site for the Belonging 'Verse that contains recruiting ads for slaves and promotional material to entice "Freemen" to purchase slaves. The site is still under construction, but it does feature a section of testimonials from slaves.
One of the testimonials features an Asian woman saying she's "not the smartest girl in the world" and talks about how she dropped out of high school and became a drug addict. While all the other (white) slaves are educated or working class people down on their luck. This subtle racism really stands out, and is especially stinging considering that slavery affects people of color far more than white people.
Maybe Riptide and authors are not aware that slavery is very real and is still happening today all around the world. (For more information check Anti-Slavery.org.) I'd like to think so, because it's disheartening to think that people who are aware of it would still go ahead and use it for promotional material for erotica.
Enjoying fictional books about romanticized slavery is one thing, creating promotional material that glorifies slavery is fucked up! I don't have an issue with slave fantasies or erotica fiction featuring slaves, but there is not escaping how problematic they are. I'm a fan of the genre, but I am the first to admit the ability to view the experience of slavery as titillating and desirable comes from a place of privilege. I feel, that with that privilege comes a responsibility to respect the reality of slavery and not contribute to misinformation about it.
There's a big difference between writing a self-contained fantasy story and using a hyper realistic website, with subtle undertones of racism, to glorify slavery.
How is the above ad any different than other disgusting, and sadly real ads and images that promote rape, domestic abuse and even slavery?
Why is it necessary to promote and glorify slavery to sell erotica? Is this kind of advertising enticing to you as a reader? If not, how do you feel about Riptide and these authors' choices in promoting this series?