“I Wanna Eat You Like a Cupcake”

In response to my own post yesterday, I wanted to talk about men and clear up confusion (if there was any) on my thoughts on men and catcalling and harassment.

I know that men are not impervious to being sexually harassed or catcalled by women. It definitely happens, and it’s definitely just as vile and inappropriate as when it happens to women, and I truly do not wish to downplay anything a man feels who has been a victim of street harassment. But this is a topic we do need to discuss.

My husband gets catcalled quite often. Overly charged sweeping looks, and commentary from strangers that is sexual in nature. One day, he was having a smoke at work and a girl drove by with her friends. She yelled out the window; “Hey baby! I wanna eat you like a cupcake!”

The statement, while quite vile, didn’t make Matt feel unsafe. Uncomfortable, for sure. Dirty, definitely. It also opened his eyes to what women must feel when it happens to them. But he didn’t feel unsafe.

Now if a man had said this to a woman…she would have likely felt uncomfortable and unsafe. Because we are sort of taught that, aren’t we? That men are to be feared. We are taught that by men, by experiences, by the warnings we’ve been getting as soon as we could walk and talk.

It’s quite rare that a woman will stalk and follow and make over sexually charged commentary toward a man, because most women are afraid the man would act on it. It’s not completely uncommon and it does happen, but it’s rare.

Women are more afraid of men than men are of women.

It has been instilled in us forever that you don’t walk anywhere alone at night, you don’t leave your drinks unattended at a party or bar, you don’t let a guy “get you” a drink, you don’t put yourself in any situation where you could get hurt or raped. Which is, unfortunately, a lot of situations.

But men don’t get the same lectures, and we have to ask…why is that? Why are we not telling men to not go anywhere alone at night? To not leave their drinks unattended or let some girl get them a drink at a party or bar? Why?

Let’s talk about this, let’s find out the “why”. Why don’t most men fear their safety when they are catcalled or approached by a strange woman?

Is it because they know they can defend themselves from an attack from a leering woman, should it happen? Or is it because it’s so uncommon that they just don’t think it would happen to them? They don’t live with the fear that one wrong move – be it taking a short cut to work – could have dire consequences? Is it because men are perceived as “enjoying and seeking sex” while women are perceived as, well…not?

There is a double standard here, there’s no doubt about that. Funny or Die posted this video of “what happens when a man walks the streets of NYC for 10 hours”. It makes light of the video of the woman walking the streets of NYC.

I have a sense of humor…but this video made me sad, and a little angry. It made me feel as if Funny or Die wasn’t taking street harassment seriously. I know, it’s meant to be a joke…but it falls short, to me.

There is fear being instilled at early ages in women about men. But is that fear unjust? Do we stop telling our daughters to keep their guard up around men? After all…not all men are bad. Not all men will sexually assault or harass a woman. But are we safe enough to stop worrying?

The answer is no…we aren’t safe enough to stop worrying. But we would like to be…we really would. We would like to know what it feels like to laugh off a comment like “I wanna eat you like a cupcake” from a stranger of the opposite sex.

There have been a lot of comments from men on those Facebook posts saying “we can’t even say hello to a woman in the street! Or flirt with her!” ….and yeah, I guess that sucks for you. I guess it sucks that she feels unsafe and cornered and doesn’t feel flattered about your sexual advances.

But what can we do about it? How do we make her feel safe out in public?

I have an answer…and it’s pretty crazy…but…how about you stop charging up your comments with so much sexual meaning? Women do not respond well to a stranger tossing sexual remarks at her, that’s been proven.

Now…for the men who have experienced street harassment…I am sorry. I wish you didn’t have to know what that feels like. I wish I could have caught it, because I definitely would have said something to her/them. I would have asked her why she thought it was okay, because I generally want to know. Is it because she has had it happen to her? Is it “the new norm of professing our interest” in someone? Or was she just showing off? Did she know she made him feel uncomfortable and dirty? How does it make her feel to know that she made him feel uncomfortable and dirty?

I’m a firm believe in equality for all, and nobody should have to experience that. Respect and equality, and telling someone you want to “eat them like a cupcake” is not respectful, no matter who says it.

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A Rant on Feminism – and why we need it

The comments toward women in the comment sections on Facebook of that catcall video and the allegations against Jian Ghomeshi really make me feel sick to my stomach. They are mostly by men, and almost all of them are insulting the women and threatening them while trying to deny that we have a problem with how women are treated in today’s society.

Don’t believe me? Spend 10 minutes reading the comment section and ask yourself….is there really not a problem with violence towards women?

This is why we STILL NEED feminism. And feminism is not the problem. The problem is how defensive and aggressive men get when women speak up. Again, open your eyes and look around.

Let me ask you…is it okay for 3 men to follow me around a bar, ignore me when I blatantly say that I am uninterested? Is it okay for them to follow me outside and continue to try and hit on me/get my attention once I have made it VERY CLEAR that I am uncomfortable and do not want their attention?

Is it okay for construction workers fixing a sidewalk outside of a family member’s house to leer and make comments (in another language) about me as I try and walk past with my two small children to get to my family member’s house?

Is it okay for a guy to yell “I’ll give you a nickle for your vagina!” at me when I am simply waiting at my son’s bus stop?

If you answered yes to any of those, or tried to rationalize it with “well, you went to a bar” or “what were you wearing?”….you have a problem.

Yes, I went to a bar. I went to a public place to dance and drink and have fun with my friends — not to get hit on. I clearly stated that I was uninterested and married, and it didn’t prevent those guys from continuing to follow me around and harass me. They only stopped after they followed me outside and saw my husband.

And contrary to what these men seem to think, women don’t dress up or do their makeup to impress them or fish for compliments. I personally enjoy doing my makeup and wearing a cute outfit for myself and only me. I’m just as comfortable rocking sweat pants and a baggy tee with no makeup. It depends on my mood and how I feel, NOT some random man that I don’t even know.

Guess what folks? We women are not stupid. We can tell the difference between a polite good morning and a leering, sexual advancement. Stop telling us to “take a compliment”, it downplays what’s really going on. Is our discomfort and fear that meaningless to you?

And yes, I’m aware that there are a lot of women out there who feel the same way as those men. Still a major problem in my eyes.

The victim blaming needs to stop. Be a feminist, care about women because we are half the damn population. We are fucking important!

Being a feminist doesn’t make you a man hater, it means you care about everyone and you want equal rights for all. The right to walk down a street free of discomfort or harassment, the right to report a crime against you without being threatened and harassed, without having the majority of the population accuse you of lying because one man couldn’t possibly have assaulted 8+ women. They must all be lying.

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On Facebook and Instagram and Strangers

I’ve changed a lot in the past few years. I used to accept friend requests on Facebook from people I didn’t know. I didn’t think about  “Internet safety” or why I should be very careful about what I share on the Internet.

That’s all I think about now. I’ve completely cut back on sharing photos of my kids on this blog and Twitter (unless it’s a kind of faceless or completely watermarked photo, and even then…that’s rare).

This blog, my author page, my blog page and my twitter are all open to the public for obvious reasons. Marketing, sharing my content, and branding myself. But I am very careful about what I post…especially when it comes to pictures of my children or family.

Instagram and Facebook are more intimate to me. I share photos of my kids there, with family and friends…with people I’ve known for a while. But I am hesitant to add new people, unless I know them and know that they are safe.

Call me paranoid, but that’s just the way it is. And I get more paranoid and prickly about it as the years go by.

As embarrassing as this is to admit, I get really anxious when someone that I don’t know sends me a friend request out of the blue. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, or come across as a snotty asshole, but I’m not comfortable with having people I don’t know see photos of my kids and family.

So if you send me a friend request on Facebook or Instagram, and if I don’t accept it…please don’t take it personally. It’s not that I don’t want to connect with you or hear from you, it’s just that I’m trying to keep those accounts private. I will gladly correspond with people via Twitter, the public pages or email. I do truly love hearing from people!

What do you think? Do you use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter differently?

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Book Talk: What Makes Collide (and Harlow Jones) Different.

It’s crazy to look back on myself three years ago. That self had dreams of becoming a published author, but had never written a novel. That self had so many excuses…not enough time, not enough resources.

Then, something changed. I woke up one morning and I asked myself, what’s really holding me back from pursuing this lifelong dream of mine?

The answer was glaringly obvious…me. I was holding me back. Not life, not circumstances, just me. All that time I spent coming up with reasons why I shouldn’t or couldn’t, when I could have been writing and just doing. Trying.

I was afraid to try because I was afraid to fall. I was holding me back.

I had to change that. I didn’t want the end of my days to arrive with the knowledge that I never went for what I wanted because I was afraid to fail.

I’m not afraid of failing anymore. I know I’ve accomplished a lot in the past year alone. I am proud of my work, proud that my female lead character represents so many voices that don’t get a chance to be heard. She is prickly, reactive, and determined to stand her ground…even if she is afraid. She suffers from depression and anxiety, but does not let it define her. She is human, she has flaws and makes mistakes but she is self aware enough to recognize it and grow from it.

My books focus on social issues. Our societies thirst for untraditional romances that borderline on abusive, the heartbreaking, terrifying fact that most people turn a blind eye to what’s happening in their own backyard because helping someone has become taboo. Nobody wants to extend that hand unless they can see what’s in it for them. Harlow Jones is different because she dives in and helps, knowing that her happiness with Iain – and her own credibility – will be at risk.

I want to take people on a ride with Collide and my upcoming new release, Consumed. I want my readers to learn and grow with Harlow. I want them to question what is right and wrong, to see that gray area and acknowledge it. I wanted them to have a female lead that they can truly relate to, and I believe they’ve gotten that out of Harlow.

I am excited about my books, and I want to share them with the world because I am passionate about what I write about. That’s why I talk about it so much, why I literally speak as if Harlow exists…because she does. She represents many strong women that I know and respect.

Three years ago, I never thought I would be where I am today — with one published book and another one about to be released. I never thought it would be possible because I never gave myself the chance to try until that fateful day I decided to stop listening to the nay-sayers (mainly myself) and just go for it.

After Consumed, there will be one more book in the Collide series. Then I will focus on my other projects.

I will continue to write about social issues and stigmas, mental health, romance and heartbreak and what it all does to the human spirit.

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Collide — Book Trailer Edition

For quite some time now, I’ve been talking about wanting to put together a book trailer for Collide. Alas, I have absolutely no talent in video creating or editing. My dear friend Sarah stepped in and helped me out!

Collide now has a trailer, and Sarah reveals it in the interview she does with me on her blog today. Go on over and see what kind of juicy questions she asked, and be sure to check out the book trailer video!

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Also, I will be doing a giveaway on my Facebook page once I hit 400 likes. Please like and share the page so we can do that giveaway!

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Collide’s New Cover & Updates on Consumed

Collide has a new look!

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Which is pretty exciting, don’t you think? I’m excited about it.

Now for you new-comers…a little blurb on Collide (while we are on the topic):

COLLIDE is a romantic suspense novel about a 17-year-old girl named Harlow Jones. Harlow has a troubled past, and a questionable future. Surrounded by death, tragedy, and intrigue, she is forced to mature long before her time. Plagued by anxiety and depression, she hides her inner turmoil with spite and sarcasm. Her thick skin is impenetrable. That is…until she becomes involved with her grade 12 English teacher

Available on Kindle and Kobo.

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As for Consumed….I recently shared the release news on my Facebook page (which is why you should go like that page. I update it before my blog – you’ll get the latest news and what not there).

I am looking for people who want to help with the cover reveal. If you like reviewing books and have a blog (or Facebook page) that you can use to share some teasers and reviews Consumed, sign up!

The cover reveal will be November 21st and materials will be distributed November 10th. The release date is December 1st.

I am so excited and can’t wait to share it with you all!

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Consumed

Thanks to my extremely talented friend Byron, I now have a synopsis of Consumed to share with you all!

CONSUMED by J.C. Hannigan

He’s tall, dark, and deliciously handsome. Not exactly what Harlow is looking for. Her heart’s still stuck on Iain Bentley.  But it’s been a painful struggle since she last saw him.  Two years of silence and wondering; of desperate sleepless longing.  And Jax Walker is a hard man to resist.  Just as she’s prepared to open herself to new love, Harlow’s whole world is thrown into a painful spiral.

And also, this little teaser…

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I spent all of today editing and revising, and I still have a lot more to do but I can’t help but share little bits and pieces of this exciting progress. I kind of feel like I know what I’m doing, so it’s a little more exciting. There’s less stress, I’m enjoying it more.

I have already ordered the new cover, and hopefully I will have it in time for my intended release in early December (I’ll know more in a couple weeks). In the mean time, my short term goal is to get Consumed edited, revised and formatted  by October 31st, so that the only thing I’ll be waiting on is the cover.

That’ll free up November for NaNoWriMo…and possibly a third novel…

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