Erica Kudisch is making her clubhouse debut today & she's talking gender roles. Don't miss out on the amazeballs giveaway. See the deets at the bottom!
Hey nerds! Erica Kudisch here promoting my novel DON'T FEED THE TROLLS, a genderqueer romp through internet drama. And if you keep up with the blog tour and its bonus DLC, there's a $50 prize package achievement for you to unlock. Have fun!
GENDER IS WEIRD, OKAY?
People keep asking me if DON’T FEED THE TROLLS is an #ownvoices book. It’s an easier question to answer in person than online, because, frankly, I don’t know. And that’s not a popular answer, in the Discourse that is the Internet.
I have always had a complicated relationship with gender. For as long as I can remember, I have resisted the notion that certain things--activities, clothes, roles--are for boys, and others for girls. A part of me is just habitually contrarian and revels in any opportunity to do what someone says I can’t, but my beef with being defined by marketing and expectations goes too far back to dismiss. I loved playing “male” roles in all my childhood theater projects, and asserted that “boy things” like dissection weren’t gross. I tried out for, and made my school’s American Football team in seventh grade, because I genuinely enjoyed playing the game. However, I never got to play: my family said, “okay, you’ve proven your feminist point, that girls can do it too, but the boys will be abusive to you, so we’re not going to let you on the field.” So I became a cheerleader, which didn’t work out all that well.
I spent a lot of time in high school and college being mistaken for male on the Internet; my gaming hobbies, both on- and offline, assumed male as default. Even when I started writing fanfiction it was in the more male-dominated parts of fandom. And of course I fantasized about how much easier my life would be if I’d been born with a dick, and had all the respect and opportunities that come with being a conditionally-white-passing man of privilege. I’d be 6’3” like my grandfather, and a baritone, and I’d never have been told I should stop dancing, and I’d get all the lead roles I could stand, and no one would call me uppity or confrontational for speaking my mind. I wished. Sometimes I dreamt.
But I’ve never once thought that I should transition.
I can’t deny that I’ve experienced most of my life being perceived and treated as female. I have long hair and a high voice and twenty years of wearing a bra. I present however the hell I want; I often say that I like rhinestones too much to shop in the men’s department exclusively, but because of my size I often have to. But those shoes aren’t “men’s shoes”, they’re my shoes. Or they’re Christian Siriano shoes. Or they’re shoes that I’ve covered in rhinestones because I like rhinestones, and I’d like them and wear them regardless of my junk. I’d be bi/pan no matter what anatomy I started from or transitioned to. And I’d have a lovely wife who’s super gay regardless of my decision to identify one way, the other, or neither.
The protagonist of DON’T FEED THE TROLLS, Daphnis, has some of the same struggles with gender that I do. It’s one of the reasons the book was difficult, and quite personal, to write. And the conclusion Daphnis comes to regarding their identity is no more conclusive than mine.
About Don’t Feed the Trolls
Gaming while female is enough to incur the wrath of the dude-bros, and they’ve come for me. Instead of fighting back, I’ve created an alternate account. Male name, male pronouns. And I’ve met this girl. I’ve always liked girls, and Laura’s adorable and smart and never gives up, and she likes me back. Or rather, she likes the man I’m pretending to be. But I can’t tell her I’m a woman without the mob coming after her too.
And besides: I might not be a woman, not really.
The truth is, I don’t know what I am anymore. I’ve spent my whole life being told how I’m supposed to act and what I’m supposed to be, but none of it feels right. And my lie is starting to feel truer than anything I’ve ever been.
There’s a convention coming up, but the closer it gets, the more I have to choose: lie or fight. But if I don’t stand my ground as a girl, am I letting the haters win?
Then again, those aren’t the only two ways to live.
Available from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/dont-feed-the-trolls
About Erica Kudisch
Erica Kudisch lives, writes, sings, and often trips over things in New York City. When not in pursuit of about five different creative vocations, none of which pay her nearly enough, you can usually find her pontificating about dead gay video games, shopping for thigh-high socks, and making her beleaguered characters wait forty thousand words before they get in the sack.
In addition to publishing novellas and short stories as fantastika-focused alter-ego Kaye Chazan (What Aelister Found Here and The Ashkenazi Candidate, both available at Candlemark & Gleam) Erica is responsible for the BDSM musical Dogboy & Justine, and serves as creative director and co-founder of Treble Entendre Productions.
She also has issues with authority. And curses too fucking much.
Connect with Erica:
- Facebook: Erica Kudisch
- Instagram: hardhandmaiden
- Tumblr: shitmywriterwifesays.tumblr.com
- Twitter: @EricaKudisch
To celebrate the release of Don’t Feed the Trolls, one lucky winner will receive a $30 Riptide credit and a $20 Steam gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 8, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!