Punching Down

I’ve been following a particular fight in the YA writing community lately. It turns out that a few books have been published that deal with eating disorders, and the authors in question do not suffer from them and have no personal experience of them. Reviewers who have experienced ED have slammed those books as being outright dangerous to sufferers.

I’m not getting into it much because it’s simply outside my area of expertise, but again I’m reminded that you should never punch down.

The fight is not an equal one. A reviewer with almost no followers and very little power cannot hope to make much of an impact on a traditionally published book, and yet authors take notice. A reviewer who posted negatively about one book received a threat of legal action from the author, ostensibly for libel, but anyone can recognize that this is a power play in order to shut that reviewer up, to erase criticism.

That’s punching down. The powerful aiming an attack at the much less powerful. That is a cruel thing to do, and it belies an evil streak–not to mention a complete lack of self-reflection and humility–that should not be present in any good person. We should never punch down, not even if we think we have been wronged. We gain nothing from it.

I have no time for authors who punch down because someone called them out for writing a harmful narrative. I expect better than that from the people I associate with.

Today I wrote 1,023 words.

//shay

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