Obligatory #amazonfail Post

I’ve been thinking about how I feel about this ‘#amazonfail’ and whether I should make the obligatory blog post talking about how I feel about it… but I can’t because when I try to write down what my opinion is I end up going off on a completely different tangent on an issue that actually bothers me.

You see, this whole ‘#amazonfail’ amuses rather than offends me, I’m especially amused by the Internet reaction – big company does something stupid and automatically it’s the single greatest evil since the dawn of time. It seems the only permitted feelings on it are ones of hate and you must automatically dismiss their explanation of a ‘software glitch’, you know what? If they’re working on implementing some sort of adult filtering then who’s to say there wasn’t some sort of software glitch or even a human glitch with someone setting up the filter wrong.

Everyone makes mistakes, we can grumble about it or we can just give them the benefit of the doubt because frankly, they’re unlikely to do it again in a hurry. Admittedly I’m rolling my eyes with my “oh okay, it was a software glitch” but I don’t have enough evidence to rule it completely out.

Whether I agree with having adult filtering, I don’t know, I think the controls should be there so that people can choose to exclude material they don’t want to see but whether it should be automatically enabled and those people looking for adult material need to switch it off, I don’t know.

The thing that bothers me more about this is the fact that there is such a category as ‘Gay Interest’, what exactly does that mean? I hate the idea of being labelled and stuck up on a shelf, singled out from the other books as being only interesting to one group of people. It’s the same reason why I hate ‘Pride Parades’, I feel that in this century the idea is redundant and only reinforces a view point that gay people are different, we’re not. I always feel that by marking things out as being ‘gay’ you stop a lot of people picking up a book, why can’t it just be a book that has a central gay character and exist in whatever genre the writer has set it in?

I don’t think subjects such as ‘gay history’ or ‘gay culture’ actually exist, it makes us sound like a subset of ‘normal’ culture and surely history is history, but I still don’t like the idea of ‘gay history’, it sounds like we’re one of those weird movements that sprung up rather than us just existing as part of history. Why can’t these books just be in the social history section with the other books the examine shifting attitudes towards areas of our society?

Maybe I’m a bad lesbian for thinking like this but I don’t want my sexuality to be me, I just want to be me. One of the nicest things ever said to me was whilst working on ‘Blood Brothers’, there was a girl who’s life revolved around her sexuality and she’d get the piss taken out of her because of it she said “you don’t pick on Steph, and she’s gay.” the reply was “we don’t think of as Steph as gay, we think of her as Steph.”

That’s all I want to be, that’s all I want gay people to be – someone who just happens to be gay rather than it being a central issue.



  1. Nadia

    You have a point about the whole “gay interest” thing…but at the same time, what about people who *are* looking for books by or about queer people? I haven’t been out for all that long and I’m still trying to figure out what being a lesbian means, so seeing what’s recommended based on things that I’ve looked at is pretty helpful.

    (btw, found you via Twitter–I’ve pretty much been obsessively refreshing the #amazonfail search. ^^; )

  2. Katharos

    I think this is one of the reasons I am so annoyed about it though. Removing the ratings might have been a ‘glitch’, but tagging all those books ‘gay’ in the first place wasn’t.

  3. admin

    But surely that fault lies more with the publisher? Sending out the information with the book defining it as ‘gay’ so Amazon stick it in their ‘gay’ category. If we didn’t define the book by sexuality then it would have just got stuck in the appropriate genre. At least that’s how I assume Amazon assign books to categories.

  4. James

    This is a difficult thing, and not quite shure how to comment, while I make no comment yeah or nae sexual preferance should be like your religion you keep it to yourself! As a married man I do find that gay folks, while trying not to put everyone under the same banner do tend to be more vocal and outspoken than their counterparts. with regards to amazon I think they are between a rock and a hard place as you may be aware and on some subjects will have the same view but Gay is still to a degree not mainstream topic and some folks still prefer and think that this is how it should be. if they dont see, it dont hear it, It does not exist

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