So you think you're having a hard time explaining your job to your family or relatives? Nothing beats the awkward encounter this graphic novelist recently had. In a Twitter thread, Stephanie Cooke recounted an incident in which she was asked about her profession as an erotica writer for children.
Cooke is a writer and editor who primarily works on comics and graphic novels for middle-grade and young adult audiences. And lately, while conversing with a woman, she was asked an intriguing question. When the author introduced herself as a graphic novelist, the person mistook her for an erotica writer. Honest mistake?
Shout out to the woman last night who asked me what I did and when I told her I wrote graphic novels for children, looked appalled and asked what kind of market there was for writing erotica for kids.— Stephanie Cooke - OH MY GODS 2 is out now! (@hellocookie) April 28, 2022
Cooke claimed that she was shocked to know that the author had made a full-time career out of it. In fact, she was quick to ask about what kind of market there was for such writers.
She was very shocked that I had made a full-time career out of it.— Stephanie Cooke - OH MY GODS 2 is out now! (@hellocookie) April 28, 2022
Anyways, this is taking off a bit but uh, check out my graphic novels which are NOT erotica in any way, shape, or form 😂 https://t.co/ZUcg51hA5Q
Following the author's account of her odd Q&A with the woman, other Twitter users shared similar experiences. And, judging by the comments, it appears that "graphic novel" isn't a widely known term for a comic book.
Wow that woman has a lot to unpack if that was the first conclusion she came to…— Regan (@thetypebeast) April 28, 2022
As a middle school teacher, I have to explain EVERY YEAR to a few parents what graphic novels are. I just.........— Carrie Cross (@carriecross1974) April 29, 2022
So THIS is why I’ve been getting awkward looks when I explain my job! 😂 https://t.co/Xjf0ukrKpa— Jaimal Yogis (@jaimalyogis) April 30, 2022
I used to have "ghostwriter" as part of my bio. I can't tell you how many people asked if my work was "scary." 🤦🏽♀️— Monique Poche (@moniquepoche) April 29, 2022
Lol, I guess people think graphic means explicit rather than visual. I think most people's lives would be a lot pleasanter if they occasionally consulted the dictionary...— Angela Volkov (@AngelaVolkov) April 29, 2022
This is what we call the euphemism treadmill. We dance around a topic until the dance itself becomes vulgar.— Swiss Army Chainsaw (@AndyBorne) April 29, 2022
"Graphic", "adult", "mature", "arouse" -- these all had straightforward meanings until society decided we shouldn't talk about sex, so now every word refers to sex.
"I write erotic novels…for children. They're *wildly* unpopular." pic.twitter.com/lzACUHh0wn— TheTrekspert was at STMC (@TheTrekspert) April 28, 2022
I work in the children's department of an indie bookstore and when I talk about the books for our 'older' customers I call them 'grown-up' and not 'adult' because adult sounds porny. 🤣— Sharon ⚖️ SAY GAY #ForTHEEPeople (@sharonreader) April 28, 2022
Reminds me of when I was a teen and joked I wrote fan-fiction. I meant it as in a fan made story but the person I was talking to assumed it was something nasty.— Ender Skippy (@EnderSkippy) April 29, 2022
My mom was shocked when I told her I was teaching some gaming classes in an upcoming semester. She thought I was teaching students about gambling rather than various aspects of video game design.— Jeanne Burch (@bulmasan) April 29, 2022
Reminds me of the time my mom took the one book I bought at the book fair away bc it was a "graphic novel" and I guess she thought I bought porn. At like a school book fair. At 12.— KnightOfAnger 🥚 (@kimalex19664) April 29, 2022
Not going to lie, I had never heard the term “graphic novel” until a few weeks ago. My 8 year old daughter had to explain what they were after she told me that she had bought “graphic novels” at the book fair.— Dale Calloway (@DalemarEQ) April 29, 2022
She's drinking herself into a coma today I think https://t.co/HKf7GtBWdv— Everything Awful, oh God, somebody do something (@WhiteWolfsbae) April 29, 2022
Now, I feel we should switch back to the old jargon and call them comic books again.