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jesseinred-deactivated20140320 asked:

Hey, I'm sorry if this is super weird, but you're beautiful, and I wondered if you'd ever thought about doing any topless pics?

maureenjohnsonbooks:

Thank you for your kind inquiry. If you do not mind, I will impart some gentle advice to guide you in further communications.

Weigh the probability. I am an author of books for young adults. Does it strike you as likely that I would go casting about in my public tumblr box for people to take photos of my chesticular bookends? Normally, I find questions about books. And while everyone likes a change now and again, there is such a thing as too much change. If you were to work the numbers,  what do you think the actual chances were that I was going to reply in the affirmative? Were they high? If they were, it seems within reason that you might have been in a similar condition. No. The chances were never good. So either you are an eternal optimist (and we certainly need optimists), or this was written with some other intent in mind.

I realize you didn’t come to me looking for advice on how to communicate, much in the same way that I did not come to you looking to have topless pictures taken—but here we are together. Let us make the most of it!

The key to any effective letter is this: know your audience! Everything stems from that critical piece of knowledge. You had a moment of self-awareness in the first part of your sentence. Pause there and reflect. Asking women you don’t know (or often those you do) if they want to take some topless pictures is almost a guarantee of weird. This is why Hallmark doesn’t make a “how about some topless pictures?” card. You hovered on the edge of wisdom, and you retreated. Do not retreat, my friend.

With that, I must offer my regrets. But I do not want to leave you without recourse. Have you heard of the author Nicolas Sparks? Perhaps you could make a similar inquiry to him? Or would that not be appropriate?

I will leave it up to your best judgement.

-mj

What people don’t understand is when we say “Teach men not to rape,” we’re not talking about telling them not to jump out of the bushes in a ski mask and grab the nearest female. We’re talking about the way we teach boys that masculinity is measured by power over others, and that they aren’t men unless they “get some.” We’re talking about teaching men (and women) that it’s not okay to laugh at jokes about rape and abuse. We’re talking about telling men that a lack of “No” doesn’t mean “Yes,” that if a woman is too drunk to consent they shouldn’t touch her, that dating someone - or even being married to someone - does not mean automatic consent. We’re talking about teaching boys to pay attention to the girl they’re with, and if she looks uncomfortable to stop and ask if she’s okay, because sometimes girls don’t know how to say stop in a situation like that. We’re talking about how women have the right to change their mind. Even if she’s been saying yes all night, if she says no, that’s it. It’s over. That’s what we mean when we say “Teach men not to rape.”
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