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One highly opinionated feminist YA nerd's twisted, snarky and informative journey through the genre's perils, pitfalls and sparkles.

Rape = softcore porn, apparently...

"Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson is about rape. It's a wonderful book but it's not an easy read. It's honest, brutally so, and often heartbreaking, but it's brave and tackles issues that are still seldom talked about today. It's a modern day YA classic so obviously it's a top target for book banners.

Like this jerk.

No, I don't feel bad for calling him a jerk because this man is so ignorant it makes me feel angry just to think about him. In his so called Christian crusade to rid schools of filth, he calls for the removal of "Speak" from the shelves (along with "Slaughterhouse Five" which is just so ridiculous I can't even find the words to describe how stupid it is) because it is "soft pornography." For him to think that about a book containing rape is disgusting, not to mention him outright lying about the book's intent. But the wider issue here is censorship.

Books are powerful things. They can change people, change opinions and hell, they can change the world. Books like "Speak" are why I'm a YA fan. It's gutsy and talks about a taboo issue with unflinching honesty. It doesn't talk down to teenagers or dress up issues. It's not afraid to talk about rape, even when others are. And fear is what really drives censorship. Fear and ignorance. It's the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and refusing to listen to reality. By pulling the book, or any book, from the shelves of a school or library or bookshop, you are denying people, especially young people (the vast majority of the top 10 most challenged books in USA are aimed at teens and children), the chance to explore new topics and new worlds and maybe even think twice about things. What message does it send out when you write incoherent rants about rape being equivalent to soft core pornography? Don't teenagers and young women have enough to worry about? It's crucial that we change perceptions about women and rape. In Scotland, a recent Rape Crisis Scotland survey of more than 1000 people found that 23% of people thought a woman was partially responsible for her own rape if she was drunk, while 17% thought she bore some responsibility if her clothing was revealing. No. Rape is rape. It's not sex. It's NEVER the victim's fault.

"Speak" authour Laurie Halse Anderson rebutted this stupid man on her blog and offers links and advice on how you can tackle this issue head on. Banned Book week is coming soon and I heartily recommend you pick up "Speak" and read it if you haven't already, or any number of books people try to take away from readers. The strongest weapon readers have against people like this is just reading the books.


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6 comments:

truthpact said...

Well, it is the woman's fault if she does the raping. Let's not ignore the fact that men get raped too.

But yes, to correct your phrase, "It's NEVER the victim's fault."

Ceilidh said...

Exactly. I shall go correct my statement. Rape =/= sex.

Mismikado said...

That is absolutely insane that someone would take entire point and purpose of Speak out of context and call it porn! People like that just frustrate the heck out of me... I'm loving this project and your new blog btw and I left you a little present on my blog ;)
http://mismikadodownthesidewalk.blogspot.com/2010/09/this-is-one-lovely-blog.html

irishelflinwe said...

That noise you heard? Was my head hitting my desk. *sigh* I really, REALLY wish people would think before they type. I don't want to delve too deeply into the censorship thing, mostly because it makes me rage incoherently, but you put it very nicely. Making books only about "acceptable" things isn't going to change the fact that unacceptable things happen in real life, and it would be better if people (especially young people) knew that they existed, rather than sticking our heads in the sand because maybe if we don't see it, it isn't there. And off I go. I'll stop talking before I start whargarbling. :P

Leeness said...

Um...wat.

I have been meaning to read Speak for a bit now, so I picked it up finally and read it in an hour or so. Great book.

And...??? Softcore porn? What? I can't. It's disturbing that this guy would find it sexual in any way, like Laurie Anderson said. Disturbing. Like, the scene wasn't even described in a sexual manner, at all, so... I don't even get it. =/

Creeping me out, to be honest. :(

psychedeliceyes said...

1: Book banners always make me descend into an unspeakable rage. What's the purpose? To make society stupider? To project your own morality on to the public? Or to try to pretend that issues like rape, drug use, homosexuality, profane language, sex, and what-have-you don't exist so that we can pretend we live in a brainwashed little utopia?

2: This man's views are actually quite creepy. Isn't comparing Speak to porn more or less saying that he would expect readers to be sexually aroused by rape? Or maybe he's operating under the sick assumption that it wasn't really rape because Melinda was asking for it by drinking or something. Who knows. Who cares. Fuck this guy.

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