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STFU, Prudes, Part I

I read this awesome post  by Kelly Jensen of Stacked Books about female sexuality in YA literature. Which made me happy (and not just because it mentioned my book. Though that never hurts.)

Then I read this, and, though it turned out to be a terrible and fateful choice, THE GODDAMN COMMENTS.

Then I had the Killing Feelings, as my sister calls them.

A couple of notes, ripped from my Twitter Feed:

  1. Saying something is ‘inappropriate for teens’ means I will automatically hate you/your words until given evidence to contrary
  2. Like ‘heck’ and ‘dang,’ the word ‘inappropriate’ is a signal that the speaker has their ass all clenched up about sex in some way
  3. The notion of shielding kids from sex is tiresome. Doing so says more about the shielder than about the needs of the kids
  4. Further, when we’re talking about fiction, this statement also signals some squeamish sensibility: “Sex is only okay in a story if the story calls for it.”
  5. Why sex has so many fucking fences around it, even when we’re talking about motherfucking BOOKS, is mind-boggling to me.
  6. Here is my deep-down suspicion about the Eat Your Vegetables/It Must Be Appropriate/Fit The Story sentiment. I believe that this comes from people who have problematical sexual issues themselves. Who lack imagination in all ways, not just in bed, and who perhaps have been hurt romantically or abused physically or manipulated emotionally and so cannot fathom anyone having recreational/pointless sex. I get all those personal issues. I really, really do. I’m not minimizing them. Everyone you meet is carrying a big burden, etc. I KNOW.  But do we have to let those people dictate what’s expressed about sex in our culture? Do we have to listen to their opinions solely? Why do they seem to hog the fucking microphone all the time?
They shouldn’t. And further, they should shut up and listen for once. Hence, my new Tumblr. Which is open for submissions starting now.

5 Comments

  • Carrie Mesrobian on Jun 15, 2013 Reply

    And I wish all the naysayers would direct their energy into doing something good instead of trying to cover up reality. What if all those people protesting sex in lit, or sex in songs, or darkness in YA, got together to fight, I don’t know, rape culture or child molestation? What if they fought to make society safer for the teens who are going to have sex either way?

    Absolutely. Sitting around freaking out on everyone because your panties are on fire or otherwise twisted into knots is a giant waste of time. Not every kid lives in a well-scrubbed G-rated life. Fucking acknowledge that, at least, and find something else to do besides lose your shit on kids who enjoy READING.

  • Chelsea Pitcher on Jun 14, 2013 Reply

    OMG I love you and your Tumblr and your theme song!

    I do think we as a society bend to please the most fearful, hateful points of view because those people talk the loudest. We alter our behavior to please whoever raises the biggest stink. We don’t want to get in trouble (wait–aren’t we grown ups?) so we censor ourselves to keep from getting attacked (or so our books don’t get banned).

    I am definitely on board with being more honest in our portrayals of teens. I will always do my best to be respectful of their actual experiences. And I wish all the naysayers would direct their energy into doing something good instead of trying to cover up reality. What if all those people protesting sex in lit, or sex in songs, or darkness in YA, got together to fight, I don’t know, rape culture or child molestation? What if they fought to make society safer for the teens who are going to have sex either way? How would that be?

    Anyway. VIVE LA REVOLUTION!

  • Matthew MacNish on Jun 14, 2013 Reply

    I feel the same way about a lot of topics when it comes to YA lit. Drug use. Drinking. Violence. Bullying. Self harm. Suicide. Gay. Trans.

    It’s all fucking real, and for some of us, it was more than real when we were kids, so let us write about it, please. We’re not trying to corrupt your kids, we’re trying to express pain.

    That said, I realize you’re making a kind of different point about sex. Sex is perfectly natural, and so many people try to turn it into so many things it isn’t when complaining about books.

    /rant

    • Carrie Mesrobian on Jun 14, 2013 Reply

      Nobody tells “literary” fiction writers to stop writing about anything. It’s so stupid. It’s like we need to keep acting like Santa Claus is real still.

    • Matthew MacNish on Jun 14, 2013 Reply

      Good point.

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