Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On a more serious note...

So this happened: A magazine puts together a list of feminist YA books, then backtracks and deletes some books (TENDER MORSELS, SISTERS RED, and LIVING DEAD GIRL) in order to appease some objectors, which causes a bit of an uproar.

I think Bookshelves of Doom has a pretty easy to follow set-up of the links. You should definitely read that first. Chasing Ray also has a great summary if you'd rather read that than the original.

I have found this whole debacle--and yes, by this point it has moved from a debate to a debacle--to be fascinating. I must admit that I've read all the posts and comments on this--and often, the comments seemed more thought out than the posts.

Here's the thing--it's not censorship. To be fair, Maureen Johnson didn't say it was censorship, just that it MIRRORED the same process, though I think some people have misinterpreted her statement:
It mirrors EXACTLY the process by which book banners remove books from schools and libraries--namely, one person makes a comment, no one actually checks, book gets yanked.
And I think she hit the nail on the head about what makes debate a debacle--this is the same sort of rash decision making that is often applied to censorship cases.

From one perspective, the comments and changes pretty much invalidates the entire list. It implies that the makers of the list didn't actually read the books, and instead based their choices on others' opinions. Furthermore, the reasons the magazine gives for this is because the books they removed may trigger negative emotions from rape victims. Which, essentially, means they want to protect readers.

Books are dangerous things. They should be dangerous things. I, personally, can think of no greater compliment for TENDER MORSELS, SISTERS RED, and LIVING DEAD GIRL than the label "Dangerous Book." It's what I aspire to for my own work.
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