Rape is NOT porn and Speak is certainly NOT pornographic!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


This post was totally unplanned. But I was ranting so much today and could hardly focus that I wanted to pen it down. Once I did that, I wanted to put it up and see what you guys think.

If you have been following the latest goings-on in the literary world, you would have heard about this. You know we are close to the Banned Books week (Sep 25 to Oct 2). And every year, we keep hearing of more and more titles on the list for sundry reasons like sexual content, profanity, violence, and many others. The only reasoning I can strive to understand is "unsuited to age group", but even then, there are so many books I think the age group in question has to read from the banned lists. This is very subjective - why not let parents and teachers be the best guide here?

As readers, we try to do the very opposite - read the books that are banned and get the word out. I mean, if you look at the list, there are so many books that you loved and probably cannot understand why they had to be banned. To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, The Color Purple, etc. The same books get banned over and over. Anyone surprised by the Harry Potter books in the list? Apparently, reading that series can make us witches or wizards or actively interested in the occult. How did they know that I would start a witchcraft organization and spend half my time doing murderous or horrifying spells on innocent people?

And the latest controversy to really irate me, and this time really make me blow my top is Wesley Scroggins' move to ban Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. And no, it's not for just profanity, sexual content, yada yada (which I wouldn't consider valid anyways). According to him, Speak is all about soft pornography. What a scandal! Tell me one person who got sexually excited reading that book and I will put duct tape on my mouth for a week. Speak is about speaking of a rape. It shows how hard it is to open up, how much it can affect you, how people around you may never guess, and how it can happen again. It asks girls to speak about it and not be silent. It asks teen girls to be strong. For ignorant people like Scroggins, Speak is about porn. All my life, I have been sick and tired of reading about the stigma of rape - how the woman is blamed and ostracized, how many women commit suicide because they can't live with the shame. Are we condemning today's teens to a similar way of life?

Laurie Halse Anderson has responded in her blog here. If you have read this book, please share your thoughts on it. This is one book that shouldn't get banned - instead it should be made widely available in school libraries.


4 comments:

Ash said...

Great post. I was outraged when I heard this as well and did a post about it on my Feminism blog. Speak is a fantastic book and rape is not erotic, it is violence.

samantha.1020 said...

Thank you for this great post! I didn't know what to think when I first read about this...it makes me sick to think that anyone could really feel this way. Speak is an amazing book and I hope that it is read by young readers for years to come.

niranjana said...

His callousness is only matched by his idiocy. Someone duct-tape this guy's mouth (and maybe undo the one over his eyes), please.

NancyO said...

Sadly, small-mindedness is a growing trend in this country and I think it will get worse before it gets better. I read this book, my daughter read this book (as a teen) and what is this guy's problem?

And as far as Harry Potter, I know a LOT of parents who won't let their kids go near these books the reason why escapes me.


thanks for the post!

Nice Post, Aths.