19 Sep 2013

BANNED BOOK WEEK 2013: MORE SEX SCENES IN BOOKS FOR TEENAGERS?

Welcome to this my second contribution to Banned Book Week 2013. For those of you who may have missed it HERE is my first post, Banned Book Week 2013: Then and Now. My thanks once again to Sheila at BOOK JOURNEY for hosting and all those bloggers who contributed.





More sex scenes in books for teenagers? You can just hear the outraged outcry of those who wish to ban books.

Malorie Blackman, author of, amongst other books, The Noughts and Crosses series and CHILDREN'S LAUREATE, the eighth person and first black woman to hold the post since it was created in 1999, has not only come forward to say that .....


 (she) hopes technology can help get young people to engage with books  MORE

but, perhaps more controversially, that ......


Books for teenagers should contain realistic sex scenes to prevent young people learning everything from on-line pornography, (that) youngsters ought to read about sex within the safe confines of a book rather than through innuendo and porn. MORE

Ooh! Where to begin with this one?

Off the top of my head I'd have to say that books have to be better than on-line pornography. Then again, thinking of some of the explicit literature available, do they? 

Part of me thinks that if done properly (and lets face it we could argue till the cows came home as to just what 'done properly' means) than perhaps Malorie Blackman has a point BUT (and it's a very big but) just who exactly decides what is and isn't responsibly written literature?

I mean when you think about it how many of us spent our formative years reading books like DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterly's Lover or, as was the case with my age group, Shirley Conran's Lace? Hardly realistic and arguably not responsibly written, they were however what we thought a mind of sexual information.

Hmm, interesting to think that today's generation have the likes of Melvin Burgess who, also quoted in the article, wrote Doing It, 'a compelling sex story for teenage boys' in which according to Amazon.Co.UK ......

Dino really fancies fit, sexy Jackie, but she just won't give him what he wants … Jonathan likes Deborah, but she's a bit fat – what will his mates say? Ben's been secretly shagging his teacher for ages. He used to love it, but what if he wants to stop? Three lads discovering sex for the first time. But do any of them really know what they're doing?

A more realistic way, a safer 'context' in which to tackle the subject of relationships and your 'first time'? Any better or worse than the infamous 'goldfish' moment in Lace?

That's debatable but Doing It is pretty 'grubby' stuff according to Children's Laureate (2001 to 2003) Anne Fine who wrote THIS REVIEW OR the American Junior High Schools who have challenged it as being too sexually explicit and promoting homosexuality. 





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11 comments:

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Thanks again Tracy! I am so glad you were able to participate again in our Banned Book Week discussions ;)

Kelly said...

Umm, well I'm not so sure I think literature (as in novels) is the right way to actually learn about sex. Even back in the "dark ages" of my childhood they had decent educational books on the subject. I was given one to read at an early age (which was then followed by discussion).

carol said...

Yep, I learned from novels, and I'm fine if my daughter learns the same way. I know, that's not the "right" thing to say, but there you have it.

Karen said...

I absolutely understand how parents might want to protect their kids from certain realities but they are just that - realities. What seems outlandish and oversexed to one person might be the book that helps a teen survive their teenage years.

There is a lot of crap (for lack of a better word lol) out there but I think the parent should monitor each book for each child - not an overall ban.

Like you said - we can debate the wording and quality of each book all day long. It's a personal thing and can't be legislated.

Blond Duck said...

Well...I think sex is an act of love, and love stories are fine. In my opinion, porn is basically a shocking thing, not a true act of love.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I don't mind sex scenes in a book if it works with the story, and if authors want to write them instead of "fading too black" then great! I'm not saying all books need sex scenes, of course, so I think having a mix could help some teens.

NRIGirl said...

If their motive is to teach about relationships why not write about love, integrity, faithfulness, trust, which all lead to happy relationships?!

I wonder.

Brian Joseph said...

Superb post.

Of course it is up to parents what they want their teenagers to read. I remember I read a lot of science fiction as a teen. As these were mostly books written for adults there was a fair amount of sex hidden in pages.

In retrospect most of it was handled maturely and intelligently. It certainly did not do me any harm nor do I think that it harmed any of my peers reading similar things. I would also note that my parents had no idea what these books contained.

Bex said...

I think in theory it's a great idea, as it could be much more realistically handled in a novel than in other more sensationalised settings such as movies and online... However I did just read Forever by Judy Blume for the first time and I think that fell into the trap of being just a book about sex and not having much else to it, and I'd hate to see other YA books go the same way. It's a tricky subject. Theoretically I'd have no issues with my children learning about sex from books, as I would also discuss it with them so I think as long as it's balanced then it's fine. And I don't think you can really say that it's an inappropriate place for it (so long as it's done properly like you say) because what's inappropriate in books really?

Greg said...

I read a lot of sci fi and fantasy as a kid and I don't remember much sex in them. THe fantasy in particular was often about honor and respecting a woman, so the message I got was be a gentleman. And there COULD have been sex, like Brian said, my parents didn't know what I was reading.

That's just that genre though, and I know its different now. I personally would not want my kids to learn from books, but rather at home and from educational stuff we provide. At the same time, I don't believe in banning books so this is a choice everyone has to make for themselves. Just my opinion.

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