I hold my hands up, I'm a bit of a prude when it comes to books that are overly sexually explicit AND I abhor too much swearing/crude language, even more so when its sexual, BUT that of course doesn't mean that I'd see any book banned ... not now, not ever, not for any reason.
Just like my thoughts on TV programmes which, broadly speaking, is ' if you don't like it/find it offensive, switch it over/off', likewise if a book is proving too racy, is full of language/violence you find inappropriate, you always have the option to not read it.
What then of the labelling of books?
The slippery slope towards banning OR just a way of notifying readers of what they can expect?
Hmm, not something I'd ever thought about if I'm being honest. That is until I won a copy of The Seed Collectors (if you haven't already done so you can read my review here) by Scarlett Thomas on GoodReads.
Not a lot to help me clarify my thoughts on the internet. An initial search led me to this 2009 article which told of parents campaigning to have a library label books that they deemed necessary of labelling.
Alas not particularly helpful as (1) the article dealt with the labelling of books aimed at a teen market (arguably a whole other matter) and (2) Though I could be mistaken in this I came away with the distinct feeling that far from being satisfied with the labelling of these books this group (Citizens Against Pornography) would cheerfully see the books in question banned altogether.
'Relentless crude sexual language', the fact the 'without exception the male characters are all extremely aggressive in their sexuality', the '(to me) odd sexual fetishes - Ah, a case in point, TO ME they were odd, that's not to say the next reader wouldn't find them perfectly 'normal' - but most of all the women seemingly 'obsessed by their 'rape fantasies.''
Do I think this book or indeed any with similar content should be labelled? Do you know my first thoughts were yes, after all forewarned is forearmed, right? But on thinking about it ...
Who decides what constitutes crude sexual language, what is offensive and what isn't? And at what point is the line drawn when something is deemed so offensive that a cautionary label is deemed necessary? Is it your average reader (if there is such a thing) or is it the individual determined to be offended at the merest hint of physical contact between consenting adults in a loving relationship?
Soooo, back to my original question .... labelling books - the slippery slope to banning them?
I'm beginning to think that it could well be. What thinks you?