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[personal profile] foreverlasting
I recently ran into an entry by Carrie Ryan where she discusses Breaking Dawn in the context of sex and violence. I know I've already beaten this topic over the head, but with the new Twilight movie come out this year, in many ways I feel like I can't say this often enough.

I'm particularly a fan of this bit:
I'm not a fan of challenging books. I also don't have a problem at all with Breaking Dawn or the violence in it. I give full props to Stephenie Meyer for writing the book and concluding her series the way she felt it should be done. But I'm just shocked that the collective fear of sex in YA novels is so strong that it outweighs any problems we have with violence or potentially abusive relationships.
Apparently some parents are (have been? this was a while ago) pissed that there's sex in the final installment of the Twilight series. Between two married couples, no less. Admittedly, I myself have never understood this country's determination to get its offspring hitched before they could, ah, consummate, but you would think the fact that Bella and Edward waited until their honeymoon to get down and dirty would placate conservative readers. I guess you can't please everybody.

Meanwhile, that scene with blood, gore, and Edward ripping her open with his teeth? A-okay.

Ryan points out the hypocrisy inherent in our society: We're fine with teens reading and watching violence, but sex? Oh, sweet cheesecake, NOT SEX!!!

I have issues with the young adult label. Many issues. The primary of which is the limitations and restrictions. Some publishers literally have checklists where sex or varying amounts of violence can tip the scale from YA or adult. The violence, I understand. But sex? We are a culture initimately familiar with violence. Sex is not violence, or at least, it shouldn't be. In fact, sex could be perceived as the exact opposite of violence. I don't see why the two are clumped together. Especially since abstinence-only education doesn't work.

My parents never told me I couldn't read any particular book (though they probably would have asked me to put back any erotica if I picked it up). I started reading adult novels when I was 12. Granted, I was an advanced reader, but many 'young adult' readers read books above their age bracket. You know what happens when children (13 and under) read something sexual? If it's not too explicit, they'll either a) become curious and ask questions, which you would think any parent would be qualified to answer, or b) they don't even pick up on it. As for years 13 and above, I'm intrigued as to what people think teenagers think about. Or, hell, do. Okay, here's a hint: It's not their homework.

Oooh, ooh, and here's my favorite comment of the day, courtesy of anywherebeyond @ LJ:
Considering HALF the teens polled about the Chris Brown assault on Rihanna think that she was responsible, I think it's time we quit acting like hysterical ninnies about teen sex and start taking a hard look at teen violence. I don't think a book should be challenged for EITHER reason, but it makes me crazy that people think nothing of the 1500 people who die at the end of Titanic, but hesitate because Leo and Kate might get hazily busy before the ship sinks. It's absurd.
ZOMG, THANK YOU. You don't know me, but... *loves*

As a violence-prevention advocate, it's incredibly frustrating trying to get into schools to talk about this kind of stuff. Most parents don't want their daaaaahling children objected to learning about basic biological processes and the very cultural implications associated with them.

We need to change the way we view sex and violence, and we need to do this in the schools. Critically ripping apart analyzing Twilight is only the start.
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foreverlasting

June 2012

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