Image by Anirvan
It seems like, as a society, we are always trying to shield our teens from the reality of the world. From the horrors of the world. We do this because we think we are protecting them. We do this to shield their young minds from some truly horrible things that happen in the world. Keeping our teens in the dark is not helping them. Keeping our kids ignorant of the reality of the world is not helping them. In fact, it’s a real slap in the face when they enter adulthood and realize that, damn, this world is pretty screwed up. Why are we pretending that things like rape, homosexuality, drug use, and explicit language do not exist? Why are we keeping our young adults in a bubble? It’s not preparing them for the real world.
So, why not let them experience the reality of the world for the first time in the safety of a story? A teenage girl can read about her favorite character getting date raped, and, maybe, she can prevent herself from being in that situation. Rape happens, and many girls and boys experience it at a young age. How is a story about rape not appropriate for young girls and boys when it happens TO young girls and boys ? How is letting young girls and boys be unaware of a potential danger to them fair?
A young boy reads about the effects of drug abuse, and turns down the meth pipe at a party. Teens are around drugs all the time. As much as the school and the parents try to keep their kids away, there are still drugs in the community; they still know drug users. So, why not give them the reality of drug use? It’s simple to me, YA books open teens minds to the feelings of others, the experiences of others, and their own life.
Maybe if a young adult reads a book about a homosexual character, then they will not feel bias towards them based on stereotypes. It’s important for young adults to understand the struggles of finding one’s self in this world where discrimination and horrors exist. Young adult books help teens to find their place in this world; the real world, not the bubble that we want to place our kids in.
Why not let our teens understand as much as they possibly can about the world, it’s good and it’s bad, by letting them read books?
I will also add that “promoting the homosexual agenda” is simply a stupid reason for banning a book. When is the last time a gay person knocked on your door and tried to sell you an Elton John CD?