Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Interesting, and she has a point

A Censored History of Ladies in YA Fiction
Within the pages of these books, we have girl stories. That is, stories about what happens to girls, not books for girls. There’s physical violence, romance of all shades (between a girl and a boy, a girl and more than one boy, a girl and a girl), sexual violence, self-harm, tough but real language, and sex/sexuality. And sure, many of the books written by women that are challenged have male main characters, but the problem goes back to what S. E. Hinton was told when she launched this ship in the first place: you can’t be a woman and be taken seriously.

Call them by any name you want, but these challenges stem from fears about girls’ stories coming to the front and being told. Men have their novels challenged, too, but less frequently and, more likely than not, for reasons similar to why women’s novels are: the fear of something different (anything outside the “mainstream” white, straight male standard). Blume has more titles on the most-challenged list than any other author — even Robert Cormier could only muster three — because being female and writing about issues girls face are challenge- and ban- worthy actions indeed.

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