Posts tagged ‘sex’

April 25, 2010

Would you let your child read this?

by thiszine

by Lacey N. Dunham

Recently, the American Library Association (ALA) released its list of the Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009. I don’t know what school principals, teachers, parent associations, churches, individuals, libraries, politicians, or whoever else are challenging these books but it seems that they have a problem with issues and themes that are ripe for the age groups these books target: sex, sexuality, and rebellion through language (’cause who didn’t relish the first time they said “fuck” to their parents?).

However, Eleanor Barkhorn, in a blog post at The Atlantic, complained that the ALA list was “dismaying.” Much of her complaint stems from how the ALA compiled its list (which represents approximately 25% of challenges nationwide, a dismal number even discounting that challenges are underreported.

In her post, Barkhorn writes that “when parents complain about what their children read, it shows that books are doing their jobs: affecting young readers so much that they are transformed. It’s scary to think of books being removed from libraries because they’re controversial. But it’s even scarier to think of a country where books are so irrelevant, parents don’t even care enough to complain.”

Are books still a force of controversy today or is the trend of fewer complaints a reflection that issues like sex, homosexuality, drug use, and racism have moved into the public discourse and are no longer consider taboo discussion topics except in a few, select areas of the country? Maybe the fewer books that are challenged is a hopeful sign that in our ever diverse, ever multicultural society, things that shocked my grandmother fail to raise the eyebrows of her children and grandchildren. Book apathy might not be the blame for the ALA’s results. Mainstreaming taboos into the status-quo could be a much larger, and far more welcome, culprit.


The ALA’s Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009

1. ttyl, ttfn, l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs

2. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality

3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide

4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

6. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

7. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence

8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

9. The Color Purple Alice Walker
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

10. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

–For more on how the ALA develops its annual list, read their website.

Review of #2 on the ALA’s 2009 list, And Tango Makes Three , by this editor Lacey N. Dunham, originally written for The Feminist Review.

August 27, 2009

Non-fiction by Rabbit White

by thiszine

Are You Positive You’re Sex Positive?
by Rabbit White


What comes to mind when you hear the words sex positive? Feminist lectures about looking at your vagina in a mirror? Your sex ed teacher putting condoms on bananas? Drunken flashbacks to last year’s pride parade? I’ve read a few definitions of sex positivity online and they all seem to define it as the idea that “sex is good”; or “people who are working towards a better relationship with sex.” However, with sex positivity there seems to be this notion of “all consensual sex is good” and that sleeping with a lot of people and being proud of that makes you sex positive (the ever popular pro-sex feminist approach). One problem with this is that it is sexist,: it does not include any room for men. This just flips and reinforces double standards, if a chick has a lot of sex she is a slut and that’s cool and positive, but if a guy does than he is a slut and that’s sleazy and gross. I think that sex positivity is actually something very hard to reach, something that should be striven for but is in no way easy.


Being sex positive is not about being open about your sex life or being pro-slutty. To me, being sex positive is honestly examining your sexual history and your sexual preferences. What made you who you are sexually today? What do you like and why do you like it? This definition also includes sometimes not engaging in things that we like sexually if they are destructive or physically and psychologically unhealthy. I think what sometimes happens is that people call things sex-positive for the express purpose of avoiding examining whether or not they are actually positive.


In my younger days I identified as a strong assertive woman and a feminist. Yet, sexually as a total bottom. I was constantly covered in bruises and cuts because I liked being really roughed up in bed. I told myself that was okay because I knew I liked it and could initiate it, I was sex positive.

Continue reading Are You Positive You’re Sex Positive?

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June 20, 2009

Sexy Ducky, You’re the One….

by thiszine

Growing up, my grandparents would watch my little brother and I after school and on the occasional weekend. A hallmark of going to Grandpa and Grandma’s house was watching The 700 Club while munching on jam and butter toast.

I, thankfully, haven’t watched Pat Robertson’s rants and muddled commentary since I was eight years old. Perhaps if I had, I would have heard this Robertson-gem regarding the hate crimes bill that passed the U.S. House in April:

    “You’ve got somebody, he’s really weird. And his sexual orientation, if he likes to have sex with ducks, is he protected under hate crimes?”

Sorry Pat. Since the bill is slated for discussion in the Senate this Thursday, I don’t know what the outcome will be for that really weird guy who likes to have sex with ducks. But I’ll tell you what – here’s a great video from Garfunkel and Oates about my new favorite, feathery pastime.

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