Hey, guys. Book Maven, here, feeling more than a bit under the weather. It’s been a pretty ‘mean reds’ kind of day around here, with no Tiffany’s in sight.* So my plan today was to lay pretty low on the blog, minus my post about To Kill a Mockingbird. However, being mean red-ed rarely keeps me from listening, so I popped on the latest Bookrageous podcast and was humming merrily along, loving the discussion of banned books until this story was mentioned. And I just couldn’t NOT check it out. The me explain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up.**
Those of you who read this blog regularly enough will know that I wrote my senior capstone English paper on gay and lesbian young adult novels. But this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a minority character ‘white-washed’, or in this case ‘straight-washed’ in to being something else. Something not true to the teens, the author, or reality as our world knows it. There are thousands and thousands of words I can put together on this (46 pages of words, to be precise, in case anyone was wondering or for some God-awful reason actually wanted to read that paper, which is now languishing on my desktop) but I think that the most important ones come directly from an author, quoted in the article:
When you refuse to allow major characters in YA novels to be gay, you are telling gay teenagers that they are so utterly horrible that people like them can’t even be allowed to exist in fiction.
I wonder how many people realize that this is EXACTLY what happens. At least, exactly what happened to all the gay and lesbian high school and middle schoolers I’ve been able to volunteer/become friends with in my escapades at the library. And it just isn’t right. It’s like being a woman and having to go back and read all those 17th and 18th century books where people are all like “Oooh, you have a vagina, so SILENCE, and also you’re DUMB and can’t do anything but birth children and then screw up those kids because you have a VAGINA.” Only it’s worse. Because at least women are written about. What about you all? Thoughts? I for one love a good gay character as much as the next girl, and not just in YA lit. Then again, as the sign says (or, the picture of the sign, anyway), I like a good character as much as the next girl. Gay or straight. Hope that most, if not all of you out there, are with me on this one. Happy reading (especially if that book is a naught one or one with *gasp* gays in it)!
*For those of you who don’t, for whatever reason (what the reason could be I just can’t imagine!), speak Audren-Hepburn-ese very well, the ‘mean reds’ are something from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But don’t just take my word for it…here.
** Name that movie and I will FOREVER give you mad props, and might possibly consider you my new best friend.