Since my first review, I have said the "content" of the book (drugs, sex, violence, language, etc.) at the bottom of my reviews. I have really thought about it recently, and I don't like doing it. Yes, it is partially a lazy thing because I don't usually remember how many times a book says "fuck" or "shit" because quite frankly: it doesn't matter. Sometimes you need to talk about these type of topics and more so in YA lit.
I get that there are the parents out there that would slap their kid for saying a curse word, or have to read the book before they will allow their kids to read it, so there is no "questionable" content. I'm sorry but at this point in society, most people are so desensitized to these type of things that they won't even notice it.
Now, I am going to justify each one, and why I don't feel the need to tell you how much of it there is in the book:
Sex: Lets be real here, sex is not that bad. I get that it is something very special between two people, but YA literature is for teens and young adults, and people of those age groups have sex whether their books talk about it or not. Just because Tris Prior had sex doesnt mean that someone is going to completely change their views on sex, and go against the rules for sex that they have set for themselves. Also, I really think that more books should cover that topic because teens do have sex. And as a teen I can say that what I want in my literature is for something that I can relate to. Just because I haven't had sex doesnt mean that other people haven't. Slut shaming is also a problem in books. In books, it seems that if someone has had sex, they are a slut, WHICH IS NOT THE CASE!! People have sex for many reasons and its not because they are a slut. If two people are in a healthy relationship, it would not be slutty for them to have sex. It's not okay for to completely ignore the topic of sex, and especially in YA literature because teens just need someone or something to relate to, and teens do have sex.
The part of this that I just hated having to mention was homosexuality. I guess I felt that some people would want to know whether of not there was any homosexuality in it, but I just felt awful every time I specifically mentioned it outside of what I already said. Its not bad to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual, or whatever else because you no matter what are a person. I just want to read a book where the main character is gay and that it, no struggling about their sexuality, just gay and living life as a person. Not as a gay person, but as a normal human being because thats exactly what they are.
Books should also be allowed to be about the bad parts of sex. Not every book needs a perfect relationship. There should be more books about women AND MEN dealing with rape because sometimes the teens just need someone to relate too especially when it is too hard to talk to someone else. Also, there should be books about people getting into an abusive relationship, and coming out the other side. These are issues that cant be covered up, and need to be written about.
Drugs: This is a harder topic to talk about because I don't experience drugs firsthand, and not many of my friends do drugs. I am going to defend this anyway. YA literature needs to talk about drugs because everyday teens and myself are being asked whether they want to do drugs. People need to know that they have the option to say no. If the people in the books would be honest about drugs it wouldn't be a problem. The books should not in any case glorify the drugs and say how good they are; it should mention them and the real effects of the drugs- not just what the health book says about the drugs. It just needs to be honest. I want a author (that is someone other than Ellen Hopkins because we all know that she writes about whatever she wants) to have a character try drugs and actually be a person, not a drug addict who gets addicted from smelling weed for the first time, but a normal person to just have that conversation with their friends "Hey, you wanna smoke pot?" I just want an honest answer of yes or no, and for them to have real consequences.
Violence: Books don't make people violence. People make people violent. Just let a fight happen. Let the badass main character fight that equally badass dragon. It doesnt matter. Just let there be violence. This is one that I understand to a certain extent. Some parents don't want their kids exposed to violence, but the counterbalance to that is that by the time a person is a teenager or young adult, they should not be too squeamish about violence.
And finally, Language: I really truly feel that in society (American at least) curse words have become so average and everyday that it done even affect you if someone was to say a curse word or is an author was to write one. I am very guilty of throwing around curse words on a minute by minute basis because it has become a normal part of my everyday vocabulary. I know some of you are thinking, "This is so teenage of her." And my response to that is exactly. It is very teenage of me to say curse words as if they were the most casual things ever, and I know for a fact that millions of other teens do that too, so in literature written for teens or young adults, it would never be an abnormal thing for authors to casually throw in the word "fuck." Parents might freak out over it, but honestly if a kid curses, nothing is going to stop them from cursing.
Do you agree with me on any of this? Do you think I am completely misguided? I am very interested to know what you have to say.