Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Banned Books Week - Day 4

Women on Top by Nancy Friday
por•nog•ra•phy n. 1. Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal.

It is also one of the many reasons used for banning a book from a library and yet it's someone’s personal definition of what is pornographic, nothing more.  A few examples are:

Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday.  Pocket Bks. The book was removed from the Chestatee Regional Library System in Gainesville, Ga. [1994] because the book on women’s sexual fantasies is “pornographic and obscene” and lacks “literary merit”. After months of protest and maneuvering, the library’s only copy was destroyed when the child of a patron accidentally dropped it into a dishpan of water. The book is out of print and the library does not plan to replace it.

As a woman and author of erotic romances, I found this challenge particularly offensive. Sexual fantasies, be it a woman’s or a man’s, are healthy and should be embraced, not denigrated with ignorance.

Trailsman Series by Jon Sharpe.  NAL; Penguin. Challenged, but retained at the Springdale, Ark. Public Library [2001] along with other “western” novels because the writing include “pornographic, sexual encounters.”

Okay, confession time, I laughed when I read this challenge. Obviously someone has an issue with cowboys and sex, of which I definitely don't.

The Joy of Gay Sex. by Charles Silverstein and Edmund White.  Crown; Simon & Schuster/Fireside. Challenged, but retained at the Nampa, Idaho Public Library [2006] along with seven other books, including The Joy of Sex with a complaint that said: “they are very pornographic in nature and they have very explicit and detailed illustrations and photographs which we feel doesn’t belong in a library.”

This was interesting because the challenge included a similar book for heterosexuals so the challenge can’t be viewed as being entirely anti-gay. As these books are often viewed as instructional, I think in this case details are a necessity.

It seems as if one person's pornography is not another's.  Banned Books Week is all about celebrating the First Amendment. No one should have their opinions, good or bad, silenced.  What we need to do is respect the right for everyone to have their own views while the books remain available for whoever wants to read them.

These examples, and many others, were pulled from Robert P. Doyle’s Banned Books.

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