It remains a vivid memory in my mind — the moment I learned about masturbation. I was 11, sitting in the backseat of our minivan on the way home from my grandparents house.
It was dark out and I was using my booklight to read my newest purchase “Letters to Judy Blume.” It was the moment I finally understood that these shameful feelings, these urges, well they weren’t bad at all. I kept looking at the reflection in the mirror, thinking someone could tell what I had discovered.
There were a lot of things I wouldn’t have learned without Judy Blume: that young girls sometimes explore each other, that masturbation is normal, that getting your period is something worth praying for and that sex between young lovers doesn’t always end with horrible consequences.
So why, WHY are people still trying to censor the women that taught our generation so much? Why are people so skeptical of letting their children learn about menstruation, masturbation and sex from books?
My parents never really talked to me about sex. And the things I didn’t learn from Judy Blume I learned on the back of the school bus. Based on the fact that for a good year of my life I thought that “giving head” was when a guy stuck his face in between girls’ boobs, I’d say that Blume is a much more reliable source.
If anything, parents today are more prudish than their children. Girls are more open to sex of all kinds even before parents are thinking to discuss the birds and the bees, let alone contraception.
The great thing about Judy Blume is that at 69, she’s still kicking ass. I commend a woman who writes for her readers instead of the public opinion. Maybe Forever, Summer Sisters and Are You There God, It’ Me Margaret aren’t the ground breaking, earth shattering works of literature they were when they were first published. But even at her age, she’s still speaking out against the priggish parents trying to keep her prose under wraps.
Banned Books to Read:
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes: Banned from school in
Canada for being “filthy and immoral.” (Sweet.)
Eve’s Diary by Mark Twain: Banned from a library in
Massachusetts for having “pornographic illustrations” of Eve. (And we all know ladies like porn!)
Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence: Scandalous for its explicit sex scenes including many previously banned four-letter words. (You mean my vocabulary?)
Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger: Banned for “sexual situations” and immorality. (aka life in college.)
Women on Top by Nancy Friday
The House of Spirits by Isabelle Allende
Go AskAlice by Anonymous
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath