i have thought a lot about censorship and what is “appropriate”. not a lot of people know this, but lolita was written to show what we allow on our bookshelves: there being no swear words in it meant it was free from censorship. a book about child molestation was allowed because it didn’t explicitly use the word “fuck”. he wrote it to show we don’t really care about protecting children, and it ended up being seen as a romance.
someone once told me - actually, many people have - that lgbt content isn’t appropriate for children. any content. not just kissing. i’m drowned in questions: “won’t the parents have to explain it?” “kids shouldn’t be thinking about sex at this age, or do you think differently?” “what will the kids think?”
at six i saw disney movies. people kiss and get married. i didn’t ask “what does that mean.” i didn’t ask “are those people going to have sex?” i didn’t ask anything, because i was six, and no six year old thinks twice about these things. nobody ever “explained” being straight to me, it was a fact, and it existed, and i was fine with that. why would being gay require a thesis, i wonder.
someone once told me that the one of the reasons people hate lgbt individuals is because they can’t see us as anything but sexual. we’re not people, so much as sinners. that they don’t see love, they see sex. just sex. it’s perversion, not a matter of the heart. only of the body.
i think i was in my early twenties before i saw someone like me.
how old were you, though, before you saw violence? before you saw sexual assault on tv? i think something like that is only pg-13, and if it’s implied, they can get away with anything. i remember watching things and learning about blood, but knowing sex - sex was what was really wrong. sex was always rated r. sex was always kind of a bad word. i was told a lot that i wasn’t ready.
i had a dream last night that i made a site where people could ask any question they wanted about sex and get answered by a professional. it was shut down in moments because 15 year olds wanted to know if it should hurt, if “double-bagging” was a real thing, if this, if that. we shudder. don’t let the children know about that!
but at thirteen i had seen enough violence it no longer struck me. i couldn’t say “fuck” but i knew that if you break your femur, you can bleed out internally in under half an hour. in school i wasn’t allowed to write about loving girls because what would the administration think - but i could write about wanting to kill myself and people would say how lovely, how blistering.
i have thought a lot about censorship. sometimes people on this site try it with me: don’t write this, don’t be so nasty. some of it is intrinsic. we know as people with a uterus not to complain about “that time of the month”, we know better than to talk about sexual assault (how shameful), we know that talking about a vagina is somehow scandalous. i can say “dick” and nobody questions me. some people only refer to the bottom half of me by “pussy”. they won’t wrap a mouth around “vagina” like it’s poison to them. even discussing this, that the language halts, that there’s an intrinsic desire to say “girls” instead of “women” - feels naughty, illicit. not for children.
the other day someone suggested i make my blog 18+. i said, okay, it deals a lot with depression and other problems that might be for a mature audience. oh no, they said, that’s not it, i think that’s helpful. i said, okay. so what is it then. well, you’re gay. you write about loving women. and i said, i don’t write about sex often and they said. it’s not about the sex. but wlw isn’t for a general audience. teenagers aren’t ready.
lolita is recommended for high school and up. i think about that a lot. i know girls who love it, who say it speaks to them on a deep level. it’s beautiful prose, after all. that was the whole point of the novel. something that looked like a rose but was intrinsically awful. i think about how if i was a model they’d want me to look young, thin, prepubescent. how my body would be sold and how through the mall i walk by images of barely-clothed women while mothers cannot breastfeed in public without fear of retribution.
i think about how i can write a novel about violence and it will be pg-13 but if my characters say “fuck” twice it’s inappropriate. i said fuck three times so far in this post, which makes it only appropriate for adults.
i think about that, and how my identity is something that people suggest lines up with a swear word. that people shouldn’t talk about it. that it’s a vulgarity. bad for children, harsh, confusing.
fuck. i love women. which one makes this only for those over eighteen.
This is such a powerful post. Read it fully, and spread it around.