|My PhD on sex, drugs and alcohol in YAF|
Many suggest that YAF should be the last place that contentious issues such as sex should be discussed implying that innocence should be maintained. They seem to forget the open access many teenagers have to porn and the such like via various mediums including the internet and let's be honest this is the last place we want them to be learning about sex. It objectifies women and brutalizes the sex as also highlighted by Malorie. It is anything but real.
Reading allows a teenager to find out who they are, or even, and perhaps more importantly, who they are not. Searching for an identity. Reading, either via a book or an e-book, allows them to take away what they want to from the narrative. It enables them to safely ask questions of the narrative without fear of embarrassment or mockery. It is all about the vicarious experience where a teenager can decide how they would react in any given situation by reading stories and seeing how the character's behave. They may agree/empathise with them, they may not. There are no rules just opportunities to explore. To test the world.
Importantly no teenager is going to come to a story in ignorance. They will probably know a lot more than they can even articulate. As writers it is up to us to provide them with those stories. They must be strong and are so real that they ring true with the reader and therefore they will connect with them. My research highlighted how sex has become more graphic in YAF but I see this as no bad thing. I would rather teenagers learnt about sex from the more realistic approaches of Malorie, Melvin Burgess and others than by trawling through any porn sites.
I am really looking forward to Malorie Blackman being the Children's Laureate. She talks so much sense and writes great books. What more could we ask for?
I have written several times in this blog before which you may be interested but is risky getting repetitive - come on everyone move on please
There was also the 'sick lit' debate
I couldn't really put up any other music than Ian Drury & The Blockheads 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll'