Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Oversexualized" YA covers, and why it doesn't matter.

This post is likely to get ranty. I apologize in advance. Sort of.

These covers have been used as an example in this post, as well as this one, so what the hell--I'll use them as an example, too. (Yes, I realize these posts are months old.)

I simply do not see an issue with these covers.
Chain Reaction--they're fully clothed. They're kissing, but in my mind, it hasn't crossed over into inappropriateville. When did water transform from a necessity, into a sexualized no no?

Invincible Summer--I've read it. I know this novel is so much more than sex. It is not the central theme, but the cover is relevant. But let's assume it wasn't, for just a moment. Let's say these boys weren't on a beach, there was no girl, and there was no sex, but for some strange reason the publishers used this cover because um, "sex sells". Is a girl laying on the beach in a bikini really a sexual thing? Do you cover the eyes of your children when you see a woman, or a TEEN in a bikini on the beach?

Teenagers kiss. They lay on the beach. In bikinis. They curse. They're gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, bisexual. These are realities.

We'll all form our own opinions about these issues. We're all entitled to those opinions. That isn't the point of my post. Not really. I respect Vicky's opinion, even if I disagree with it. But these posts, as well as other things these past few days, have given the me the urge to bitch a little bit.

Somewhere along the way, we've all decided it's society that should be blamed for the actions of our children. Like somehow it is no longer our place to instill morals on them. No. It is not society's place to sugarcoat realities because I think my kids' eyes are too sensitive for it. It isn't your place, a publisher's place, a television producer's place, my own mother's place. It is MY job to talk to my children. It is my job to put them on the right path. It is my job to pay attention to what they're doing (that includes wandering into an age inappropriate section in the book store), and communicate with them about things that I disapprove of. Are they going to be tempted with sex? Of course they are. Sex is a part of growing up. Even if they aren't physically having sex, they're thinking about it. Blindfolding them isn't going to prevent that. It isn't about erasing the temptation. It's about teaching them to fight the temptation, until the time is right. Books like Invincible Summer accomplish that goal.

Someone else deciding what is inappropriate for my kids? Fuck that. (Yes, FUCK that. Now try to get my four year old to say "fuck" and see the reaction you get. She knows better, because I taught her to know better, and that's all I can do for now.)

Stop trying to shift the responsibility off our shoulders. I am a parent. It is my responsibility. 

End rant.


  1. What a great post Amanda! I completely agree with everything you said and really, couldn't have said it better myself. =)

    I've found that being completely honest with my daughter has brought us a lot closer because she knows that there isn't anything that she can't talk to me about. She's only 12 right now and I hope that it continues when she's in high school but I agree that it's my job to talk to her about what's appropriate and what's not appropriate for her age and no one else.

  2. Hell yeah.

    I have no idea how I will approach this with my daughter. She is only 3. I'm a very blunt person so most likely I'm just going to tell her blatantly honest things instead of skating around it.

    Me personally though I blame MTV for everything that is wrong with this country LMAO. Or the fact that parents let their children watch it. I don't know when we stopped being a country of personal responsibility but it really is aggravating.

  3. LMAO! You're so right about MTV. Skins is appalling! I feel like every parent should watch it with their teen just so they can say "That! Don't ever do THAT!" Lol

  4. Thank you so much for mentioning that people seem to think that its societies place to raise their children. It really pisses me off the amount of parents you hear blaming school and friends and stuff like that for how their children are acting and this is further example of that.
    If a parent doesn't want their child reading these sorts of books that's fair enough. ignore them, don't read them, try and keep your children away from them! however I know what teens are like, and you tell them they're not allowed to read summit, they are probably gunna find a way of reading it!

  5. You are so right! It's a book cover! For goodness sake people need to be glad that their kids are reading at all instead of worrying about the cover of the book have kissing or a girl in a bikini on the cover. And if the concern is that young children are seeing the covers, I have books lying around with people kissing on the cover and my daughter, who is 3, looks right past them daily. Kids don't notice as much as adults think they do which is why Disney movies get away with sexual innuendos. Think about it, when we were 5 or 6 did we understand the innuendos in the movies? No. Same thing. People will find any reason to freak out these days. You want to know what book I making my daughter read when she gets to be, oh, about 14 or 15? Forever by Judy Blume. A book all about a girl's first sexual relationship. Why? Because it's honest. And I wish I had read it at that age instead of at 20. It would have helped immensely.

  6. I agree! If you don't want your child reading something based on the cover OR content, that's your choice. Just don't try to force that belief on others. And yeah teens have ways of getting ahold of things we'd rather they didn't have, but if you're diligent in educating them on such matters, your voice will be in the back of their heads, as much as they'd like to act like you just didn't exist. Lol.

    And yeah, not many teens read!! I will keel over if my kids don't enjoy reading, I think. :p


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