Stop & Chat is a weekly discussion here at Read. Sleep. Repeat. where I pretty much talk about whatever tickles my fancy.
Today’s Stop & Chat topic was contributed by River of River & Sam! Thank you!!!
Drugs, sex and violence in YA
This topic is such a double-edged swords I can already see that I’m about to piss a lot of people off. Luckily, those of you who I do piss off will live.
Personally I don’t mind mild sex and violence in YA. I don’t. Drugs are another topic all together so I’ll get to that in a minute, but as far as sex and violence goes I firmly believe that there is no YA book dirty enough or bloody enough to “shock” or influence a 15-17 year old. WAIT! Let me speak! I get what a lot of people are saying in terms of these topics being part of YA and being “inappropriate” for YA. Breaking Dawn was rated PG13 and there were 10 year olds in the theater sitting next to me. I get what you’re saying, but I really don’t believe the extremely mild cases I’ve seen in YA are inappropriate.
When I was in middle school, 7th or 8th grade maybe, a friend of mine brought a book called Addicted by Zane to school. I asked if I could borrow it when she was done and it’s a book I vividly remember to this day. Was it totally inappropriate for my age group? Yep. Did I run off and become a sex crazed killer? No. No I did not. I think we, as a society underestimate our children. We work so hard on shielding them from things that could “hurt” them we don’t let them gain the experience and insight necessary to make good decisions. And yes I do have a kid so please don’t start with the “wait till you have a little girl! You’ll change your opinion then!” mess. My 5-year-old has more common sense than half the adults I know, and I like to think that’s because I talk to her. When she asks me a question I don’t tip toe around stuff I sit down and really TALK to her. I don’t think it’s right to blame the contents of a FICTIONAL book on the actions of some. In fact I think that’s the laziest excuse ever.
Drugs, however are still really taboo to me when it comes to works of fiction. I grew up around crackheads and heroin addicts. Shoot, my maternal grandfather was slipped acid in the 70’s and he’s still messed up in the head. So you can understand why I’ve never even hit a cigarette. I still don’t think it’s ok for a book to be “blamed” for someone doing pot, but I can (sort of) see how people who are not exposed to these fucked up realities become curious. Of course in my mind that’s when it’s time to have a sit down and talk through all those curious questions, but hey what do I know.
Anywho, that’s where I stand on the matter. I don’t mind MILD violence and sex in YA and drugs are more of a “shrug” topic for me. But what do you think? Do you think violence, sex and drugs have no place in YA or are they acceptable in moderation? Share your thoughts in the comments.
And a ginormous thank you to River! This topic is amazing and I’m sure there’ll be a lot of opinions on it!