Censorship & Judy Blume

FOREVER BY JUDY BLUME
 

     Forever is Judy Blume's candid portrayal
     of a teenage sexual relationship. It has
     sold over 3.5 million copies and 30 years
     after it was first published, it is still
     causing controversy.

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               Reasons cited for Forever
       being challenged and banned:


  • Frequency of sexual activity and sexual descriptions
  • Use of “four-letter” words
  • Does not promote abstinence
  • Does not promote monogamous relationships
  • Demoralized marital sex
  • Disobedience to parents is shown
  • Talks about masturbation
  • Talks about birth control
  • Sexuality
  • Lack of moral tone
  • Sexual passages inappropriate for young people

   

      What did the censors have in mind when listing the  
   above reasons for challenging this book? That was
   my question, what is the basis for these  reasons?



                        FEAR

     These school district administrators, public & school   
     librarians, parents AND religious & parent groups
     know that WORDS have POWER.

     This makes them have FEAR...to be AFRAID.

     AFRAID that kids won't "understand" Forever.

     AFRAID that exposure to reading material that
     containsinformation about SEX could morally
     corrupt young minds.
    
     AFRAID that Forever encourages sexual behavior.
 
     These people and groups have FEAR of losing control 
     of their children.They BELIEVE that if their child   
     reads something, has exposure to information they will
     act on it...For example, if they read about sex, they
     will have sex, if they read about kids swearing, they
     will swear etc.
    
     It's really rather SILLY and MAKES NO SENSE.

     The main character in Forever approaches a sexual   
     relationship with caution, with planning and with
     appropriate protection.

     In addition, most books that are banned and taken off  
     shelves are books that people seek out immediately to
     read and find out why.

     Kids want to know about sex, relationships,
     masturbation and all the things that Blume covers
     openly and honestly in Forever. If there parents are
     not talking to them about these things, they have
     no one to go to to help them grow and learn. No 
     one togo to with their questions. They won't know how
     to obtain birth control, they won't know if the feelings
     they are having as they realize they are sexual beings
     are normal or not.

     SO, the FEAR of the censors does not PROTECT their
     children, it does not STOP them from having sex, it
     just keeps them in the dark and IGNORANCE never
     got anyone anywere. And nobody can or should have
     control over their kids "forever."



What Blume says about Forever being frequently challenged

"What I hear from my readers," Blume says, "is that the story itself is timeless. There will always be first love, first sexual feelings, first sexual relationships. Here we are, 30 years later, and just as many young people are reading the book today as when it was published."

"The 70s was a much more open decade in America," she says. "Forever was used in several school programs then, helping to spur discussions of sexual responsibility. This would never happen today. How are young people supposed to make thoughtful decisions if they don't have information and no one is willing to talk with them."


Forever
Forever is a young adult book that was first published in 1975. It is a story about teenage sexuality and love. The very private, often not discussed topics of masturbation, teenage sex, birth control are brought to life by Blume.

Katherine Danzinger is 17 years old and a senior

in high school when she meets Michael Wagner
at a New Year’s Eve party and quickly falls in love. Blume candidly writes about Katherine’s life and the events before, during and after Katherine loses
her virginity.

Katherine and Michael are typical
teenagers and the story is very true to life. They promise their love will last forever and have their future planned. Those dreams start to shatter when Katherine’s parents make her take a summer job out of town and they must spend the summer apart. The separation is a test of their love as Katherine develops feelings for another tennis instructor.

Forever is a  well written, highly criticized novel shows reader’s that forever is a long time and to remember that life goes on.




                 
                 Where has Forever been challenged?

  • Scranton, PA high school
  • Orlando, FL schools
  • Akron, OH schools
  • Howard, WI schools
  • Holdredge, NE public library
  • Cedar Rapids, IA public library
  • Patrick County, VA schools
  • Park Hill, MO
  • many other school districts, school and public
      libraries...too many to list.



                        Who has been challenging
                           and banning this book?

  • Parent Groups such as:
               -  Parents Protecting the Minds of Children
               -  Focus on the Family
               -  Family and Youth

  • Religious Groups such as:
               -  Christian Coalition

  • School Districts
  • School Libraries
  • Public Libraries

  
    Forever was banned from the high school library by the high   
    school principal at the Rib Lake, WI  in 1994. A guidance       
    counselor at the high school criticized this decision to his
    principal in writing. The counselors contract was not renewed,
    in retaliation for speaking out against the districts book policy.
    A federal jury in Madison, WI awarded $394,560 to the      
    guidance counselor.

  
      In 2005, a Texas librarian   
      campaigned to have   "Forever"
      taken off the shelves of every
      school in the state. The librarian
      lost the battle.

       Forever was removed
      from Mediapolis, Iowa school   
      district libraries because it
      “does not promote abstinence
       and monogamous relationships
      [and] lacks any aesthetic,   
       literary or social value.”
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     In 1997 a school district in
     Elgin, Illinois banned Forever
     and cited “parental  complaints”
    as the reason for the banning.
    In 2003, the school board
     reinstated the book, after being
    urged that it’sremoval was
     unconstitutional.

     Pasadena Independent School
    District Superintendent Dr.
  Rick
     Schneider has  banned "Forever" 
     from the shelves of libraries within the
     Pasadena District and has said the
     following about the book, "certain
     passages were not  appropriate  for any
    student of the school district"


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