Is SPEAK Pornography?

This week’s video from the White Space takes on the statement I’ve heard more than once: Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is pornography. I disagree vehemently, and set out to prove it. You’ll find the links that I mention below the video.

Yes, I did choose that shirt on purpose. I know it’s from a different censorship event, however I believe it’s an important message. That, and I don’t have a shirt that says #SpeakLoudly.

Article: Poll Florida Middle School Students Reading Child Pornography
Laurie Halse Anderson’s Response: Ever Wonder How the Mind of  a Book Banner Works?
Text Messages Episode 60: A Conversation with Chris Crutcher

One thing that I didn’t comment on that I wanted to (it doesn’t support my thesis, so I took it out), is empathy. I talk and hear other teachers talk about how poorly students treat each other — how they don’t understand how the malicious things they think are funny may not be as funny to the person who is the object of their teasing.

In the Platinum edition of Speak, there is an interview with Laurie Halse Anderson. In the interview, she said she was surprised at how many males asked what the big deal about Melinda’s rape was. Why did she react the way she did? In the comments of the aforementioned article, Dr. Swier suggests that we don’t need to talk to children about the aftermath, we need to work on prevention. I would argue that a cautionary tale about the emotional aftermath of rape is prevention in and of itself. If this book opens a dialogue with children about what happens after, especially given the questions she’s received from males who read the book, is that not a step toward prevention. If the boys understand how girls react and why they react the way they do, would that not plant the seed that may make them think twice about forcing a girl?

Those are just my thoughts… I’m throwing them out there.

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