Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Speak Up!

Several months ago, I received an e-mail from “Children’s Writer,” a newsletter of writing trends published by the Institute of Children’s Literature. The e-mail presented an upcoming article dealing with writing about teen sexuality and asked editors to respond. I was busy when I received the first e-mail and deleted it. A few weeks later another e-mail reached my box with the same request.

I decided to at least read the article even though I don’t write primarily for teens. As I read I became troubled. The article advocated writing about sex in graphic terms for teens because it was “realistic.” I was particularly upset by the statement of one author: “I want to break stereotypes by creating sexually active females who aren’t destroyed by the experience.” I decided to go ahead and write a response even though teen sexuality isn’t exactly my arena.

A few days ago I received an e-mail from one of our Clubhouse writers, thanking me for my comments on the topic. “I really appreciated hearing a Christian voice in this newsletter. So often when I have read it lately, there have been articles praising authors and books that present homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle for teens. Thanks for taking the truly progressive, forward-thinking stance. Sometimes as Christians we can feel like the ‘lone voice crying in the wilderness,’ so it's good to hear an echo once in a while!”

I was surprised to hear that my comments had been used. I saw a copy of the newsletter today. Apparently I was the only person to decry the view on sex this article advocated. My entire response appeared as the bulk of a sidebar titled: “Some Stereotypes Shouldn’t Be Broken.” Here is an excerpt:

Young Adult (YA) novels are leveling the field on which studs and loose girls, straight and gay play. Stereotypes may not hold up anymore, although Focus on the Family Associate Editor Suzanne Hadley believes some should. “It seems irresponsible to create sexually active females who aren’t destroyed by the experience, when statistics prove otherwise. Three million American teens contract STDs each year, and leading research indicates that teen sex contributes to depression a decreased sex drive in marriage, and sterility.”

Hadley asks, “Why not explore the more countercultural, yet emotionally and physically healthy, stance of abstinence, hailed in the Rolling Stone article “The Young and the Sexless” (June 2005) as ‘revolutionary.’ Recent studies suggest that more than 50 percent of high schoolers are abstinent, so it’s not naïve to promote virginity as a strong choice.”

While other editors and authors similarly argue both sides of the debate, all seem to agree with Hadley that “YA publishers and authors should approach the subject of sex with equal amounts of realism and responsibility.”

I nearly didn’t write this response because I was busy and I assumed someone else would respond. I nearly missed a chance to speak up for God's way. Don't miss an opportunity to use your voice. You never know who may be listening.

[Warning: The Rolling Stone article is excellent but contains some profanity.]


At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Danielle said...

Great response, Suzanne, good for you!

At 5:02 AM, Anonymous Dr. Ransom said...

Kudos, Suzanne! Is the newsletter available online?

“I want to break stereotypes by creating sexually active females who aren’t destroyed by the experience.”

Well, I want to "break stereotypes" by creating sexually active males who never get anyone pregnant.

How absurd.

That's not stereotype-shattering, its deception -- fabricating a fantasy world because reality has too many actual consequences.

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Amen, Stephen! I found a Web site for Children's Writer, but they do not post their newsletter online. You can request a free copy. The article appeared in the June issue.


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