Saturday, October 16, 2010

Harmony Beaufort Speaks Out

Today's post is from Harmony Beaufort. She is a freshman in high school and lives in Miami, Florida. She aspires to be an author one day and also a pharmacist. She's a huge history nut and bookworm. She also runs a YA blog, Harmony's Radiant Reads. Here she is!

Hi guys, my name is Harmony and I’m 14 years old. Yup, I’m a teenager. I get told what to do, when to do it, how it do and what I can and cannot do. And for the most part, I cooperate as much as I can. My one freedom is being able to read what I want. When ignorant people try to take that away from me? Excuse me if I get a little bit pissed.

Yes, I have read books with sex, violence, underage drinking, drugs, and rape. Yes, some of these have affected me in some way or another. But not in a bad way! If anything, they taught me to look deeper inside myself and find out what’s right and what’s not.

A lot of people, and I mean a lot, undermine us teenagers because we’re ‘children who are raging with hormones and are incredibly stupid so everything we see we MUST do’. Umm, no? I’m not gonna become a sex-crazed, drugged alcoholic who beats everyone up just because I read about it. I can promise you that. I’m a good kid, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say, and I’ll probably make some mistakes in the future. But that is because I have a brain and made that decision, however stupid, on my own. Not because I read a book and it ‘tainted’ me.

One example is Looking For Alaska by John Green. A long time ago his book was going to be taught in this school and it got challenged. And something he said struck a cord. He explained that the reason there is a sexual scene followed by a less-intimate scene was to show how in one there was a lot of physical attraction but no emotional and vice-versa in the other. And in reality, physical attraction cannot be used as a replacement for emotional attraction. The adults response? Teenagers wouldn’t be able to see that.

GAH. Well, of course we saw that! It’s pretty obvious and we’re not idiots! When book banners challage books, it’s not just an insult to the author, it’s an insult to the reader. It’s telling us that we don’t have the brain capacity to understand literature in a mature manner and we’re just gonna see the word SEX and think ‘Hey, we should try that. That looks like fun.’ And if there’s one thing I hate, it’s being called stupid.

Book banners, I’m a teenager. I’m a teenager who writes YA and reads YA and IS YA. If you want to censor something, do it for your own children. I feel so bad for them and how unprepared for the world they will be. But my mother understands that I have the brain capability to read and understand literature so I can read whatever I want. Call it immoral, or stupid, or whatever you want, but I call it trust.

I am the one to decide whether I deem something appropriate for myself to read. Whether I’m 10, or 14, or 18. I will not have some stranger dictate what is right or wrong. I decide that for myself.

Thanks for having me on the blog, Jeremy, and thanks Jeremy’s followers for listening!

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