Sunday, September 19, 2010

speak up, Speak Out, SPEAK LOUD

This is my small contribution to the phenomena that's overtaken the blogosphere. Simply put, a person by the name of Wesley Scroggins has been, in my opinion, deluded into thinking that the YA gem Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson should be considered soft porn.

Oh. Oh boy.

Initial Reaction: Are you effing kidding me?
Post-initial Reaction: Did he even read the book?
Then: *pissed off*

Speak is one of my all-time favourite books, and for him to demean it in such an ignorant manner just really ticks me off. I hate censorship. I really, really do. I hate how people believe they have the right to restrict Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Thought and I also hate the way people use religion as an excuse for their sad ideals. But I don't think I should be sitting here thinking about the negative. No, I want to write this for something I believe in. And I believe in Speak.

It takes quite a bit for a novel to make it on to my all-time favourites list, but that just goes to show you how special this novel is. It is about a rape survivor who chooses to stay silent as opposed to reporting the crime, the inner turmoil, angst and self-doubt speaking to teens across the world. I truly think this is a novel that can change lives. It deals with a tricky topic with finesse and truth, that's right people: truth. It happens. And I can tell you that anybody who had to go through such a troubling experience will not call it *ahem* "soft porn". Teenage rape is anything but pornography.

And we should speak up about something like this. Traumatized teens should not have to let these things eat them up inside, and it really can only take a single novel to convince us to share something so horrible with someone who can help. Ms Anderson does this; she attacked the topic of rape with pen and paper, turning it into a story that is gritty, honest and capable of changing lives.

Is this wrong?

No. I have nothing but respect for Anderson's bravery for tackling such a prevalent issue, so of couse it leaves me completely confuddled how someone can have such an polar opinion. I fail to see what Scroggins interpreted as "filthy" and "soft porn". Like holy effing shit, did you even read your own summary of the novel?
This is a book about a very dysfunctional family. Schoolteachers are losers, adults are losers and the cheerleading squad scores more than the football team. They have sex on Saturday night and then are goddesses at church on Sunday morning. The cheer squad also gets their group-rate abortions at prom time. As the main character in the book is alone with a boy who is touching her female parts, she makes the statement that this is what high school is supposed to feel like. The boy then rapes her on the next page.
I think you're like.. fail.
And yes, I'm not afraid about speaking out about it. I may not be a 'doctor' or an adult, or be featured as the "voice of the day". I'm just a teen among the masses who feels something is so very wrong about this whole ordeal and is speaking out about it. It is wrong to try and censor a novel that only speaks out about truths, albeit truths that might hurt your ears, but ones we should not be forbidding students from reading about. By doing so, you are only hurting the very people you are trying to help, over-sheltering kids is probably not the smartest idea.

Lastly, I want to say to everyone who has been involved in the Speak Loudly 'campaign': Thank you. Thank you for speaking up, thank you for believing in books, and thank you for believing in education. I'm unbelievably proud to be part of a community that is capable of respectably defending itself against irrational attacks, one made up of people who are never afraid of a little confrontation if it means speaking their beliefs.

People: SPEAK LOUD. Every one of our voices will affect someone.. anyone. We can all make a difference with a little effort. If you're hesitating about speaking out, don't. Sit down, write your honest opinions, and speak.

-hashtag #SpeakLoudly on twitter
-write about the novel, or the issue on your blog
-comment on Scroggins' work directly
-support all the other bloggers and authors speaking out, there have been some really outstanding, powerful posts.

LHA's original post about the topic


  1. I agree 100% Audrey!

  2. Absolutely! I posted about this earlier today, and am going to edit to include a link to your post. You speak out so eloquently... F Scroggins.

  3. I've never read the book but I have seen the movie and my gosh it is empowering and gut retching sure the topic makes us squeamish but its SUPPOSE TO thats what it does
    its not porn! and this guy should read the book and not think "rape= porn"

    Amazing post btw just amazing
    his? I swear it could be seen as a joke for some he sooooo needs to READ instead of judging a book by its back cover

  4. Are you kidding me? It blows my mind how ignorant people can be. Great post! I love Speak, I did a booktalk for it for one my classes, amazing book. Great post, thanks for showcasing this

  5. Great job, Audrey, and thanks for linking up your post! It's amazing to see the blogging world come together to stand up against this.

  6. I haven't read this book myself but I'm wondering what kind of person one is when one describes a rape as soft porn. It makes me mad! Great post, Audrey.

  7. Michelle- thank you.

    Sarah- thank you for the link and the wonderful compliment! Yes. eff scroggins.

    Kit- i couldnt' believe it when i was reading it! ughh, he's just ridiculous.

    Katie- thanks! I used Speak for a few English projects myself.

    Natalie- thanks! Yes, it's quite incredible! I'm so grateful of how much time and effort you put into this :)

    Ladybug- I know, it's just.. ughhh. thank you.

  8. I haven't read the book but I can't imagine a book about the rape of a teenage even entering into the realm of soft porn.

  9. It made me furious that this Scroggins idiot is more upset about teenagers reading about uncomfortable issues than about them experiencing them first-hand. I don't know what kind of fluffy-marshmallow world he's living in, but in the real world Speak has been a comfort to kids who have been in Melinda's situation - and those who haven't - and encouraged them that they don't have to suffer alone, that they are not guilty and that it's not their fault. It would be a disgrace to take away such a valuable resource from the people who need it most. It's not just a story. For so many, it's a lifeline.


for those who are confused, it means "Don't forget to be AWESOME". *hugs*