America occupies a strange little world of its own. To the outsider it’s a land that’s filled with amazing things but whose inhabitants take it for granted.
It’s a strange culture too.
People often say “Avi! How can you comment on American culture when you aren’t even from there?” to which I respond with “I grew up knowing that “Cheerleader Girlfriends are Desirable”. American culture is less alien to me than mine is to the average American. Our airwaves, books and TV is innundated with it. I also have visited the USA on more than one occasion. I may not be perfectly in tune with it but I can tell when something’s up.
Anne Frank’s been in the news recently. Justin Beiber’s mind bendingly inane statement actually holds true. From what I have seen, Mr. Beiber is inordinately popular with young girls in the same way that the Backstreet Boys were when I was a young man. Anne Frank, as a teenager would have, in all likelihood been a fan more so than she would have been a fan of Fall Out Boy or Radiohead. Then again she would have probably been a fan of Nicki Minaj too. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Mr. Beiber didn’t walk away from the story of Anne Frank with the appropriate attitude of remembrance of a real tragedy with far reaching consequences.
That’s not what we are here to discuss.
Anne Frank’s diaries are a candid slice into the life of a young girl hitting puberty in Holland while hiding from Nazi Germany. While we concentrate on the “Hiding From Nazis” we forget that she was also “hitting puberty”.
A 7th grade class in Northville is reading a newer, unedited version of the famous Anne Frank Diary and at least one parent has had enough. Why?
In the book Frank talks about the discovery of her own genitalia in what some would consider graphic terms.
Until I was eleven or twelve, I didn’t realize there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn’t see them. What’s even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris…When you’re standing up, all you see from the front is hair. Between your legs there are two soft, cushiony things, also covered with hair, which press together when you’re standing, so you can’t see what’s inside. They separate when you sit down and they’re very red and quite fleshy on the inside. In the upper part, between the outer labia, there’s a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That’s the clitoris.”
The thing we must remember is that Anne Frank was a human being just as much as she is the “poster child for the effect of the holocaust”. And we must remember that she was now a teenager with the same kind of burgeoning sexuality all of us have to deal with in some point of our lives.
Teenagers ARE interested in sexuality. If that wasn’t the case girls/boys would still be icky and full of cooties and I wouldn’t have thrown up on my date’s shoes because I was so nervous.
And a lot of it involves their own. It’s natural that Anne Frank would have been interested in her genitalia. And that has EVERYTHING to do with being a Belieber (or indeed suffering from Beiberfever). It’s called growing up. It’s called fancying someone and it’s called puberty. When the Puberty dragon visits everything gets awkward.
And we must accept that. We must not hide our children from that. We cannot tell them that all those hormone driven feelings are bad and sinful. We cannot hide our children from their own anatomy and not explain what their feelings are and instead hide them under shame and lies.
Gail Horek is the parent who says the book is too graphic and she wants to school district to go back to the edited version of the book.
I think it is bizarre that people are more terrified that children will learn about their own bodies than learn to not rely on guns. What horrified Gail is not the testimony of young girl who died for no reason apart from the twisted ethos of religious hatred mixed with greed and what occurred to her but the fact that the young girl had a sexuality.
And that really is rather sad.
Priorities are important.