Banning Books and Banning Thought

This past week of class seemed to revolve around a common idea: why ban a book, and in particular, why this book? While Fun Home has the effect of making people uncomfortable, does it warrant the amount of resulting controversy? While students are warranted in expressing their discomfort with the novel, I believe it is an issue with what we allow to be discussed, and ignored, in society. From what we have heard in class, many have called the book pornographic. But the very use of this term implies that the book was made for the purpose of sexual pleasure on part of the reader. Obviously those complaining about the book were aroused in some sense of the word, if not sexually. One part of the book that I can understand would make the audience uncomfortable would be the father’s relationship with his students, but this is something that isn’t shown directly in the book past the picture of the babysitter that is splayed across two pages. Does this one image warrant its reaction? While this is a subject matter that has resulted in the banning of other books, such as Catcher in the Rye, there is still much larger parts of the story. While Bechdel admits that the stories of her life are often overshadowed by her father, there is still the large portion of the book revolving around her own gay identity. This is only portion of the book that I believe could be called pornographic in any sense of the word. Lesbian relationships are not seen as often gay relationships between men in popular media, so many people may see the topic and “not normal” and therefor wrong. But this is an upside of the novel, as it introduces a woman finding her sexuality in way that is healthier than that of her fathers. Books exist in order to introduce different ideas, as if every book was the same with the same subject matter then no one would bother to buy and read new books. To ban a book for different topics is ridiculous. While I do not like the book too much myself (but for completely different reasons than the reasons previously listed) I cannot justify banning this book for any reason as the idea of banning books is ridiculous. When a book makes one uncomfortable, it gives them a chance to explore just why the book makes them uncomfortable. When we learn what makes us uncomfortable we may learn something we didn’t know about ourselves.

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