I read. I read a lot. Probably more than is healthy - after all, I could be outside enjoying the fresh air or folding my laundry or vacuuming - but I'm hoping to put my bad habit to work for you.
That's right: Book reviews. I'll be starting with a few of the things I've read most recently, and I'm happy to take suggestions for what I should read next or to have guest blogger reviews in the future. I do fiction and non, very serious to very silly; my only requirement is that it keep me interested enough to get to the end.
So let's begin!
Harmful To Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex
Judith Levine, foreword by Joycelyn M. Elders
5 out of 5 Bacon Strips
In short: Being Puritanical is bad. Levine argues that hiding all things sexual from children and teens, and punishing (or "rehabilitiating") them when they're "caught" expressing age-appropriate sexuality is more harmful than almost any sex could ever be. She argues passionately and persuasively against abstinence-only sex-ed, age-of-consent laws, and ridiculous "predator" statutes that can send seven-year-olds into the juvenile justice system for playing doctor with their siblings.
Though excoriated by conservative politicians and the religious right for an imagined pro-pedophilia stance when the book was first published, Levine's argument is cogent and common-sensical - and not in the least sympathetic to true abusers. In an age of hysteria about teen sex and an obvious backlash against the free expression of women's sexuality, Harmful to Minors is a welcome relief to read, especially for people who think sex is not the worst thing to ever happen to an eighteen-year-old.
Levine's prose is easy to understand without being simplistic; she walks the delicate line between scholarly tome and "non-fiction for dummies" nicely, weaving scientific studies and personal stories together deftly to form an eminently readable book. I recommend this for anyone who wonders why America is as puritanical as it is, and why the idea that minors - even those who have reached partial majority - should be protected from sex is such a powerful one in this society.