Remember that silly mother in Detroit who wanted The Diary Of Anne Frank banned in schools because it contains descriptions of female genitalia that might be disturbing to students, as opposed to the rest of the things in that particular book? Of course you do. Well, we have obtained the objectionable passage, which comes from the new and unedited edition of Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl.
The passage is this:
“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.”
This passage is obviously inappropriate for preteens, because it alerts them to the existence of female genitals and even, dare I say it, the clitoris. That is supposed to be a secret! Before you know it, they’ll be exploring their own bodies and learning even more details about them, like the fact that it’s possible for human beings to gain pleasure from touching themselves in certain ways, or the fact that contraceptive use can be effective in preventing pregnancy and disease. Knowledge is dangerous!
This is especially ridiculous, considering the general idea behind having preteens read The Diary Of Anne Frank is to humanize the victims of the Holocaust and show that they were not so different from “us.” And what could be more universal than the gradual, slightly scary, discovery of one’s own sexual organs? I also find it a great example of Anne’s descriptive powers as a budding young writer. I’ve always wondered what great things she would have gone on to write, had she survived.
And this has already been said by others, but in what world is the existence of ladyparts, something most kids are probably already aware of, more disturbing or deforming than reading about some of the most terrifying manifestations of human evil the world has ever seen? A: a world in which people believe the book takes the correct stance on genocide (against), but not on knowing what’s between your legs (also against). In the mind of this woman, a girl’s vagina is to remain a mysterious no-no place until the day her husband introduces her to it for the first time. Luckily, it seems unlikely the Northville School Board is going to acquiesce.
Photo: The Diary Of Anne Frank