Concerned Parent Calls ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ Pornographic (VIDEO)
When you think about controversial books that are often challenged when they find their way onto required reading lists in public schools, which novels come to mind? The Catcher in the Rye? To Kill a Mockingbird? Lord of the Flies?
How about Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl? No? Well, that just changed.
Gail Horalek, whose daughter is in the seventh grade at Meads Mill Middle School, has filed a formal complaint with the school in the hopes of getting the uncensored version of The Diary of a Young Girl pulled from the school’s curriculum. Is it because of Frank’s stark depiction of life during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands? Or because of the disturbing nature of the Holocaust itself?
No. It’s because the uncensored version of the diary (also known as the Definitive Edition) contains several passages in which Frank explores her budding sexuality and (gasp!) mentions she has a vagina. Dear God, won’t someone think of the children?!
“It’s Pretty Pornographic”
Here’s how Horalek described her daughter’s harrowing ordeal to the Northville Patch:
“She had two books to choose from and she chose ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ and I thought that was awesome,” Horalek explained.
Unfortunately, several weeks after she began reading the book, Horalek’s daughter decided it was making her feel “uncomfortable,” and she didn’t want to read it anymore.
When she showed her mother the offending paragraphs, Horalek decided she had to take action to protect her offspring’s delicate sensibilities against words like “labia.” First, like a reasonable person, she emailed her daughter’s teacher about the issue. The teacher gave the seventh grader permission to read a different book, at which point most people would consider the problem solved.
But not Horalek. She filed a formal complaint requesting the Definitive Edition not be read in the school anymore, reports the Patch.
“It’s pretty graphic, and it’s pretty pornographic for seventh grade boys and girls to be reading. It’s inappropriate for a teacher to be giving this material out to the kids when it’s really the parents’ job to give the students this information,” she said in an interview with WJBK.
Here’s the passage in question, as reported by Fox 2 News. Be warned, it contains the clinical terms for various parts of the female anatomy, so you might want to have your smelling salts on hand in case you start feeling faint:
“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.”
Say It With Me: Vagina!
First of all, in a world in which any kid can turn on the TV or flip through a magazine or look at a billboard and see some Photoshopped-to-oblivion, oiled up woman’s mostly naked body coupled with some very thinly veiled sexual innuendo selling them pretty much any product that’s out there, this frank (sorry) description of a young, pubescent woman discovering her own body is what’s offensive?
Second, if that’s the case, fine. But it sounds as though this situation was handled by the school in a perfectly reasonable manner. The girl was never forced to read that passage aloud or write in detail about it. She could’ve skipped over that part if she wanted. She was even allowed to choose a different book. Why, at that point, would you fight to make it so no one else could read it – even though no other kids said it made them uncomfortable?
Truth be told, though, if a 12- or 13-year-old girl is uncomfortable reading a fairly innocuous description of a body part that she probably has in a book about the Holocaust, she needs to learn a very important lesson called “Just Deal With It. No, Seriously, Grow Up and Deal With It.”
But it’s easy to see where she gets her squeamishness. Just watch this video, in which Horalek reads the passage aloud word for word, but when discussing it, refuses to say the word “vagina” – instead opting for the awkward phrase “Anne Frank’s female genitalia.”