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Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:10 PM

Should 8-Year-Olds Be Reading Stories That Glorify Rape?

As we settled in, I asked my daughter to tell me about “The Selkie Girl.” Her rendition gave me pause, so I asked her to do her other homework first. She turned to a worksheet, and I cracked the book open. “The Selkie Girl” is essentially about a magical seal-woman who is kidnapped and raped repeatedly during her long captivity. The man who holds her hostage proclaims early on that “I am in love” and “I want her to be my wife.” When he kidnapped her, “She was crying bitterly, but she followed him.” Later, the narrative tells us, “Because he was gentle and loving, she no longer wept. When their first child was born, he saw her smile.” When her means of escape is discovered, however, she explains quite bluntly to the children she bore: “For I was brought here against my will, 20 years past.”

He went to look and, in wonder and delight, he saw three beautiful girls sitting on the rocks, naked, combing their hair. One of the girls had fair hair, one red, and one black. The fair-haired girl was singing. She was the most beautiful of the three, and Donallan could not take his eyes from her. He gazed and gazed at her gleaming white body and her long-lashed dark eyes.


*

The foundation’s board of directors is chaired by Alex J. Pollock, who works at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), one of the nation’s most influential conservative think tanks. Mr. Pollock’s expertise lies in financial policy issues, but, as the Southern Poverty Law Center has noted, “While its roots are in pro-business values, AEI in recent years has sponsored scholars whose views are seen by many as bigoted or even racist.” 3

For example, longstanding AEI fellow Charles Murray is best known as co-author of The Bell Curve, which infamously argues that whites are inherently more intelligent than blacks and Latina/os. He has argued forcefully elsewhere that the nation’s interests are best served, not by affording all children access to a quality education through college, but by focusing on the needs of “gifted” children. Meanwhile, AEI’s longtime resident expert on gender issues is Christina Hoff Sommers, widely known for her scathing critiques of contemporary feminism. Hoff Sommers has strongly criticized what she sees as an anti-boy culture in schools, specifically the use of “feminized” literature. 4 More broadly, AEI exercised significant influence over the policies established under the second President Bush. As People for the American Way notes: “President George W. Bush appointed over a dozen people from AEI to senior positions in his administration.”

*

We—parents, educators, school leaders, and educational publishers—possess a collective responsibility to evaluate the character of the content as rigorously as we evaluate children’s “learning outcomes.” We must deliberately create space to reflect, because the material we place before children and thus endorse in our classrooms teaches much more than comprehension skills. The social messages and values children take away from the content—the what of their comprehension—matters. At my daughter’s school, raising these issues resulted in the text’s immediate removal from classrooms—and a renewed commitment to evaluating the character of our content.

http://www.alternet.org/education/should-8-year-olds-be-reading-stories-glorify-rape?page=0%2C0


first, lets be clear. this is the rape culture.

second, this would be something that too many on du would point the finger at feminist calling us whiner or even worse. expecting us to shut up.

third, thankfully this mother did not shut up or dismiss the issue.

and lastly, because she did not shut up, she accomplished what she needed for her daughter, all the daughters, and yes, the sons too being raised in a rape culture.

this is why we need to be diligent and always, .... speak out. regardless if others are simply tired of hearing from us, or think we are being overly sensitive, or whatever their gripe may be.





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Reply Should 8-Year-Olds Be Reading Stories That Glorify Rape? (Original post)
seabeyond Jan 2013 OP
jmowreader Jan 2013 #1
pipoman Jan 2013 #2
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #5
pipoman Jan 2013 #9
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #15
seabeyond Jan 2013 #7
pipoman Jan 2013 #10
seabeyond Jan 2013 #12
pipoman Jan 2013 #16
seabeyond Jan 2013 #18
pipoman Jan 2013 #21
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #3
Lionessa Jan 2013 #4
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #6
BlancheSplanchnik Jan 2013 #32
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #40
vaberella Jan 2013 #79
bluestateguy Jan 2013 #8
pipoman Jan 2013 #11
seabeyond Jan 2013 #17
pipoman Jan 2013 #20
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #13
seabeyond Jan 2013 #14
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #19
pipoman Jan 2013 #23
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #26
pipoman Jan 2013 #42
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #46
Phillip McCleod Jan 2013 #22
WinkyDink Jan 2013 #25
WinkyDink Jan 2013 #24
WeekendWarrior Jan 2013 #27
mbperrin Jan 2013 #29
WeekendWarrior Jan 2013 #86
seabeyond Jan 2013 #88
WeekendWarrior Jan 2013 #90
seabeyond Jan 2013 #91
WeekendWarrior Jan 2013 #92
seabeyond Jan 2013 #93
WeekendWarrior Jan 2013 #96
seabeyond Jan 2013 #97
MadrasT Jan 2013 #99
mbperrin Jan 2013 #94
WeekendWarrior Jan 2013 #95
mbperrin Jan 2013 #98
seabeyond Jan 2013 #33
RC Jan 2013 #36
seabeyond Jan 2013 #38
WeekendWarrior Jan 2013 #87
seabeyond Jan 2013 #89
Kalidurga Jan 2013 #28
aquart Jan 2013 #30
seabeyond Jan 2013 #34
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #37
bettyellen Jan 2013 #85
harmonicon Jan 2013 #31
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #39
harmonicon Jan 2013 #41
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #44
harmonicon Jan 2013 #45
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #47
harmonicon Jan 2013 #48
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #49
redqueen Jan 2013 #50
harmonicon Jan 2013 #57
redqueen Jan 2013 #58
harmonicon Jan 2013 #61
redqueen Jan 2013 #62
harmonicon Jan 2013 #64
redqueen Jan 2013 #65
harmonicon Jan 2013 #74
gollygee Jan 2013 #75
harmonicon Jan 2013 #77
redqueen Jan 2013 #81
BlancheSplanchnik Jan 2013 #35
JoDog Jan 2013 #51
BlancheSplanchnik Jan 2013 #53
onpatrol98 Jan 2013 #43
CrispyQ Jan 2013 #52
mike_c Jan 2013 #54
seabeyond Jan 2013 #56
Sheldon Cooper Jan 2013 #63
redqueen Jan 2013 #66
Sheldon Cooper Jan 2013 #68
seabeyond Jan 2013 #72
mike_c Jan 2013 #67
redqueen Jan 2013 #69
ismnotwasm Jan 2013 #70
mike_c Jan 2013 #71
bettyellen Jan 2013 #83
seabeyond Jan 2013 #84
seabeyond Jan 2013 #73
gollygee Jan 2013 #76
mike_c Jan 2013 #78
MadrasT Jan 2013 #55
redqueen Jan 2013 #59
MadrasT Jan 2013 #60
mike_c Jan 2013 #80
seabeyond Jan 2013 #82

Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:21 PM

1. If you ask teabaggers and freepers, the answer is yes

How many times did Dagny get raped in Atlas Shrugged? And they think that's a good book for all ages.

If you ask those of us on this side...the answer is, no, no one should read books that glorify rape.

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:36 PM

2. Actually,

most groups I can remember who have fought for removal of books from libraries for any reason have been fundies..

edit..That's not to say parents shouldn't have a say in their community standards..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:43 PM

5. A book endorsing rape is not a appropriate part

Of a curriculum for an 8 year old. It's not a matter of banning.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:02 PM

9. I agree

the post I was responding to made a blanket statement that stated liberals endorse stronger artistic standards of acceptability than freepers, and I disagree with that..the last statement of the post you responded to indicates I agree with you..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #9)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:11 PM

15. Okey dokey

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Response to pipoman (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:55 PM

7. are you suggesting our 8 yr old daughters should be reading about rape/kidnapping as happy ever

afters?

or if a parent just says no, that makes them a fundie? do tell? is that mom simply being overly sensitive?

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:04 PM

10. Read the post I responded to,

read the last sentence of the post you responded to, and read my post #9.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:08 PM

12. confusing. but, there is another way to take the two posts. so, it is not appropriate

got it. thanks.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #12)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:12 PM

16. I would consider it inapproperate

on it's face..for assigned reading..wouldn't object necessarily to the book being in the school library..if I were the parent..

edit..I mainly was disagreeing with the poster on the statement that 'nobody should be allowed to read a book about rape' is a liberal value.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #16)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:15 PM

18. most school administration would see it as inappropriate. as i say below,

we are not talking about older kids that have more a freedom in choice of reading material. 2nd grade. it is not a clever story for an author to even write, let alone find in the 2nd grade. there is plenty of material to spend limited funds on.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #18)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:27 PM

21. I don't disagree..

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:37 PM

3. The number of fairy tales

Or especially classics, like the Iliad, involving abduction and rape are mind boggling.

Look at the story of Hades and Persephone. I have an urban fantasy series---"Webmage"by Kelly McCullough that treats Persephone as a rape victim, one that had to return over and over every year to live with her rapist. Most stories treat her as 'The Queen of Hades' or an evil Goddess of death or something-- like she asked to be there. This was one of the only multi-book stories I've ever read that treats her abduction like the horror it is. It's a fairly lighthearted cyberpunk series, but not that part.

Anyway, to answer your question, hell no, and good on that Mom

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:38 PM

4. Uhm, the Bible new testament is a rape story.

 

The whole god raped Mary and then had some alter ego tell her, and so on and so forth.

Unless and until the supposed basis of our societies (judeo/xian/islamic writings) changes, it'll remain a "vital" (please see disgusted sarcasm here) part of our culture.


Edited to fix "first" testament to "new" testament. Don't know where my head was at.

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Response to Lionessa (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:47 PM

6. Not to mention all the rape in the Old Testament

Of course you could pay a hefty fee for raping a virgin...

The again, it was perfectly acceptable for Lot to offer his virgin daughters to appease an angry crowd when he was harboring angels.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:35 PM

32. Glorified in art, too. " Rape of the Sabine Women."

I think that painting was showing a scene from the old testament.


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Response to BlancheSplanchnik (Reply #32)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:09 AM

40. Ugh, sure was

Don't even get me started about art.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:10 PM

79. Rape and Incest...reigns supreme! n/t

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:55 PM

8. As a class assignment: probably not a good idea

Just as I think a book like Lord of the Flies is too dark and too violent to be an assigned book for children under 10.

Having said that, I do think a child should be allowed to read the book during say, if the class has a silent reading period, as mine did, when students could read a book of their choice. And the library should not ban the book. I'll never support libraries banning books, no matter how offensive.

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Response to bluestateguy (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:08 PM

11. Exactly

the distinction is an assignment vs. extracurricular book reading/access to literary works outside of assigned reading..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #11)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:13 PM

17. that does not mean that a school is going to offer any and all books. that is ridiculous to think

at those ages they are not going monitor what they buy and put out age appropriate books.

silliness.

these are not older kids. they gain that freedom as they get older and are more sophisticated in their reading. it comes soon enough. middle school. 2nd grade is ridiculous.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #17)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:26 PM

20. True,

but as has been pointed out in several posts in this thread, there are many books from fairy tales to religious works which have much worse..

I believe kids develop at different rates and have different gifts. Just from the excerpt above, if we were to sanitize the library using this statement as the standard, there would be a lot of important works which wouldn't make the cut. What about the kid(s) who read at a level above their grade level? Should they not have intellectually stimulating reading material available which may not fit some people's perception of age appropriate. Ultimately, I believe engaged parents who disapprove of their children's curriculum should have a voice regardless their viewpoint.

Again, assigned v. availability..

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Response to bluestateguy (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:10 PM

13. Agree to a point especially about banning books.

But this why age appropriate curriculum is important.

Again, using the Iliad as a example, (one hard to read piece of literature) few people actually know the ultimate fate of Helen of Troy. We just hear that 'face that launched a thousand ships crap and forget she was abducted in the first place. Of course in the Iliad nobody was sacred, not even the Gods. But since its classic and valuable, it's introduced in simple form when kids are quite young. Not necessarily a bad thing, it just needs perspective.

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Response to bluestateguy (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:10 PM

14. school libraries always choose the books that go into the library. they do not just allow all books

i am a parent that is pretty open with literature with the boys. they have always been advanced readers. they have always read years above their age. and there is still age appropriate.

at younger ages, it is absolutely a schools responsibility to monitor the books offered the kids.

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Response to bluestateguy (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:17 PM

19. I was 11 when I read that

11 or 12 when I Read 'Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee' I would say both of those books had a profound impact on my life.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #19)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:03 PM

23. This is the rub..

for me..from a literary standpoint there are many pieces, which are very graphic, which have profoundly influenced and stimulated me intellectually.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #23)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:12 PM

26. Very true

I was a precocious reader, not particularly influenced by religion, with little reading oversight. I wouldn't have been aware of rape culture, although I see it clearly now. I read anything and everything, what was assigned was hardly on my radar. The value of stories and literature is not just telling stories, but guides on ways to think, as well as different point of view.

"Bluebeard" for instance pissed me off, even as a child and my feminism just may have had its genesis in that story.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #26)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:16 AM

42. Interesting

I get that Bluebeard thing...It had never occurred to me how that may effect a girl..

My most profound realization through the arts..not a book but influenced irreversibly by someones artistic expression..Sam Kinison..I loathed him, but one evening was watching him on HBO back in the 80's and he delivered a bit in his standard 'too profane for DU' format which almost instantly changed my opinion of homosexuality. As a heterosexual male child/adolescent of the 70's, I had developed a contempt for homosexuals..never again after that profound change of opinion..I have had many other less profound similar experiences through the art of others..Had I not been allowed to hear that obscene little man I don't know how long I would have dwelt in the land of the sexual bigots..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #42)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:32 AM

46. Heh

One thing about Sam Kinison I remember is one tirade where he was talking about sex and what women like, or don't like and how hard it was to figure out

'TELL US' he screamed. I always kind of appreciated that, though I certainly didn't like all his humor.

I get what you're saying.

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 10:56 PM

22. oh i thought you were talking about sunday school and the bible.

 

but this is bad too.

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Response to Phillip McCleod (Reply #22)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:09 PM

25. No; the Quran and the life of Muhammed and his child-"wives."

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:08 PM

24. This story is CREEPY.

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:13 PM

27. I'm sorry, but

anyone who thinks this is a book about glorifying rape, or portrays it as such simply hasn't read the book. It is, instead, the story of a girl who is different from her peers and discovers and explores her dark past.

I really thought we were past this kind of nonsense. Why don't we simply ban any book that makes us just the slight bit uncomfortable?

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #27)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:29 PM

29. Certainly the book glorifies rape - in the end, the rapist is seen as the victim of abandonment

by the woman he held prisoner for 20 years. The children of that forced union, of course, are the victims of that abandonment.

For 8 year olds? Really? They're in the "good girl, good boy" phase of their development, very pliable, very eager to do whatever they must to please. So to think that kidnapping and rape are somehow pleasing to anyone is a very dangerous notion at this stage of development.

Yes, I do hold a BA in English, and MAEd in Education, and have been in the classroom for three decades. 14 or 15 year olds may be ready to read and discuss this, but be ready for the "boy" behaviors in advance.

What redeeming theme do you see in this book?

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Response to mbperrin (Reply #29)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:40 AM

86. Let me say this in plain language

Anyone who thinks this story is about rape is a fucking idiot.

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #86)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:42 AM

88. MAN kidnap a GIRL, hold her hostage, rape repeatedly against her will and WE are the fuckin idiots.

brilliant

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #88)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:45 AM

90. Yes

There's certainly that component to the story, but it does not GLORIFY rape. And to suggest it does is idiotic. I mean, Jesus, have you even READ the book?

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #90)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:46 AM

91. how does it not golirify/romanticize the rape? it is accepted and not challenged. nt

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #91)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:11 AM

92. Uh, okay

If I write a story about a young girl who is the product of rape and the rape is accepted as part of her background and not challenged, that automatically means I'm glorifying rape?

How narrow is your view that you have to invent a controversy?

This is ridiculous.

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #92)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:16 AM

93. yes, if you romanticize a rape in your story as a happy ever after love story, then yes, you are

normalizing rape and creating a rape culture. conditioning both genders to feel it is ok.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #93)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 03:54 PM

96. Please...

From the LIBRARY JOURNAL: “In Cooper’s version, Donallan falls in love with one of three beautiful naked selkie-maidens that he sees sitting on the rocks. Stealing her sealskin so that she cannot return to the sea, he marries her. Although she bears his five children, whom she loves deeply, she longs for her home and her family in the sea. At last she learns where her skin is hidden and, putting it on, dives joyously into the waves. But every year, Donallan and his children go down to the sea and when they return, there is ‘a look on their faces like sunlight.’”

You'd have to stretch pretty hard to say this romanticizes rape. You've got too much time on your hands.

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #96)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 04:06 PM

97. stolen, unhappy, against will. man wants, takes. 5 kids so sex. what is that if not rape? nt

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #96)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 05:15 PM

99. He entraps her and impregnates her.

That is the fucking definition of rape.

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #86)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 05:24 PM

94. There's a difference between plain language and just plain crude language.

Plain language lays bare the germ of the idea. You've not done this. All you've done is call a name, ignoring training, experience, and human development.

I've read the story and taught this story at the high school sophomore level. It is entirely inappropriate for any 8 year old, developmentally.

But I had a parent who pulled their child from my US History class because I would not tell the student that the Holocaust never happened.

I had another parent withdraw their child from school because I showed that Ronald Reagan increased the national debt by a greater per cent than any other President in history.

I had another parent who broke his son's wrist and broke his eye socket because he got a behavior referral in class. The parent ended up with 5 years' probation on that one, forgetting that teachers are mandatory reporters.

So get in line. You're certainly not unique, but I'm not happy about it.

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Response to mbperrin (Reply #94)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 03:47 PM

95. And Goldilocks teaches kids to break into people's homes and steal

their food and sleep in their beds?

You take this FAR too seriously for your own good.

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #95)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 05:12 PM

98. Nope. Goldilocks espouses the Greek value of the middle way.

But maybe you're right - perhaps I shouldn't give a rat's ass what I teach to kids.

Hey, just pull up the TV and let it rip.

I'm sure they'd be fine.

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #27)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:43 PM

33. i suppose you would cheer "little black sambo" back in the schools also? because racism was accepted

in the past, does not mean it is acceptable today.

so, let me know, little black sambo alright for you also?

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #33)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:56 PM

36. Have you read it?

 

Do you know what the story is about? Or the background of the story? Or even where the story took place?

The Story of Little Black Sambo
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Story of Little Black Sambo is a children's book written and illustrated by Helen Bannerman, and first published by Grant Richards in October 1899 as one in a series of small-format books called The Dumpy Books for Children.

Sambo is a South Indian boy who encounters four hungry tigers, and surrenders his colourful new clothes, shoes, and umbrella so they will not eat him. The tigers are vain and each thinks he is better dressed than the others. They chase each other around a tree until they are reduced to a pool of melted butter. Sambo then recovers his clothes and his mother makes pancakes of the butter. The story was a children's favourite for half a century until the word sambo was deemed a racial slur in some countries, and the illustrations considered reminiscent of "darky iconography". Both text and illustrations have undergone considerable revision since.

<SNIP>

In 1996, noted illustrator Fred Marcellino observed that the story itself contained no racist overtones and produced a re-illustrated version, The Story of Little Babaji, which changes the characters' names but otherwise leaves the text unmodified. This version was a best-seller.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Story_of_Little_Black_Sambo

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Response to RC (Reply #36)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:04 AM

38. yes. they changed the name and illustration.







The story may have contributed to the use of the word "sambo" as a racial slur.



correct? they took out the racially negative basis to the story, and it sold like hotcakes. which would be the point.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #33)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:41 AM

87. To even make such a comparison

is ridiculous.

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Response to WeekendWarrior (Reply #87)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:44 AM

89. yes. because racism is bad. misogyny is biological. i got it, warrior you.... nt

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:23 PM

28. No wonder funDies are messed up...

They get their ideas of what is great literature from Conservative "Think" Tanks.

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:30 PM

30. So. No fairy tales and no Sunday school Bible stories.

And no reality whatsoever about the lives of millions of women, now and in the past.

Eight-year-olds may not have the smallest clue what is physically involved in the act of rape (actual sex is a big fat shock when you finally do it--no sane eight-year-old would believe it.) but they do know about doing things they don't want to do. Are they too young to know about that?

I detest hysteria of this type.

Gonna tell the little dears about World War II? Any mass murder?

We live in a world-wide "rape culture." How does it help any child to be raised without a shred of reality?

If you divorce, will you mention it?

Perhaps a Harlequin Presents book burning is in order.

Kids are capable of thought if they're allowed something to think about.

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Response to aquart (Reply #30)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:46 PM

34. no. in the second grade the kids will not learn about mass murders of world war II. it is called

age appropriate material aquart.

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Response to aquart (Reply #30)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:01 AM

37. Hysteria?

Harlequin books?(I really have to WTF over that one)

Rape?

Mass Murder?

Sunday School Bible stories?

Fairy tales?

World war 11?

Divorce?

Lord, lord you're all over the map with this.

At one time the model of parenting did include gruesome stories, to kind of scare the shit out of kids into good behavior.

What's being suggested, is rape in children's stories not be presented as acceptable. In this particular story it is.





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Response to aquart (Reply #30)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:55 PM

85. hysteria, LOL. it's appropriate to read only when it's also accepted to be appropriate to discuss

sexual violence with children- and the historical context around how this was commonly legal or permissible. And how it no longer is okay in the USA, but that women around the world (India) are raped by strangers and ordered to marry their rapists. So yeah, probably not eight year olds. And that goes for WW2 and mass murder. Perhaps eleven or twelve year olds.
To present it to very young impressionable kids as is, without any context is totally fucked up.

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:34 PM

31. There's a lot to be unpacked here.

For starters, I haven't read this story, and I assume most of us have not.

I'm very wary to condemn literature because of this sort of content. There is incredible literature which includes vile characters committing vile acts. Is the problem here the story, how it's being taught, or the conclusions the student is drawing from these things based on a culture at large which would not be influenced one way or another by this particular story?

This article draws suspect, if not spurious, connections between this story and the collection of which it is part and larger parent organizations. I would need to see concrete proof of these connections before drawing such conclusions.

Finally, I'd like to point out that if many of the claims made are true, removing this one story from the curriculum will do nothing. Reference is made to more contemporary kidnap/rape victims and parallels are drawn between them and characters from a fictional tale. All the while, we still praise the likes of Thomas Jefferson who really did keep many people prisoner, and raped at least one of them several times, with whom he bore several children. The asshole's on our money, for fuck's sake. If we can't condemn this remarkably evil man, what difference is changing one little bit of fiction going to make?

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #31)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:06 AM

39. The problem is the character is not presented as vile

Despite the rape. He's a good guy. She falls in love, presumably. As far as Thomas Jefferson, we have so many false 'truths' about our 'founding fathers' that the to realization may be one story at a time.

Or make Howard Zinn required reading

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #39)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:15 AM

41. Is he presented that way in the story? Have you read it?

It isn't clear one way or another from the article.

While we may have many false truths about the so-called founding fathers, there is nothing false about saying Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and was a rapist. So long as a real historical figure is not only not condemned, but in fact praised, what point is there in criticizing one story in one book? Are we to disallow in fiction what we allow in history under the false pretense that it is the fiction which influences our culture and not the fact?

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #41)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:25 AM

44. What I meant was

That many either don't know, or don't care what Thomas Jefferson did. If you like, we can start a thread about rape culture and important historical figures.

Yes, I've read the story and many similar ones. Abduction and rape are common themes in plenty of cultures, in many mythologies.

There are many things I'd like to change. This mother found the story inappropriate for her daughter as part of rape culture. Maybe she'll take the story of Thomas Jefferson on, who knows.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #44)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:31 AM

45. People - including children - know plenty about Jefferson.

Don't be silly. It's not as if he's an obscure historical figure who's brushed under the rug.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #45)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:34 AM

47. And now they know owned slaves.

Do you think they're taught he was a rapist?

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #47)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:43 AM

48. Probably not is so many words, but it's no different than this story.

I assume this little story doesn't say "then he raped the shit out of her, and it totally fucking sucked." I'm just guessing that the word rape isn't used, and that the relationship is somehow justified. At some point - probably not 8 years old, but maybe as a teenager - I learned that Jefferson had children with a slave of his. While someone held captive may give in to sexual advances, such a relationship will always be rape, but people (you'll see it on DU all the time) find ways to justify it. If we don't acknowledge that we have a rapist on our currency, I don't know how we're going to change larger cultural problems.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #48)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 01:20 AM

49. With discussions like these

I mention cultures and mythologies; rape culture is world wide, and has been justified and accepted for too long.

Our greatest philosophers all had something demeaning to say about women, as do all major religions. For most of human history, women were little better than property, if not actual property. I'm not religious, but if I was, I'd be like the wonderer seeking one wise man. Show me one religion that doesn't objectify and demean women.

This is what we're up against, not just Jefferson, but Plato, Aristotle, Socrates. While the Hypatia's of history were murdered in the street or simply forgotten.

It's in our cultural blood so to speak and fighting it is exhausting. So we celebrate little victories as well as the larger ones. We keep the dialog open. We try not to make the mistakes of feminists of the past, learn from their example and move forward.


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Response to harmonicon (Reply #48)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 06:11 AM

50. The difference is we don't see many boys taking slaves.

What does happen is boys raping their classmates.

No books portray slavery as being romanticized.

Not that any one story causes this. Messages that romanticize rape, and messages about the relative worthlessness of women as compared to men are, as ism said, everywhere. This shit adds up.

This is unacceptable. We have to stop pretending it isn't a big deal.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #50)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:46 PM

57. What is sex with a slave, if not rape?

Isn't that exactly what the story in question was about; first taking someone captive, and then having sex with them? We get all giddy about people who did just that. We gush over them as the magical "founding fathers" without mentioning that a number of them were basically real-life super-villains.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #57)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:49 PM

58. What does that have to do with requiring 8 year olds to read a story romanticizing rape?

Please re-read the linked piece at the OP. Your posts here seem not to have anything to do with the topic of this thread.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #58)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:01 PM

61. Ok, let me set up a fictional analogy.

It's like if the mother thought the school lunch included too much salt, and that it was damaging to her daughter by virtue of containing too much salt. The contents of the lunch are a giant fucking bowl of salt and one saltine cracker. Getting this story pulled from the curriculum is like getting a low-sodium saltine cracker to replace the regular saltine as part of the lunch. The fact remains that the bulk of the lunch is still a giant fucking bowl of salt.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #61)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:03 PM

62. How many stories romanticizing rape do you think 8 year olds are required to read?

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Response to redqueen (Reply #62)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:33 PM

64. Stories? The canonization of real people is far more serious than any story.

It's also far harder to dismiss. I sure knew about George Washington well before I was 8. I'm also sure that I wasn't taught that he was a wicked, evil man who practiced a form a villainy so egregious that we now find it hard to even imagine.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #64)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:36 PM

65. Apples to oranges.

I'm done helping you derail.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #65)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:07 PM

74. Whatever.

You can celebrate putting a bandaid on a gunshot wound, but I'll keep on thinking it's seriously misguided.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #74)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:46 PM

75. So your reason for thinking nothing should be done

is that this is a bandaid, therefore don't bother doing anything and let it gush away with no intervention at all?

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Response to gollygee (Reply #75)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:01 PM

77. Not at all.

I'm saying that the sentiment is correct, but that the energy is being wasted, as it won't really make a difference applied in this way. If that same energy and dedication were put into actually addressing the heart of the problem, maybe something could change. I just don't see what difference this makes. In the very best case scenario, it makes people think and then others may tackle the real problem, but in the worst worst case scenario, it suggests that our problems can be dealt with by dictating a reading list while ignoring real-life conditions.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #77)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:08 PM

81. Damn,

Already filled that square.

Ah well.

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 11:46 PM

35. great thread, sea. Yeah, the glorification of rape; enjoyment in victimizing women....

And then people try to deny it, deny that men are the ones DOING 99% of it.

Glorification of MALE VIOLENCE is the flip side of victimized women as entertainment.

Male aggression in general is glorified or at worst, sensationalized.

In extremely broad terms, the liberal fight is for values that are traditionally seen as within the female domain. Like compassion for others, for those weaker than us, for animals and for the earth.

The patriarchal culture believes in something very different, as most of us know.


P.S. The story sounds like it's based on a traditional Inuit or Scandinavian folk tale, being about a magical seal woman.


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Response to BlancheSplanchnik (Reply #35)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 10:15 AM

51. The selkie (also spelled "Silkie" and "selchies")

Is mythological creature from Icelandic, Irish and Scottish folklore. They are sometimes called the "Irish mermaids" or "Scottish mermaids". There are tales of both female and male selkies. Essentially, they are a type of shapeshifter. They put on seal skins and transform into seals. If they take the skins off, they look like normal humans.

Selkies are a big feature in local tales from the coastal areas and islands. In some parts of Ireland and the Orkneys, some families have handed down stories about having selkie blood. This includes my Orkney ancestors, who came from a village next to a harbor whose old Pict name translates to "the place of the fairies."

The movie The Secret of Roan Innish is a modern retelling of these myths.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selkie

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Response to JoDog (Reply #51)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:46 PM

53. ohhhhh yeah....that's right, there's a Celtic and Pictish heritage there too.

The place of the fairies.... love that.

I just love love love Scotts, Irish, Nordic, Viking pagan lore.....
(too bad googling that stuff takes you to Stormfront pretty often. ick.)








http://www.glasgowvikings.co.uk/picts.htm

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 12:19 AM

43. hmm...wouldn't be in my child's elementary school library.

At this moment, I am thrilled that my youngest attends an elementary school with administrators and teachers who would not think this was appropriate required reading material for 8 year old children.

Good schools and educators are easily worth their weight and more in gold. This is a great conversation that helps me appreciate the professionals that are often not given the kudos they deserve. Without them, clearly our schools would be run by batsh*& crazy individuals.

Definitely...an extra gift on Teacher Appreciation Day from me.

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 11:01 AM

52. This sounds like a book more suitable for high school juniors or seniors.

I'm shocked by the number of posters that seem to miss your point of "appropriate material for 8 year olds." When I was eight, I was reading Nancy Drew, not stories of rape.

We don't allow our children a childhood anymore.

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:47 PM

54. I'm going to come down on the side of art, literature, and history...

...and suggest that discussing the issues in context, including the historical ones, is preferable to censorship of art and literature. There are enduring lessons at the heart of the selkie story, and sunlight is the best disinfectant.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #54)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:52 PM

56. for 8 yr olds? nt

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #56)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:20 PM

63. No, not for eight year olds.

I don't get how anyone can think that discussing this with second-graders is in any way appropriate.

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Response to Sheldon Cooper (Reply #63)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:38 PM

66. Well they learn about George Washington, don't they?!?!?!

Well OKAY THEN!!!

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Response to redqueen (Reply #66)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:45 PM

68. Yeah, forget about that Spongebob crap!

They're eight years old, for chrissake! If we can't make them read about rape now, when can we? Time's a wasting!

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Response to Sheldon Cooper (Reply #68)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 05:28 PM

72. what i recognized when kids were young, is adults who did not parent tell me how i wronged my kids

because i did not allow the garbage in our home.

how the hell are the kids going to know about the real world? they asked.

there is sooooo much trash out there, they learned about the shit way before any of us had to. but, it was thru conversation, discussing and thinking in an age appropriate manner. it was not feeding the kids the trash as if it had to be their world. it does not.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #56)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:43 PM

67. I think so...

...with age appropriate language and concepts, of course. I guess my feeling is that if they don't find the allusions upsetting, then there's really no reason to focus the discussion on the upsetting ideas other than to ask whether they've thought about them, how do they feel about them, etc. I suppose the real question is whether one thinks second graders are mature enough to talk about topics like the equivalency of rape and "keeping someone you love against their will," and I suppose my default answer is that if they find those topics upsetting then they are RIPE for discussion, and if they don't, then perhaps they're not ready to experience the story outside of its simpler context anyway, so exposure to it's darker side probably doesn't do them any harm.

Full disclaimer: I think my daughter was about that age, more-or-less, when she was first read the silky story (our version called them silkies) although honestly, I don't remember her reaction and don't even recall if I was there or the circumstances of her hearing it. Been a LONG time, I'm afraid. I do believe that I'd recall whether the story upset her. I think if we had the opportunity to do that over I'd be more conscious of the underlying messages AND their historical context.

on edit: I should say though that there is a wealth of good literature for young people, so there are certainly lots of alternatives that avoid some of these issues. But as an educator, I can see real value in RELEARNING stories with expanded context as children develop, so that a cute childhood story about a sad mermaid who recovers happiness at the cost of leaving her children behind can become a dark lesson about coercion and objectification later in life and thereby make an even bigger impression.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #67)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 04:58 PM

69. Romanticized rape narratives rarely upset children (or most adults)...

because they are romanticized.

By the time we are adults, we are so used to it that we don't even see the rapeyness in most Hollywood movies or on tv shows. It's part of rape culture.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #67)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 05:08 PM

70. I think you have to pull a gestalt here

And think about all the messages little girls receive.

Now if this story presented to a slightly older groups, say 11year old, with a discussion afterwards 'how do you think the Selkie felt about being kidnapped? Do you think she was sad not to see her family? Do you think she wanted to have children with a stranger?

We might get somewhere with it


I'm NOT an educator, at least not for little kids (I'm a nurse and we're always teaching one thing or another) so I'm sure you could come up with better questions that teased the out the injustice of the subject matter, rather than presenting it as a minor cultural fairy tale that includes acceptable behavior.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #70)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 05:24 PM

71. agreed....

And I should say that I don't teach kids that age either.

A lot of those old stories were MEANT to illustrate culturally difficult issues in the first place, and you can bet the silky story owes it's longevity to its powerful undercurrents of pathos, conflict between love and objectification, familial duty vs personal happiness, and so on. Ultimately, these sorts of tales were adult stories, not children's fairy stories. They exist today primarily because they historically captivated the interest of adults, not children.

Thinking about it more, in the context of this discussion, I do agree that the real story is WAY too much for most eight year olds to get their heads wrapped around, and the fact that it's about make-believe creatures certainly doesn't make it automatically appropriate for children. But again, these stories enter the human canon because they're instructive, and instruction IS the role of childhood education. I certainly think it would be a mistake to read this story and NOT talk about the issues it raises. Like many "fairy tales," it is scary as shit when you pay attention.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #71)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:39 PM

83. now you get it! if your daughter wasn't disturbed by the story, it's worse because she's going to

exposed to so much more of this crap - from Twilight to John Hughes movies and eventually the Fifty Shades of Gray crap, that normalizes or glamorizes stalking, rape and murder. The heroes do this. Most teenagers who consume this crap do not notice.
This is why so many are confused today about what rape really is- all of us have been presented with dozens of stories where the rapist "loved her so it's actually romantic". Once you notice it, you realize it's everywhere.

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Response to bettyellen (Reply #83)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:46 PM

84. yes. once you take the pill... you see it everywhere. lol. but, you are right.



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Response to mike_c (Reply #67)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 05:29 PM

73. and on that, that would be creating the conditioning of a rape society. no adult challenging.

merely accepting a consequence of our gender.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #67)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 07:47 PM

76. That's the whole point

It's made to look like something other than rape, and so normal that we aren't bothered by it. And it starts with young children. That's an example of rape culture - normalizing and romanticizing rape.

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Response to gollygee (Reply #76)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:06 PM

78. I think you misunderstood my comments....

I fully agree that the silky story is an example of rape culture. Hell, it's medieval. Literally. That's it's point, in a very real way. It's an adult story, not a children's story, and it survived largely because it juxtaposes themes like love and rape, objectification and possession, family duty and personal happiness. Those themes resonate with adults-- as they have in this thread. It's the sort of story that adults told until the post-enlightenment, when it joined Grimm's and similar collections of myths and folktales headed to children's literature land, presumably because it's mythology.

Should eight year olds be reading it? I have to admit, my views on that are evolving. Certainly NOT without exploring some of its real meaning, but that has to be done in an age appropriate way, e.g. talking CAREFULLY about kidnapping and sadness, and wanting to return to your home rather than rape and forced child-bearing, for example. At the very least, I think it's important for stories like this to become moral tales rather than just-so stories-- that's what they are, really. Stories about silkies, djinn, talking wolves, whatever, would disappear quickly when belief in their underlying premise disappeared if not for their illustrating serious adult moral and social issues.

Stories like this can expand their context in the minds of developing children, and acquire great power because of that. Having epiphanies about a tale that you thought you understood can be more likely to create lasting learning than tales that hit you over the head later.

I think the current evolution of my thinking on this topic is that the most important thing is that the adults in the room have their heads in the right place and be fully aware of the issues raised in the story, and that they anticipate how to address those if kids have concerns or fears.

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:50 PM

55. No.

(Unless someone is also explaining to them what's wrong with it.)

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Response to MadrasT (Reply #55)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:52 PM

59. I don't think that material/discussion is suitable for the 3rd grade, myself.

At least 6th grade would seem more appropriate to me.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #59)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 03:56 PM

60. I have no idea at what age kids are ready for what.

I don't have any and I am never around any.

Whatever the age... if they aren't old enough to participate in (and understand) a real conversation about what may be wrong with the story, they aren't old enough to read it.

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Response to seabeyond (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 08:28 PM

80. hey, seabeyond....

Last edited Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:13 PM - Edit history (1)

LOL, I know full well I'll never get the last word in this thread, but I've been thinking about it all afternoon. I'm an academic. I can't help it.

The point I wanted to add, that didn't seem to fit anywhere in my sub-thread above, is that perhaps your initial premise is off base. The Selkie story doesn't "glorify rape," although it certainly accepts it as commonplace, even expected. But it's a medieval story, created in a rape culture largely free of any nuance whatsoever.

At the end, the fisherman loses his happiness because he stole it in the first place. I think that is the real message of the story. The Selkie chooses to be true to herself, placing her own happiness ahead of even her childrens'. She recovers her true nature and returns to her real home. Imagine that story being told around an Irish hearth 500, 600 years ago. When you get to that part, every woman in the room smiles and nods her head. G'damn right. They know what they would have done.

You or someone else mentioned up thread that in the end, the man is portrayed as having been abandoned and a victim, but perhaps that's a necessary part of the story. His actions led to his own downfall. He must feel abandonment to be made into the villain he actually is, regardless of his motives for villainy, because in moral tales the villain must suffer for his deeds. The sequence of events he began with kidnapping a bride ended the only way it should, with his unhappiness.

But you know, the more I think about it, the more I agree that those are adult themes.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #80)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:21 PM

82. hey, mike...

i was gonna get the last word (not really, i am sure, ) because, though i did not respond on your last posts, i read and was really appreciating how you were evolving in thought, knowing you were actually thinking about the issue. and for me that is the best and a blast. so i was gonna give you a shout out how much i appreciated your participation in the conversation and how nifty it is to converse, instead of battle.

that being said. you have a very good point on the way to address the story with kids. you explained it perfectly, that would be good for a kid that age to be able to understand in the simplicity. kids that age do not have a tough time seeing the wrong in these situations.

that still leaves out the ability to challenge the romanticizing (i like how redq explains it) of rape.this is the issue we are talking in this forum. kids at 8 do not even get sex yet, or even have an interest. i know a lot of men on du like to pretend, but, that is them romanticizing their own sexual awesomeness they too are conditioned by. in order to be even able to discuss the complex nature of what this book is portraying the kids would have to have more world knowledge than what 8 yr olds have. so the best would be to explain your way, and that is leaving out the rape part. at that point, we are allowing it to be fed to the kids without calling it out. hence... how we create a rape culture.

i will say that my boys and i addressed all this while growing up. and there was a lot of foundation of discussing literature, movies and shows that allowed conversation on how we treat people respectfully and moral issues. but, it would not have been until 11 or 12 before we would have gotten into these conversation about rape. my youngest was a little older.

i wouldnt want my girls to think this is the male mentality and to be fearful at such a young age, having to try to process this. and i would not want my boys to feel this is how men are seen, at such a young age.

but.... thanks mike c. i do appreciate your thoughts in this thread.



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