Saturday 20 January 2018

Eilis O'Hanlon: Eroticising children's books a liberal fallacy

Literature should remain last refuge for young people from cheap smuttiness of popular culture.

Eilis O'Hanlon

With smart phones in every pocket and laptops in every bedroom, children now are only ever a click away from material that would have shocked even the Marquis de Sade.

Thankfully, the new Children's Laureate in Britain has a solution – more sex in children's books. No, seriously. Malorie Blackman, author of the Noughts And Crosses trilogy, thinks that would allow youngsters to understand issues around sex and relationships "in a safe setting", rather than being exposed to them through porn.

Of course, we know what will happen if this ever takes off. It will be like film directors who started telling young starlets they needed to take their kit off on camera because it was crucial to understanding the scene. Before you knew it, sex in films had become ubiquitous. Same with modern fiction. Taboos were broken for all the noblest of reasons. Now there's so much sex in new novels that it's even coined a Bad Sex Prize for the most cringeworthy examples, and whole sections of bookshops have been Fifty Shades Of Grey-ed out.

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