Thursday, August 16, 2007

Judy Blume Updated

I don't have much to add, I just thought it was cool that Judy Blume's books Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, and Forever have been updated to do away with outdated information and reflect current sexual health precautions. From Reproductive Health Reality Check:

While making the text accessible to adolescents, the update wasn’t without controversy; some ardent fans decried the changes as tampering with a classic. Blume justified the change as a minimal loss with great benefit of better communicating with today’s readers.

“No one uses belts any more,” Blume told The Providence Phoenix in 1998 “Half the mothers haven't used them. [Contemporary readers] have to go to their grandmothers.”

Forever is another Blume novel touched with up-to-date health information—and its stakes are older than simple clarity.

Aimed for an older audience than Margaret, Forever was written as Blume’s response to her daughter’s simple request: she wanted to see a story about teenagers who had sex without being punished by grisly abortions, miscarriages, or deaths.

“I wanted to present another kind of story—one in which two seniors in high school fall in love, decide together to have sex, and act responsibly,” Blume writes on her website.

Forever’s Katherine and Michael seriously talk about their decision before they have sex, and after a visit to a health clinic, Katherine receives a birth control prescription.

It’s that scene that Blume refers to in a one-page preface added to recent editions of the book.

She writes:

“The seventies were a time when sexual responsibility meant preventing unwanted pregnancy. Today, sexual responsibility also means preventing sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. In this book Katherine visits a clinic and is given a prescription for The Pill. Today, she would be told it is essential to use a condom along with any other method of birth control. If you’re going to become sexually active, then you have to take responsibility for your own actions. So get the facts first.”

Cross-posted on Feministe

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