When the Kite Won’t Fly: A Closer Look at Book Banning

Photo taken by Nadi Lindsay, hosted at Pexels

It seems that every day throughout the nation, and even more so in my home state of Florida, more books are being pulled from school libraries as opposed to added. And while some book banners claim that their only concern lies in the shielding and protection of innocent eyes from the dangers of obscene material, one look at any given list of banned and challenged books suggests otherwise.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. The Diary of Anne Frank. Biographies of historical luminaries such as Harriet Tubman and Ruby Bridges–the later being a 6-year-old who distinguished herself as the first Black child to attend a segregated school.

None of these books would in any way be considered smoking hot reads. Yet when it comes to banned books lists, they take their place alongside sex education manuals, books featuring LGBTQ characters, and other texts that do indeed address the topic of sexuality.

As the author of more than 30 erotic books, I indeed have been threatened with the suppression of my work–but not always on the basis of erotic content.

My first brush with book banning, after a fashion, took place in a high school creative writing class. When assigned to write a children’s book, I presented a story called Tia’s Kite; a chronicle of a girl living in a foreign country, who dared–not only to enter a kite flying contest open to boys only–but to win the whole shebang.

After hearing my story, my teacher and classmates promptly rejected it–also forbidding me to read it to a class of elementary schoolers who would serve as the primary audience for our stories.

Their reasoning? The book’s feminist themes, they argued, could inspire young girls to mistreat and disrespect young boys.

This, despite the fact that Tia wins her contest fair and square–not by beating the tar out of her male competitors or making off with their kites.

As an adult, I have indeed been targeted with discrimination based on my status as an erotic author. While researching a book about women who worked in silent film, I encountered one expert on this subject who refused to be interviewed for my book, based on my experience as an author of ‘those books.’ This, despite the fact that my entire mission in writing Ladies in Silver (not Ladies in Lingerie) was to showcase the careers and accomplishments of women who wrote, directed and produced silent films–not their personal lives and affairs, as so many other books have done.

I’ve seen fellow and sister writers invited to library book sales, where I was not welcome–for fear that I might bring ‘those books’ that feature cover photos of men without their shirts on–though some of them did have fins, to cover their lower halves.

I mean, seriously folks, I reside in Florida; a state in which you can pretty much see men walking around with their shirts off all the time-a good number of them considerably less hawt than my cover models. Just sayin’.

I was temporarily banned from a women’s social media group because I listed one of my job titles as ‘erotica author.’ This same site later touted the membership of and interview with a singer who’d enjoyed a longtime creative partnership with a recording artist multiply accused of hideous crimes against children.

And the book trailer for my erotic holiday book Noelle’s Nocturne was banned from a social media video site–one headquartered in a country that was not the United States of America.

Now, one could argue that, as individuals and private entities, the people and groups that I mentioned had the right to exclude me from their channels and events, at their discretion. And yes, I myself have chosen not to interview or promote a few erotic content creators whose work I felt was demeaning to women. I had no power to ban their work, just as my oppressors had no power to ban my work.

Today, though, a select group of censors is actively exercising this power.
And these days, a number of kites–taking the form of thoughts, concepts and ideas–are being denied the freedom to fly.


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