I’ve always been against censorship. Unless something is inciting hate or harm, I feel that it should be allowed to be viewed or read, and it isn’t anyone’s place to make judgements on someone else’s behalf.
I have run smack into my own principles with Fifty Shades of Grey, and the other two books in the trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, by E.L. James. Erotic fiction evolved from Twilight fan-fiction (shudder) to an e-book/print-on-demand that was so overwhelmingly popular, the trilogy was picked up and published in hard copy, all three releasing over the last few weeks.
I have not read the book myself yet (I am borrowing it today to read). What I know of it, from the book jacket, blurbs, and info from those who have already read it, is that it is erotica. BDSM (bondage/domination/sadism/masochism) erotica, to be precise. I don’t have any issues with erotica, But erotic books are a strange, grey area. They are not classified as pornography, so there is no requirement that purchasers be of a certain age. Fifty Shades of Grey has an emphasis on the domination side of things, from what I understand, and I am conflicted between my need to try to be non-judgemental and not censor books, and my need to not have teenagers buying books where people don’t take “no” for an answer, and the person saying “no” is okay with that.
The book being so popular also means that people (almost exclusively women) are coming in and buying it because they’ve heard the buzz, but have no idea about the contents. Young teenage girls are coming in and looking for it because they’ve heard it’s connected to Twilight in some fashion. One girl came in to buy it, age perhaps seventeen or eighteen, accompanied by her dad. Eep. When her father was some distance away, I asked her if she was aware that the book was erotica, which led to her practically throwing the book to me, and fleeing the display.
I am currently limiting myself to asking if people purchasing it are aware that it is BDSM erotica, and stopping at that. After they know what the book is, the decision is in their hands. But what do I do if a twelve-year-old insists on buying it? Arg.