A Michigan mother contends that the unabridged version of Anne Frank’s diary is “pornographic.”
At issue are sections left out of the version published by her father where the young woman describes the changes taking place in her body as she goes through puberty.
“There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can’t imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!”
The accusation, fortunately, has been roundly criticized, but it raises an incredibly important point. This mother was prepared for her daughter to learn about the Nazi holocaust, but not to hear an objective description of a vagina. What does it mean that our nation is so numb to violence and so over-reactive to anything that deals with sex? Bill Clinton killed perhaps half a million Iraqis as a result of policies that included an illegal medical embargo of that nation. Almost no one in this nation obatted an eye to his violence, but when it was found that he had an extra-marrital affair, our nation was paralysed for months. Before we consider this mother to be an anomoly, perhaps we should consider what this nation does and doesn’t protest.
I do not believe that the two phenomena are separate- our national proclivity to violence and our discomfort with our own animal bodies seem intimately bound together. Why else could the Diary of Anne Frank be considered acceptable as long as she explored the unspeakable cruelty of her time, but obscene if the young teen explored her own body?