I don’t think teenagers reading literature need to see a world they know; I think they need to see a world they know isn’t bullshit.
Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.
The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)
I like broccoli, but this is still a great quote.
This teen girl’s response to the DFTBA sexual abuse scandal is out of this world and needs to be watched and thought about and discussed.
This is a 16-year-old girl. Her video gave me CHILLS.
It’s a great video. Some might find it tough but it’s a must-see. She – Ann/The Geeky Blonde – connects the abuse by adult men in the YouTube community to the decreasing space the women in youtube panel gets at vidcon. She also outlines a number of steps the DFTBA/YouTube/VidCon community needs to take. She is an impressive example of what young girls can do, and why their voices need to be valued more. She explains how Brave New Voices values creative teenage girls more than vidcon..
I’m not really into the DFTBA universe besides the occasional crash course video or tumblr post, so I don’t know a lot about the accused men and the cases. The video has a bunch of links/articles in the description. Anyway, the evident abuse by 5+ content producers is terrible, alarming, and vile. What she has to say is also valuable beyond this specific case(s).
Just one last thought: As the DFTBA/vlogger/nerd community continues to grow, it needs to take active steps to just not mirror the fucked up-ness of society at large. Otherwise, a lot of amazing, revolutionary potential will be wasted.
(Content note: the video is a general discussion of (surviving) sexual abuse.)
Matt de la Peña, wrote a short, beautiful essay for NPR’s Code Switch blog on the hope and perspective reading and writing can give struggling teens and adults from difficult backgrounds like macho working-class or street gangs:
My professor said something I will never forget when I went and talked to her the following week. Even in the harshest and ugliest of circumstances, she explained, there’s still hope. That’s what she loved most about The Color Purple.
It’s what I loved most, too, I decided.
I immediately went in search of other stories that might move me, too. I read all the novels I’d skipped in high school. I read novels by black female authors like Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston. I read Ruth Forman’s first poetry collection so many times I had every line memorized. And when I discovered Hispanic writers like Sandra Cisneros and Junot Díaz and Gabriel García Márquez, it was over. I was hooked. Novels became my secret place to “feel.” My dad and uncles didn’t need to know about it. Neither did my teammates. But I could sense something happening inside of me: reading was making me whole.