Quantcast

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

47

Judy Blume on Porn, Petting and Life Before the Pill

Rookie just did a Q&A with Judy Blume about banned books, friendship, and whether Margaret will ever get that must-be-increased bust ("No!... Margaret's just like me: an A-cup for life!"), and the author—whose unabashedly honest girl-world trailblazing can never be overstated—is just as delightful as ever.

I was drawn to the segment below, which made me think about a conversation I had over the long weekend with a gorgeous woman in her sixties; because I was in Martha's Vineyard, I was already thinking about Judy Blume and the dirty confectionery of Summer Sisters every time I saw teenagers disappearing like beautiful deer into some hydrangea-laced greenery to fool around while no one was watching. Anyway, this woman and I were talking about sex before the pill, and how it was exciting to not do it, to move slow, to make out for hours. And of course, there's nothing romantic about not having access to birth control, but the world Blume describes here is distant a little bit—a little heartachey bit—from the one I know:

You really tap into the heart of what teenage longing is and how it feels. I know you get a lot of letters from teenagers—what kinds of desires do they express to you?

There are so many kinds of longing. The longing to fit in, the longing to figure it out, the emotional longing for friendship and being accepted—these are all as important as physical longing. Before all the hormones start raging, it’s the emotional longing that is most important, and boy, you have to learn to figure it out. In my day, the rules were there for us. Back then there was no abortion and no pill, and my friends and I knew that what we called “going all the way” could ruin our lives. It is not that we didn’t have physical sexual longing, but we went out with guys who understood that there were ways to satisfy—and it wasn’t oral sex. We kind of could be satisfied through touching; we could be physically satisfied with what we called petting. I went out with a lot of guys, and there was an understanding. I was never pushed to go all the way.

I think today’s kids miss out on being sexual without having intercourse. There are a lot of sexual expectations today. Everyone is watching porn now. It turns you on, sure. I’m not saying don’t watch it. But what you see in porn is not what real love and sexuality within a long-term relationship are. Just like kids have to learn that the toy they see on TV is different from different from what it does in real life, I’d like to see the same thing taught about sex. I hate to see girls feeling like they have to emulate what they see in porn, with breast implants and pole dancing. I am actually glad that Amanda Bynes had her implants removed. This was a good development. What would I do if I was 16 now?

Judy! Here is the frank embrace of the vulnerability of early years that made her youngest characters so compelling, and the acknowledgment of the evolving components of personal hunger that allowed her to write dozens of characters, all at different stages of their sexuality, that all felt equally honest in their desire. My favorite book of hers was probably Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself. What's yours?


47 Comments / Post A Comment

LaLoba

I read Wifey only but two years ago - yeehaw! That book is somethin'. The ending, however, left a lot to be desired.

xcbxcreueru547

@LaLoba ~Oh,Unbelievable~~ My best friend Elena has just married to a cool black man. They fall in love through~~ ВlackŴhiteHub. ℂom ~~ ~ They told me it is one of the top Black White SinglesMatchmaker dating site, Join free to date black women, white men, black men and white women. You can easily find someone real, serious, quality. Meet singles living in your local area or in countries around the world. .)If you are single, worth a try.cxb

districter

I would have to say "Are You There God" if only becuase my mom gave it to me as a way to introduce me to going through puberty, and thinking back now that seems like a very special exchange.

iceberg

I'm going to go with "Are You There God" for the teenage years, although I read it a bit early, when I was still trying to hide my embarrassing new almost-boobs, and was extremely confused as to why you would want the damn things MORE visible.

I was wayyyy into the Ramona series before that though, it was a bit jarring actually to go from Ramona to that!

iceberg

@iceberg OK also, what IS petting then?

Onymous

@iceberg Groping, bit of dry humping, possibly some mutual masturbation though don't quote me on that.

milenakent

is wrinkling my brain! But in a good way!@n

Tafadhali

...I'll admit it: I read Judy Blume's adolescent girl books (or many of them anyway), but none of them meant as much to me as the Fudge series, especially Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, which I read probably a dozen times in elementary school. It, A Wrinkle in Time, and Matilda were in constant rotation as my all-time favorite book.

SarahP

@Tafadhali Yes, me too! The coming-of-age stuff was just different from my experience/s, so I didn't have any special relationship with it, but I read all the Fudge books and loved them!

sophia_h

@Tafadhali Yeah, same here, that was my first and favorite Blume took (and the other two you mention were big faves, plus Mixed-Up Files).

Tafadhali

@Tafadhali Yeah, I think I just really didn't identify with middle school girl stuff? I didn't look down on it (much; I had a bit of the internalized misogyny going on), and I still liked to read it, but the idea of having a chant about my cup size to say with my friends seemed outrageously unimaginable to me. Not to mention the distance that future mostly-queer, mostly-asexual me usually felt from depictions of high school love.

The Fudge books, though, were super funny, and (as a 9-year-old with an attention-grabby 2-year-old sister) I found it really easy to identify with Peter!

supernintendochalmers

I was really into Forever. Very sexy stuff. But really, Judy Blume is just the best.

Ragged But Right

@supernintendochalmers Forever, for ever.

MandyMcAwesome

I love you Judy Blume. You always make me feel so normal by talking about things that no one talks about with out making a big deal out of it. You are 75 and straight up stated that you watch porn. You are a ROCK STAR.

Jaya

Judy Blume can pry my pole dancing classes from my cold dead hands.

But overall I'm with her.

AceofSix@twitter

Ok so there's NO WAY to pick a fave, but if forced I would single out Tiger Eyes, Iggie's House, and Blubber as the stories that stuck with me the most. Passages from all three books have haunted me into adulthood.

angelinha

@AceofSix@twitter Blubber!

stonefruit

@angelinha Tiger Eyes! Oh the tears.

codi_cathleen

I used to read Forever under the covers with a flashlight because I thought it was dirty and my mom would get mad. I loved that book and the secret we shared.

maybe partying will help

Toss-up between the Fudge series and Sally J. Freedman. What a kicky little girl Sally was. Also I have always wanted to name a female puppy Jake. THANKS SHEILA.

Probs

I'm partial to "Are you there, God? It's me, Jamiroquai"

highfivesforall

@Probs Personally I think "Danger at 2 1/2 Feet" was Smuckles' best work

likethestore

Margaret is the best always. She helped me figure out I was an atheist at an early age and made me feel like that choice was good and valid. I read Forever WAY too young (yay, another book like Margaret! I remember thinking when I picked it out at the store) and was simultaneously tuned on and scandalized that this kind of book was in the KIDS section. (Thanks for also teaching me about orgasms, Judy.)

sophia_h

So I actually kind of...resent Are You There God? Because the girls in the book cared so much about getting their periods and competed so fiercely, and it made me feel like it was this huge deal, and I was SO relieved to get it a month before I turned 13 and before a bunch of my friends...and actually, none of them really cared, and were like "oh cool" when I said I'd gotten it, and it turned out a couple of them had already had theirs and not even bothered to mention it. So I feel like I spent all this time hoping for puberty to hit and anxiously awaiting my period because of this book, whereas in my actual peer group there was zero pressure at all and I made things much more difficult for myself.

rekabeka

@sophia_h Yeah, I had my mom's reaction to my first period all built up in my mind because of "Margaret" - the tears over my becoming a woman and all. When I finally got it, my mom told me to just grab one of her pads from under the bathroom sink. Major letdown.

Bittersweet

@sophia_h Funny that you say that, because I re-read Are You There God? a few months ago and had the same reaction. Margaret and her friends are so ready to get their periods and get training bras and grow up, and no one wants to be "last." My friends and I didn't care about that much at all - in fact, I was way into ballet and was hoping to be last, to avoid getting it for longer because it was such a pain to deal with during dance class.

sophia_h

@rekabeka My mom made an embarrassingly big deal out of it -- flowers, a card -- partly because she didn't get hers until high school and felt bad about it, so I had grown up worrying I'd be late like that too. Basically I had a lot of external anxieties put onto me about the whole thing, which sucked in retrospect.

@Bittersweet Yeah, my friend who'd had it already was in ballet and didn't regard it as a good thing at all.

polka dots vs stripes

I never read Judy Blume past the Ramona series, mostly because my mother, while allowing my sister and I to be voracious readers, also was passively-aggressively strict about what we read, and a lot of coming of age fiction was off the list. I didn't have a particularly difficult time with puberty, but I still feel like I missed out on a big part of my generation's cultural literature touchstones.

jenjenboben

@polka dots vs stripes The Ramona series was by Beverly Cleary. Another wonderfully empathetic writer of children's stories.

polka dots vs stripes

@jenjenboben Gah I knew that didn't seem right. Did Judy Blume write something else for younger kids? Now that I'm looking at her wikipedia, I'm not sure I've ever read anything by her....hm.

iceberg

@jenjenboben DANG IT! Why did I think that? I feel like she did write something younger but maybe I'm crazy.

Tafadhali

@iceberg She wrote the Fudge books, which were geared towards younger kids!

kristenpdx

Wow! I have always loved "Tiger Eyes" although I haven't read it in years, and I didn't know a movie was being made of it. Since it's on cable I probably won't get to see it. Anyway, I loved that book because Davey was so independent and adventurous. Maybe she was also a bit solitary during her depression, as I used to be.

Jinxie

@kristenpdx According to Judy Blume's twitter, it seems they were having some distribution issues with the movie, and as a result I think it's also available for purchase on itunes.

Roxy Throatpunch

@kristenpdx Yep, available on iTunes or Amazon, for both purchase and rent.

stonefruit

I'm a Sally J. Freedman fan, myself. It was one of the first books I remember reading where I really identified with the heroine's Jewish identity, and I think it really hits the "the Holocaust just happened, where do we go with this hanging over our heads" note perfectly.

Nellie, the Dickensian Factory Urchin

Toss-up for me between Sally J. Freedman, Blubber and It's Not the End of the World, the latter one I never hear anyone else mention and thus I deem it her most underrated. :( I also have a sneaking suspicion that my school library had banned Margaret, Tiger Eyes and Forever because I never even saw those until way later in a bookstore. Ugh, censorship.

Hellcat

@Nellie, the Dickensian Factory Urchin Holy hell, I am totally spacing on It's Not the End of the World, even though I recall the title! I never forget this kind of shit!

eringobragh

I always loved Just as Long as We're Together,think it was a Rachel Robinson spinoff?

TheAnticouth

@eringobragh "Here's to You, Rachel Robinson" was the spinoff! I remember my mom buying the hardcover version for me. I had read "Just As Long As We're Together" before that, about Steph and Rachel, and Allison and her talking dog.

Regina Phalange

@TheAnticouth I remember "Here's to You, Rachel Robinson"! And her sister had really bad skin (I RELATED).

BettyT

I'm going to name two books of hers that haven't been mentioned: Just As Long We're Together and Then Again, Maybe I Won't. The latter is like the male version of Are You There God? It involves a boy having wet dreams and being embarrassed about his mother changing the sheets. I didn't know any of these things happened to boys when I read that book, so it was interesting to read. Just As Long We're Together is a book about three friends. It's a bit longer than her other books, and I think it's really well written.

Roxy Throatpunch

@BettyT Then Again Maybe I Won't was the first - and only - time my mom refused to buy me a book. I think it mentioned wet dreams in the blurb on the back and we were staying with my grandparents and she was not having it. My dad is slightly-militantly anti-censorship, so when I mentioned it to him after we got home it...did not go over well. Sorry, Mom.

harebell

Huh, I never related to Judy Blume's books or even could finish them, really, and always wondered who it was out there (if anyone) actually relating to them/why they were considered so popular. But apparently a lot of you guys were, so now I know.

(A lot of the emotions & attitudes around puberty that she describes just had no relation to my own experience -- but I did mostly grow up in other cultures so that could play a big role).

rathermarvelous

Huh. It's a shame I never read any of her stuff. I didn't read much that wasn't science fiction, fantasy, or history back then (or now).

Roxy Throatpunch

Thank you for highlighting that passage. It broke my heart a little bit. Even when I was a teenager, that's how sex was (well, for me, anyway), and it is sad to me that my daughter is going to have such a totally different experience.

Tiger Eyes is my favorite Blume, but I also really adored Sally. And no one else has mentioned it, but I LOVED Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great. There are so many teeny tiny details of that book that have stuck with me for decades.

Jonas Ruess

In my opinion that a home foreclosure can have a important effect on the borrower's life. Property foreclosures can have a Seven to ten years negative affect on a client's credit report. A borrower that has applied for a home loan or any kind of loans even, knows that a worse credit rating will be, the more challenging it is to obtain a decent mortgage. In addition, it might affect the borrower's power to find a quality place to lease or hire, if that gets the alternative real estate solution. Good blog post. Hay Day Cheats

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account