The Bookish Community Isn’t Too Sensitive:A Discussion

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So I’ve seen a lot of people complaining on Twitter, Tumblr and even WordPress about how the bookish community is “too sensitive.”so today I’d thought I just talk a little bit about it, and what my thoughts are because why not.

 

For the past couple of weeks and maybe even months, I have seen countless people complaining about how they feel attacked and how they’re being bullied because of the books they read and how they don’t feel like they can’t express their opinions properly. I disagree with  these statements on so many levels and I feel as though a lot of these are really unfounded  and not at all based on facts.

 

The first thing I’d like to address is the fact that people feel as though reading is no longer a fun experience and that they can’t enjoy a book without the fear of being judged. No one is asking you to not enjoy certain  books, everyone has their problematic faves. Everyone reads books that they know are bad but they still love. No one is telling you to stop enjoying those books. While you can enjoy these books, you also have to acknowledge the fact that the books that you enjoy have problematic aspects in them. You can like  something problematic, but what you can’t do is ignore the problematic aspects. Maybe consider not recommending  it to people, or supporting it quietly.  If you’re supporting a book that is more problematic more than a book that isn’t, then there’s a problem. At the end of the day, no one can stop  you from enjoying things that are deemed problematic, but you also have to realize that your voice does matter, and you may be persuading people to read one book when they could be reading a better and less problematic one.

A lot of people are really scared of being called out, and while I get it, I also think that you need to move past it when it does occur to you because it’s not a big deal. From what I’ve seen, noone is immediately going to attack you, they may politely tell you that what you’re reading is problematic and at that  point you just apologize.No one expects you to know every single book that is problematic, but once someone calls you out on it,try to change the way you see that book, and at least mention the problems when talking about the book.Everyone is capable of change. What’s not okay is ignoring what the person has said, and not even acknowledging them. There’s no shame in making mistakes but there’s plenty of shame in ignoring those mistakes.

I’ve also seen a lot of people say that too many books are being deemed problematic and that littlest of sentences  can make a book unreadable. Honestly at this point, it’s lazy  and prejudice writing to write even one small sentence that could be deemed as problematic. It isn’t that hard to avoid offensive phrasing if you care about the feelings of  the marginalized.If marginalized people are hurt, isn’t that enough reason. They have been oppressed for so long, they don’t need to see such offensive language or plotpoints in fiction as well.Writing one bad sentence doesn’t make you a bad person  but you can’t get all up in arms when people do mention it. Words do hurt, even  if it’s 10 words out of 70k. A good example of  an author taking criticism well is Becky Albertalli. In her debut novel, one of her characters said someone that was really offensive to lesbians. When people told her about how it hurt them, she apologized and in her next book she hired sensitivity readers to make sure that mistake wasn’t repeated.I feel as though this is less about people being sensitive as it is about marginalized people being sensitive. If someone white was to complain about some small little issue that bothered them no one would care,  they only care when people should actually be sensitive about the issue.It all comes down to the fact that  a lot of people still don’t want to hear marginalized people’s opinion.

Lastly I just wanted to commented about a fact that I’ve noticed quite frequently specifically concerning PoC speaking about these issues. PoC are expected to be the 100% polite while addressing these concerns, and the minute they use a little bit of snark, they’re deemed as unworthy of being listened to.If they want to be listened to they have to be completely polite, while white people can be so godamn rude and they’re actually praised for being “honest”. It’s not fair and people  need to check themselves when they do this. You may claim to not be racist, but when you call out PoC but you don’t call out white people, you are racist.

So What do you think?Feel Free to leave any comments or opinions you have down below

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8 thoughts on “The Bookish Community Isn’t Too Sensitive:A Discussion

  1. Great piece. I especially like your last paragraph. The double standard is so annoying and not only something I’ve come across online.

    I do agree with you that even small sentences can be problematic and should be mentioned, even if the book is great as a whole.

    I hear the argument about ‘too sensitive’ in my real life, when I’m addressing racism, sexism, etc. and it is annoying. If people are affected by something, they will not always be calm and collected when they’re discussing it – some people get emotional. Be telling people to not be sensitive, one is effectively erasing their feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post!
    I think now everyone is just looking for an excuse to provoke drama, tbh. We all make mistakes and learn from them, it’s not such a big deal, and we’ll forget about it in a few years.
    It’s like you said – we can keep our problematic faves, but we have to acknowledge that they’re problematic. I see a lot of people reading and praising Carve the Mark, for example, and while I’m not personally interested in that book, I don’t make a big deal out of other people reading it (probably because I have a different perspective). What I don’t agree with is people recommending that book without mentioning the important things :/
    But anyway, I’m talking too much haha Completely agree with the last paragraph, btw!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tbh I don’t know how I feel about people still reading Carve The Mark, after everyone has been said about it. While they can obviously read whatever they want, it’s kind of disrespectful to read it “to see for yourself” if its bad. I guess it all depends on how you read it, and I think that a book like that shouldn’t be bought because it sends a message to the publishers that kind of stuff is okay.

      Liked by 1 person

      • yeah, a lot of people said they would borrow it from someone or from the library. that’s a better way, even if I wouldn’t waste my time. there’s so many awesome books out there, why do people insist on reading only the hurtful ones? :/

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