Who in recent days has not come across any report or discussion on the social network around the controversy surrounding the book “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation”, which took place at Escola Móbile de São Paulo?
This reading was passed on to the 7th grade class of high school, students in their early teens, in their 12s, as part of an awareness project about World War II and the Holocaust.
The book is a graphic adaptation of a classic of Western literature, with text faithful to that written by Anne Frank. It is the autobiography of a young Jewish woman who lived in hiding for years, until she was discovered and murdered by the Nazis. Therefore, she reports the fear of a hidden life, prejudice, suffering, daily situations and internal conflicts of a teenager, isolated with her family, living the horrors of the Holocaust.
According to some parents, the material contained erotic and sexual narratives about Anne’s discovery of her own body, which they said were inadequate for students in that grade, including because as part of the pedagogical planning, the texts are read aloud by the students.
In short, the passages that became the object of discussion refer to the girl describing her own genitalia, discussing sexuality, desires, curiosities. Nothing more natural for a teenager.
Why is it that in 2021 it is still so difficult to talk about sexuality? When I refer to speaking, I include discussion here, verbalization, of course. I believe this happens a lot because there is still confusion about sex and sexuality, about the fact that talking about it, knowing and appropriating the subject is a huge distance from acting, practicing or stimulating sex itself.
It is not my intention here to theorize about it, but to encourage reflection on the subject, which, of course, needs to be more talked about, more normalized, for the sake of our own children. I am concerned about the fact that many of these teenagers are exposed daily on the internet, on social networks, in movies and even in content advertising, which yes, sexualized, eroticized, infinitely more than Anne was in 1940. And with the observation of that it is in these ways that they will seek to resolve their doubts and curiosities, much more easily every day, especially in a context where parents refuse to occupy this space.
We parents have two alternatives. Either we fool ourselves into believing that we can put them in a bubble or we accept reality and work to guide them to deal with the flood of information they have access to, keeping the listening channel open, participating in their maturation and making a reference for the dialogue.
It is necessary to think about how much our children want to meet our expectations, including acting to demonstrate a naivete that, possibly, they no longer have, since no one can escape from nature, hormones and the human condition itself. How do you want to be in this relationship? Truly or participating in the acting, in the pretense? What are we teaching when we choose one of these roles?
What is better than literature to allow contact with themes like this, in a spontaneous way? Let’s remember that a work is different for each person who reads it, and our interpretation says more about who we are than about the author’s intention or about a supposed essence of the text.
Wouldn’t it be better if we broke the silence? Or are we going to continue hiding our young people in the basement?