The mother of a seventh-grade student at a school in suburban Detroit has launched a crusade to get Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl” barred from her daughter’s classroom.
Fox News Detroit reports that Gail Horalek of Northville is upset over Frank’s references to her own genitalia in the first-person narrative, which provides a chilling account of the Holocaust and of a Jewish family in hiding during World War II.
Horalek claims that the passage made her daughter uncomfortable and that the school should have sought parental permission before assigning the book. “It’s pretty graphic, and it’s pretty pornographic for seventh-grade boys and girls to be reading,’ she told reporters. “It’s inappropriate for a teacher to be giving this material out to the kids when it’s really the parents’ job to give the students this information.”
Readers are invited to judge for themselves. Here is an excerpt from the passage of the book that has Horalek upset:
Until I was eleven or twelve, I didn’t realize there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn’t see them. What’s even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris… When you’re standing up, all you see from the front is hair. Between your legs there are two soft, cushiony things, also covered with hair, which press together when you’re standing, so you can’t see what’s inside. They separate when you sit down and they’re very red and quite fleshy on the inside. In the upper part, between the outer labia, there’s a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That’s the clitoris….
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!
Horalek is not militating against teaching the autobiography in any form — just the unabridged version. Nor, as Mail Online notes, is she the first to voice a complaint:
The American Library Association has received half a dozen challenges against the book in the last two decades and Culpepper [sic] County Public Schools in Virginia stopped assigning the unabridged version three years ago after a parent complained.
Coming a day after the Federal Drug Administration approved Plan B, an emergency contraceptive, to be available over-the-counter to “women” as young as age 15, the complaint seems quaint. The again, we are living in strange times.
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