stories are supposed to be problematic. and that's okay.

10 November 2017

via
I don't understand how "problematic" has come to be a bad word, especially in literature. 

Sharing stories is something that is important. Very important. Stories have shaped people since the beginning of time. It's one of the things about us humans that sets us apart and makes us so special. We are able to tell, share, adapt, and interpret stories. And it's amazing!
I love stories that I can relate to, stories about people like me. But I also love stories about people who are different than me so that I can see what the world is like through their perspective. I love reading, hearing, and learning new stories from all sorts of people. There's something about stories that can bridge the gap between race, culture, demographics, and even time to bring us all together, and make us know that we aren't all as different as we may seem.

It saddens me to think that there are books that have had to be banned for being too problematic. And it also upsets me how people have so many double standards. I see it all the time when readers will sing the praises of one book for being important, but shame another for holding opposing views from theirs.

I don't think it's fair to anyone to keeps ourselves away from a certain story or writer because they might think differently.
Literature and fiction should be a safe place for people to experiment and pour out their beliefs and ideas on paper for others to see. That's what it's supposed to do. Stories are supposed to be problematic. They're supposed to challenge us and motivate us and by looking at the way other people think, they can shape the way we think.
I've learned to appreciate the problematic. Even when I don't agree at all with the writer, I can still say I read and listened to what they had to say and I can admire them for it. That is how we grow, not only as readers, but as people in general. And I just love that.

16 comments

  1. I completely agree with you. We definitely should be challenged by the books we read at times and there's nothing wrong with it. Thank for sharing this.<3

    ReplyDelete
  2. I remember going out to volunteer at the library and there was a man who was protesting because the library staff was going to show a movie adaptation of a banned book. What irks me with those who don't want to read bad books is that, like you said, for different views to be expressed and synthesized. Just because an argument differs from what one believes doesn't mean it should be banned; instead, it should give leeway and a way to go and at least understand why the other side is thinking that way. And I feel like with the way things are, this is such an important lesson to highlight. Thank you once again, Hannah, for continuing to write amazing, insightful posts. ^.^

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

    P.S. I'm doing a Blogger Yearbook this year. The deadline is soon-- I've been incognito from the blogging world because the off-line life has been beckoning me and thus unable to promote it as much (thus why this seems kind of last minute and out of place, which I apologize for) but it would be really neat for you to do it. ^.^ The post about it is here and the form is here. Can't wait to hear back from you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely see issues on either side of an argument. I've just been thinking about it a lot.
      And I'll definitely look into your blogger yearbook, it sounds like a cool idea!

      Delete
  3. I agree, we've got to allow ourselves to consider others' viewpoints and listen to their stories. We have nothing to gain by only surrounding ourselves with like viewpoints. And stories are straight up magical! They definitely get our guards down and make us more open to considering different perspectives, and I love that. :) Cool post!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This makes me think of how To Kill A Mockingbird was recently being banned. I'll never understand why people feel the need to ban books. It's absurd.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really like the idea of appreciating the problematic ... being open to other people's opinions and experiences without living on a hair trigger of offense all the time. Nice to hear from you again! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! It's great to hear from you too Olivia!! :)

      Delete
  6. Hmmm, I have to agree and disagree with you on that one. (Hear me out.) Yes, stories telling things from other people's points of view are so important. Yes, we need different opinions and ways of thinking and seeing life from new angles. HOWEVER. Stories/media that treat certain groups of people as 'less than' should not be readily available. We need less media (whatever form that takes) in the world that's homophobic, transphobic, misogynist, racist, etc. Opinions are great unless they impact a person's human rights. Other than that, I totally agree with you. I've learned so much about the world from reading opinions different to mine, and though I don't agree with all of them I've still become a better person for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for being willing to share your opinion, but I still don't agree. Yes, there SHOULD be a lot less hate in the world, but the fact is that there are always going to be evil people out there. There's nothing we can do about it. But instead of simply censoring it and hiding ourselves away from every type of hate, I think we should use it to learn how to think critically. Listen to what they have to say and learn how to argue against what is wrong. We won't accomplish anything from silencing people just because they might be hateful. That will only cause more problems.
      Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts, Victoria! :)

      Delete
    2. You make a very good point about learning from hateful media. I suppose where I'm coming from is that I personally find hateful media extremely exhausting, and while I've learned a lot and how to argue against it, it still has a very negative impact on my mental health so lately I've been trying hard to avoid it instead of taking the opportunity to learn from it. Maybe learning from hateful media is for someone a bit stronger than myself :)

      Delete
    3. I definitely think it should be a more personal thing. Like if you feel like you can't handle putting a bunch of negative things in your mind, then I think it's fine to take a break for a while. I've had to do that many times myself! I just think that complete censorship is not right.
      Thanks for commenting, Victoria!

      Delete
  7. I like the point that problematic is the whole concept of stories... that was a neat way to look at it! Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings, Bri
    www.forget-not-his-benefits.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete