• Rebecca Strunge Mortensen
  • Ninna Aalbæk Timmermann
4. term, English, Master (Master Programme)
Book challenges and book bans are on a rise in the US, and especially queer young adult literature is targeted for being pornographic. US media outlets are circulating information about challenged books and the pro-banning movement, highlighting sexually explicit content as the culprit for several of the challenges and bans in recent years. This dissertation examines two challenged books, Maia Kobabe’s graphic memoir Gender Queer (2019) and George M. Johnson’s memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue (2020), as well as the media coverage of the two books. Through a critical discourse analysis of the articles from the New York Post, CNN, TIME, and Chicago Tribune it was concluded that there is favoritism of the anti-banning movement in terms of representation, as the discursive tools appropriated in the articles display them as authoritative and believable. However, the media coverage distributes and maintains the harmful stereotype about the queer community being inherently hypersexual, which is presented as the main argument by the pro-banning movement for the initiatives for challenging and banning said books. Therefore, the overall media coverage is damaging the queer community. Both memoirs have incorporated narratological tools that enhance the ambiance of intimacy between narrator and reader, which creates a private sphere that affects the reader, forcing them to consider the narratively conveyed experiences and difficulties of young queer life described by Kobabe and Johnson. Furthermore, both memoirs incorporate visual components that enhance the notion of the books being representational narrative displays of queer life. Therefore, it can be concluded that the intention of both memoirs is not to provocatively display sexual content, but instead to present the reader with a representative and inclusive depiction of alternatives for sex and sexual identity situated outside of the heteronormative imperative. Lastly, a discussion of how the current moral panic stems from Protestant-Puritan convictions that constitute the backbone of American society is conducted. The current escalation of the book banning derives from the far-right organizations, which purport as grassroots movements and is in fact part of a larger tendency of backlashes – all of which seek to restrict information about alternative temporalities and civil rights for minorities.
Publication date28 May 2022
Number of pages97
ID: 471540315