Let’s talk about book banning.
It’s been a hot topic recently, what with widely-publicized conservative attempts to remove books from schools. The book community and everyone else reacts to each new incident of overprotective parenting or puritanical censorship with outrage.
But what I find interesting is the complete silence from those same people on the much more pernicious form of censorship that seems to have been accepted by the mainstream.
About the Book
Title: Irreversible Damage: the Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters
Author: Abigail Shrier
Genre: nonfiction, psychology, sociology
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads) (truncated):
“Irreversible Damage is an exploration of a mystery: Why, in the last decade, has the diagnosis “gender dysphoria,” transformed from a vanishingly rare affliction, applying almost exclusively to boys and men, to an epidemic among teenage girls?
Author Abigail Shrier presents shocking statistics and stories from real families to show that America and the West have become fertile ground for a “transgender craze” that has nothing to do with real gender dysphoria and everything to do with our cultural frailty. Teenage girls are taking courses of testosterone and disfiguring their bodies. Parents are undermined; experts are over-relied upon; dissenters in science and medicine are intimidated; free speech truckles under renewed attack; socialized medicine bears hidden consequences; and an intersectional era has arisen in which the desire to escape a dominant identity encourages individuals to take cover in victim groups.
Every person who has ever had a skeptical thought about the sudden rush toward a non-binary future but been afraid to express it—this book is for you”
In the years since it was published, Shrier’s book has been the subject of calls for Amazon to stop selling it, for Spotify to take down her interview with Joe Rogan, and at one point was *removed from shelves* by Target– all to prevent people from hearing her “harmful” message.
The American Bookseller’s Association issued a public apology for including the book in its promotional mailing to bookstores around the country, even calling its inclusion “a serious, violent incident.” Including a book in a promotional mailing is now akin to violence apparently.
An ACLU lawyer tweeted about the book, “stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas is 100% a hill I will die on”– a joke, he clarified after the backlash. Keep in mind this is an ACLU LAWYER.
This is censorship. This is what modern-day book burning looks like.
I don’t care what’s in the book, if people are going to these lengths to stop its circulation that is something we should all be wary of. Yet no one talks about it. Is it going to appear on ALA’s banned books list in October? Is the “freedom to read” ever going to be championed on Twitter with regard to this book? I sincerely doubt it.
Keep in mind that every censor has some justification for why a book should not be made available. The ideas within it are “harmful” or “dangerous” or “violent.” Unlike those benign books that conservative parents try to remove from schools, this book actually should be banned, they seem to imply. What they don’t realize is that they are opening the door for censorship of any kind.
Sure, dispute this book. Offer rebuttals, cite studies, spread the word if you think it’s misleading. But to attempt to limit the dissemination of information because you don’t like what it says is censorship of the boldest kind.
The reason that this book has garnered such a huge amount of outrage is that it has been accused of transphobia. Now that I’ve read it I can say it’s really not transphobic at all. The focus of the book is explicitly *not* on trans people or the right of trans people to transition. It’s about whether or not every single teenager turning up at a gender clinic would actually benefit from transitioning. Shrier uses mostly anecdotal evidence, but she makes a compelling case and the writing is also very skillful.
I would highly recommend Irreversible Damage especially considering the aggressive campaign to discredit and censor it.
Concluding this review by recommending you read this speech Abigail Shrier gave at Princeton.
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(Sorry for disappearing from this blog for so long. I was a bit distracted, namely because the Book Twitter SJW mob finally came after me– my Twitter account is now private since I got tired of having people quote tweet me with racial slurs and commands to “log off and never come back.” You all should still follow me though, because I am not going to shut up, actually!)