In 2013, a school in Michigan wanted to ban the ubiquitous text, “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank from the syllabus claiming it was too inappropriate.
Was it the whole persecution of Jewish peoples? Violent Nazism? The Holocaust? Not quite. The definitive version of the book which is lengthier and more detailed than the 1947 version published by her father Otto, contains a passage where Anne writes about discovering her clitoris. This is a common procedure for pubescent teenagers, Anne was just more well, frank about it. Though perhaps she thought these musings would have been kept private. The passage is below:
“Until I was 11 or 12, I didn’t realise 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,” wrote Frank. “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.”
The Guardian reported in 2013 about the uproar of parents at a school in the Northville District of Michigan who demanded to have the book removed from the classrooms of seventh graders.
One mother said:
“It’s pretty graphic, and it’s pretty pornographic for seventh-grade boys and girls to be reading,” she said. “It’s inappropriate for a teacher to be giving this material out to the kids when it’s really the parent’s’ job to give the students this information.”
Despite these protestations, Frank’s american publisher Bantam books as well as a host of organisations fought to keep the book as it was intended.
“A good education depends on protecting the right to read, inquire, question and think for ourselves.”
We can’t help but agree, her insight was beyond her years and entirely inspiring. Honesty is and was her power.
Long story short, the mother failed to censor Anne. More importantly by now the class in question is older and we’re pretty sure most of those students have figured out their parts by now, whether the stodgy parents wanted them to or not.