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to think that DD1 should be allowed to read whatever book she likes while on her break at work?

(230 Posts)
wongadotmom Wed 19-Feb-14 19:47:58

DD1 (21) has just told me she was asked into the office at work today as a complaint had been made against her.

She initially assumed that it had been to do with her work but learned that two women had actually complained that they were offended by the book she had been seen reading while on her lunch break.

The book was 'Porno' by Irvine Welsh - I have not read the book myself therefore cannot judge whether it is offensive or not.

DD said that she was really into the book at the moment and offered to put a cover over the book so that no one could see what she was reading.

She was told no and must show more sensitivity to the womens' religion and must not bring the book into work again.

She is a little shaken up by this incident as nothing like this has ever happened to anyone else and people actually read The Sun and The Mail during their breaks with no problem.

I have told her that she should be allowed to read whatever she wants on her unpaid break but AIBU?

CromeYellow Wed 19-Feb-14 20:10:09

The only thing she's being unresonable about is being 'horrified' that she 'offended' them. She's the one who should be offended. They have no right to be offended, the world doesn't revolve around their religious beliefs. If they don't want to see anything that 'offends' their religious sensibilities, there are plenty of countries which ban everything in the name of religion, they're free to choose one.

Your daughter should make a complaint about being expected to restrict her behaviour according to another's religion. That's religious harassment.

TrueToYou Wed 19-Feb-14 20:19:52

What a load of bollocks.
This would make me SO angry and possibly a little petty and mischievous
Perhaps the manager felt cornered by the religion card and felt he/she needed to be seen to be acting? Though the rejection of her reasonable suggestion to cover the book means perhaps he/she is on the side of the complainants?

Love the idea of the recommendations for reading material further upthread (but would stop short at paying money for those rags, I'm sure you can find a nice neighbour or colleague who "reads" that shite)

As Stephen Fry said:
“It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what."

BeetlebumShesAGun Wed 19-Feb-14 20:23:51

I'm with CromaYellow. If religious people are going to campaign and complain against everything that offends them they might as well stay at home with the curtains drawn and the television off in case they see something that offends them.

Everyone has a right to believe what they like, but not to inflict it upon others/punish others for not following their rules. Your daughter doesn't need to be horrified that she offended them unless she forced them to read the book.

NearTheWindmill Wed 19-Feb-14 20:26:22

I used to work very close to a mosque. It used to offend me on Fridays that three men would walk three abreast on the pavement and force me to detour into the road. I ne ver commented; I don't think they did it because they are muslim; rather that they are ignorant jerks. It irks that they hide their ignorance and misogyny behind their religion. A true follower of Islam woulkd not, I believe, be so rude or so pig ignorant.

badbride Wed 19-Feb-14 20:29:33

She substitute her book for a copy of "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. But that would be naughty grin

GiraffesAndButterflies Wed 19-Feb-14 20:29:34

Tbf, if you don't know the book, it would be easy to misinterpret it as actual porn. I'm assuming your DD's colleagues didn't ask to check to see whether there were pictures.

While it's not offensive material, it's going to be hard work for your daughter to convince her boss and colleagues of that and would probably create a lot of bad feeling. Better to give in gracefully and get a Kindle IMO.

badbride Wed 19-Feb-14 20:30:02

Sorry, meant "she could..."

CoffeeTea103 Wed 19-Feb-14 20:34:22

Yabu, seeing the words porno and daily mail have very different reactions. It is inappropriate.

wongadotmom Wed 19-Feb-14 20:36:47

Thank you for all your understanding!

DD1 has never been a big reader but since DD2 (a bookworm) lent her a copy of 'Trainspotting' a few months ago she has really got into reading novels and I am happy about that.

I am afraid that this incident may knock her confidence and she will just go back to browsing through shit on Facebook, etc during her spare time.

louwn Wed 19-Feb-14 20:37:26

wow they'd hate me, am reading a book titled 'god is not great' at the moment : ) . Really can't abide the 'offended' card.

hellooctober01 Wed 19-Feb-14 20:42:25

My college was big on 'diversity' which basically meant nobody could do anything ever because it offended SOMEONE unless you could say it was religious/cultural, and I love books like American Psycho, Porno etc. and got told I wasn't allowed to read Trainspotting on campus because it offended some pupils, so I just took a dust jacket off of a really vanilla, classic book and carried it around like that. They must have thought I was the slowest reader ever, carrying the same book around for two years grin
I totally respect everyone else's beliefs, but I'm not asking them to read the book too or shouting paragraphs from the rooftops and I'm sure your DD wasn't either!
It offends ME to be told what I can and can't read. There are so many different religions and cultures and beliefs and it's impossible to please every last one.

BranchingOut Wed 19-Feb-14 20:50:23

Hmm, while I do agree that in principle everyone's choice of reading material is exactly that, there are some titles that I think it might be advisable to be circumspect about reading in a public place.

Off the top of my head I can think of:

The satanic verses
Mein Kampf
Anything with a sexualised image on the cover, and I think that Porno fits into that category.

My husband got a bit nervous when i read Speer's 'Inside the third Reich' on holiday, for fear of offending any passing Germans...This was some years ago and I think that I would probably put a cover on it now.

NewtRipley Wed 19-Feb-14 20:52:17

Are there religion and offended cards? Where can I buy one?

BettyBotter Wed 19-Feb-14 20:52:24

I can see both sides of this. The book isn't actually porn and an employer should have no right to police their employee's choice of reading material.

But , if I was in a workplace and saw a colleague openly reading something called for example Big Busty Sluts or How we Know the Holocaust Never Happened, I would be pretty offended and might well make a complaint. Even if the reader told me the title was ironic or not an indication of the contents I might still feel uncomfortable if less so.

I suggest she talks directly to the complainers and explain that the book is not actually a porn mag and apologise if she inadvertantly offended them.

Then get a Kindle.

NewtRipley Wed 19-Feb-14 20:52:47



LizzieVereker Wed 19-Feb-14 20:55:08

Goodness me, I've heard it all now. If as you say, people in the same workplace are reading The Sun, then surely this complaint is ridiculous. I can understand someone misconstruing the title, but honestly!

Perhaps your daughter's employer would be happier if she burnt all her books, just in case.

helloctober, just out of curiosity - why/ who would find Trainspotting offensive. I mean I know it's not a pretty story, but I don't get that?

anothernumberone Wed 19-Feb-14 20:59:04

I was also thinking of the blow up doll on the cover with her blow job posing mouth. The content is less offensive but the cover is not great. I think I would be reading something else in the workplace and save Irving Welsh for the bus on the way home.

wongadotmom Wed 19-Feb-14 21:00:00

This thread seems to have turned into a recommended reading list for DD1 - or rather what not to read in public!

I haven't read ANY of the books mentioned!


Caitlin17 Wed 19-Feb-14 21:00:24

I find Irvine Welsh unreadable but that's just me. If the 2 complainers are British born or have spent any time here then they and the manager are breathtakingly ignorant.

Welsh is one of the most successful and influential writers in the UK in the last 20 years. Trainspotting was a set text book in my son's 5th year (Scottish ages 16/17)

JeanSeberg Wed 19-Feb-14 21:02:27

The most pathetic thing about this is that the women didn't even have the manners to speak to your daughter directly.

Can't stand people who grass each other up at work over irrelevent shite. What did they want the outcome to be exactly?

JeanSeberg Wed 19-Feb-14 21:02:38


LizzieVereker Wed 19-Feb-14 21:03:34

I suppose the blow up doll cover is a bit much... (sulks). I personally find 90% of Daily Mail and Sun front pages far more offensive. But that's the thing I suppose, offence taken is personal. (sulks a bit more)

But imagine if she was publicly reading a book about child abduction, juvenile prostitution, graphic domestic violence and opium abuse. Like "Oliver Twist" for example.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Wed 19-Feb-14 21:03:39

But it's mainstream literature.shock

Holocaust denial or KKK manuals would not be in the same category.

Has it truly come to this?

BettyBotter Wed 19-Feb-14 21:19:19

But Zero , those complainers and the employer can be forgiven for not knowing that it's mainstream literature. We can't expect everyone to have a mental list of what are seminal texts and what aren't.

Presumably they judged a book by its cover, literally. And this cover, this title, I think you can understand their affront.

theborrower Wed 19-Feb-14 21:28:35

YANBU. It's not like she was reading it aloud, or had the audio book blaring out.

If you censor what people are reading on the basis that others are offended by it (offended, how exactly??) where do you stop? It's ridiculous. I'd only be concerned if it was an actual porno mag, because that's not appropriate in the work place and people would see the photos. You can't read the words in someone else's book, if you see what I mean.

By the way, I wouldn't be offended by anyone reading Mein Kampf, isn't it a recommended text if you're doing History at school? I remember my friends reading it at high school for this reason.

And by the by, Irvine Welsh is a respected author, and Porno is a good book. I can only think they had no idea what she was reading.

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