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The Little Red School Book and feminism

(15 Posts)
StackALee Tue 08-Jul-14 11:12:26

Has anyone heard about this book which was banned as an obscene publication but is now going to be re-published?

I just wondered what people think about the parts about sex and pornography?

In particular the section on pornography states:

'Porn is a harmless pleasure if it isn't taken seriously and believed to be real life. Anyone who mistakes it for reality will be greatly disappointed'

There is also a section on 'Child molesters or Dirty Old men' which says

'In the old days people used to talk about 'dirty old men' Children were told they were dangerous. This is very rarely true, they are just men who have nobody to sleep with. There are often stories in the paper about them; they are often called exhibitionists or child molesters. If it says in the papers that a man 'behaved indecently' it means he opened his trousers and showed someone his prick. If it says he behaved with Gross indecency, it means he masturbated or got the child to touch his prick. He may have touched the child's sexual organs too. Sometimes these incidents are followed by rape (Forced Intercourse), or violence or murder. The latter is very rare and it is usually because the man has got very scared. if you see a man like this, don't panic, go and tell your teachers or your parents about it'

I DO understand that this book was written in a way that was supposed to give very plain facts to children without patronising them or covering stuff up but IF it is being reprinted in the original form then I think it's a bit weird and also they probably do need to change it to show kids that there is actual harm involved in some forms of pornography, particularly now people rarely use pornography in a printed form.

Interestingly the section on 'discrimination against Girls' says

'throughout this book we've generally referred to both students and teachers as if they were all male. This is only to avoid repeating 'he or she' all the time' which makes me wonder why didn't they just use 'she' then. I guess the answer is 'oh because of the patriarchy'?

news report here

radio 4 programme

OP’s posts: |
StackALee Tue 08-Jul-14 11:28:10

just listening to the radio programme and laughing at the following:

'it is not true to say that masturbation for girls is harmless since a girl who has become accustomed to the shallow satisfactions of masturbation may find it very difficult to adjust to complete intercourse. This should be checked but I believe it to be a fact'.

She says now 'I was always ashamed of myself after I had done it' and that she had no basis for saying what she did back then about adjusting to complete intercourse.

OP’s posts: |
cailindana Tue 08-Jul-14 11:43:15

In what context is it being reprinted? As a curiosity? Or as a genuine manual to be used to teach children?

JaneParker Tue 08-Jul-14 11:54:27

I think it is a pretty good attempt in its time to explain things in ways that people did not properly explain. Call a spade a spade.

I am not in favour of banning books even if I disagree with them, indeed even if they argue the holocaust did not happen or women should be inferior to men. Banning things never gets us far.

StackALee Tue 08-Jul-14 13:11:52

I am not a fan of banning either but the BBC news piece I read seemed to say that the only bit they would be changing was something about ways to mess about in school which included 'looking at porn under your desk'.

I wondered if normalising porn and saying it was not harmful was a particularly useful thing to be teaching.

OP’s posts: |
JustTheRightBullets Tue 08-Jul-14 14:03:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JustTheRightBullets Tue 08-Jul-14 14:05:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

7Days Tue 08-Jul-14 14:08:09

poor old rapists & murderers only do it because they are scared? hmm

kids, please don't frighten grown men to that extent.

MontyGlee Tue 08-Jul-14 14:11:41

"Rape or violence ^or murder^" actually and clearly murder's violence too. But I doubt we'd want rape subsumed into vioence and treated just the same as bloody noses and black eyes would we? I think the author just means to separate it out. It's the least of my concerns about this book tbh

MrsCornelius Sun 16-Aug-20 19:18:13

Thank you to the OP for this thread. I know it’s old, but it’s very helpful.

Thelnebriati Sun 16-Aug-20 21:20:08

One of my schoolfriends had parents who were hippies, so it was passed around our school. It was an attempt to discuss subjects that were taboo, and I imagine its probably pretty dated now. I don't remember any kids who bought into the story about dirty old men just being sad and lonely.
It covered other topics such as getting a better education by co-operating with your tutors, and how to complain to the school about a bad tutor - which I successfully used to get the school policy on uniform changed.
You can still buy it second hand online. If its to be reprinted then it would be most useful if it was brought up to date, but the way people tie themselves into knots over language now it would defeat the whole purpose.

thinkingaboutLangCleg Mon 17-Aug-20 08:11:52

The Little Red School Book reflects the time it was written, in 1969, when the ‘sexual revolution’ was at its height. Denmark (the authors were Danish) was one of the most permissive societies in the world. Women’s Liberation had hardly been born.

Men’s new sexual freedom was putting new pressures on women. Rejecting a man’s sexual ‘needs’ was genuinely considered almost immoral, and no one wanted to be labelled ‘frigid’ or ‘uncool’.

So the book is quite tolerant of some male sexual behaviour that we now see as abusive or exploitative.

The authors are teachers, and trying to take a calm tone to avoid making children anxious. This unfortunately risks undermining a child‘s natural, self-protective reaction of anger and disgust.

Good intentions, but its unconscious sexism and underplaying of the risks and potential harms are now outdated.

RoyalCorgi Mon 17-Aug-20 10:07:38

I remember reading this as a teenager in the 70s. Can't remember how I got hold of it, but probably from an older sibling.

Even at the time I thought it was a bit off. I remember thinking that not all teenagers were as obsessed with having sex as the book tried to make out!

The para the OP quotes about dirty old men is absolutely shocking in my view. But it's very much the case that in the 70s people had no idea of the true extent of the sexual abuse of children, or the fact that most sexual abuse was perpetrated by someone known to the child such as a family member or teacher, priest, scout master etc.

SocialMedea Mon 17-Aug-20 10:57:24

Was the book republished as OP said (in 2014) and did it sell well?

And as a pp asked: republished as a novelty/curiosity or meant as a serious handbook for this generation?

ItalianHat Mon 17-Aug-20 15:14:26

My mother bought this for us in the 1970s. It's a wonderful piece of hippie documentary history.

And - like most male hippies - totally sexist.

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