Monday, January 11, 2010

What is with the sexy demons?

I've been venturing into the YA (young adult fiction) blogosphere lately, and am more than a little disturbed by what I'm finding there.  I don't hang out in bookstores. I have no teenagers in my life at the moment.  Well, I have a nephew but he's reading The Lord of the Rings, not Twilight.  So, I'm just realizing what is out there for young people.

As a Christian, naturally I find this current obsession with occult beings like vampires, incubi, succubi, fallen angels, and so on distasteful, but not surprising. The dark side of of the spiritual world has always fascinated humanity, and secular culture will always try to twist or counter God's truth.

What I do find surprising is the prominence of such hugely sexual themes in books targeted at very young women.  What are these publishers thinking???  As a parent and teacher, I'm appalled.  It was enough for me to keep my thoughts pure when Cary Elwes said "As you wish" to Robin Wright in The Princess Bride, or when Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert tempted Rebecca in Ivanhoe.  Not only would I have been forbidden to read a lot of the stuff that's being published now, I would have been ashamed to even consider it.  It would not have appealed to me, and I would blush to think of anyone else reading it.

Another surprising fact is that many of the authors of these works claim to be Christians. I'm really scratching my head over that one.

So I'm wondering, what do YOU think about these trends, especially if you write YA?  Why do you think this stuff is so popular?  What do you think is a good way to provide alternative entertainment for young people, especially girls?  Or is it not a problem for you?

Am I the only one who thinks that modesty and purity are still virtues to be cultivated in the young?

Let's talk.


Michelle Gregory said...

this makes me think of our chat about what publishers will buy. are they buying certain stories because they've decided to steer readers that way, or because readers are already watching those kinds of stories on tv or in movies? i don't know. how much influence do publishers have on what readers buy? if they offered them more wholesome stories would readers buy them? or maybe it's all because society is just tumbling down a dark hole and the stories we read reflect that.

Bane of Anubis said...

From this atheist's POV, I definitely think purity/modesty/etc. should be cultivated. Unfortunately, sex sells and when an industry's struggling it'll succumb to the lowest common denominator. Violence for boys/salacious romance for girls. I think you can remove the 'salacious' part for girls and still be fine, but boys are doomed (not surprisingly :)

Christine H said...

Bane, I just told my seven-year-old that he isn't allowed to watch "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" anymore because it is getting way too violent. I'm really ticked at Lucas for targeting his age group with all the merchandise, and then making the show so graphic with torture lately. But ds has been surprisingly agreeable, despite his disapointment.

And interestingly, he's been a lot less playfully violent in the past couple of weeks. Oh, and he's not allowed to watch the online episodes either, which could be a convenient loophole.

Christine H said...

What I'm trying to say is, you can have romance without sex, and you can have action without graphic violence. Star Wars started out that way.

Honestly, much of what I see for young people doesn't even appeal to me as an adult. And I've been pretty conditioned by my husband's love of war movies. What bothers me more is stuff based on things that have really happened. Fantasy violence doesn't bother me that much.

So, how did I end up writing a book with a fair number of action sequences and some gore (albeit fantasy gore)?

I have no idea. 'Tis a far cry from Jane Austen, that's for sure.

Kristal Shaff said...

Actually, Twilight promotes waiting until you're married for sex. And I don't see Edward's character as a demon. He fights his sinful nature, which is something that we can all relate with. And in the series they don't have sex until they are married (in the 4th book) and even then, she doesn't show it, she implies what happened.

Vampire are fantasy creatures, not demons. Like sticking a dragon in your story. Fallen angels are another story. Their popularity annoys me too.

Christine H said...

I wasn't talking specifically about Twilight, Kristal. I agree that it's about waiting. But novels that are actually about incubi are really weird, IMO.

And the first pages of the book Hush Hush, which is about a nephil, make it clear that the MC uses sex to keep her boyfriend interested in her.