How Does Censorship Affect You?

Question:

Hello,  I  am creating an honours project for Estella Mountain Community College. The purpose of my honours project is to see if there is a correlation on “The Effect of Gender on Censoring Authors”. I have a couple of questions I would like to ask you. I know you are busy with writing books and have speaking engagements, so I will be brief.

Phyllis replied:

I’m going to post your questions and my answers together below:

1. Have you seen a drop or an increase in censorship since you have been writing?

For me personally, there has been a drop, mainly because the books that caused the most uproar,  Shiloh and the Alice books in which she was in her early teens, were new to the public.  As Shiloh became well known in libraries and classrooms, censorship dropped off quite a bit, though I still get letters occasionally about the two “swear” words. Parents and teachers of older students rarely protest the content.

2. Do you believe that gender plays a role in censorship, either by the author or by the censurer?

I’m only guessing, but I would assume that more protests come from women than from men.  The majority of teachers in elementary and middle school are probably female–same for librarians–and as for parents, I’m trying to remember how many critical letters I’ve received from a dad.  Only one, possibly two.  All or most of the others have come from mothers, angry that I have written about sex before they had “the talk” with their daughters, or insisting that their daughters don’t have sexual thoughts.  Dads, on the other hand, commend me for broaching the subject with their children.

3. Do you believe that your gender has saved you or hurt you while publishing?

Neither.  I don’t think that either my editor or my readers treat me any differently than their male authors.  I’m allowed the same freedom in my writing, and readers let me know when they disagree with something.

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