Youth Advisory Ratings

How would you feel if a stranger broke into your house and put labels on all of your child's books and toys? Annoyed? Angry? Violated? All of the above?

Hold that thought because that's exactly what the wingnuts out there want to do with library books! As if banning books isn't enough, these self-appointed morality police are now printing rating labels for people to buy and slap onto books. Books that don't belong to them. Obviously, there is so much wrong with this!

First of all, the egotism is astounding! They think that just because they believe something that everyone in the world should believe it, too. Isn't it an unassailable fact that young people shouldn't be "exposed" to queer characters? After all, there's zero possibility that kids have mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, and family friends that are part of the LGBTQ+ community...Inconceivable! Let's all go buy sticker labels to confirm that those people don't exist. The fact is:

Rating labels further the disgusting beliefs of racists, homophobes, and bigots.


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The idiotic thing of it is, what they're doing is not only completely self-serving but also totally pointless. Not only are there already plenty of book review sites where parents can determine if a book's plot is right for their child, but there are actually sites that specifically advice parents on book and movie content so parents can make their own decisions. The difference is, no one has to see the opinion of those websites stamped on a book's cover. That said, most kids books already have age ranges. They're usually right there on the corner of the back cover! None of that matters, though, because for the people behind book labels, it's all about control.

These wannabe librarians assume they know the criteria you use to judge what's appropriate for you and your kids. And sure, there could be some overlap, but it's the differences that matter. And there are plenty of them in such a diverse place as the United States. Say one of these control freaks wanted their kids to only read books that were "biblically true"? Seems like they'd have to propose putting a "Restricted" sticker on any books that had characters who were, for example, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since there are no Mormons in the bible. Parents have all sorts of restrictions and sensibilities about what their kids get into, that's normal and expected. What's not normal is shoving those rightfully personal choices onto everyone else. It's as un-American as following people into the voting booth!

There can't be a one-size-fits-all rating system for books. It's ignorant to think that any rating system can fit everyone's ideology.


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And let's not even get into the ludicrous inconsistencies in the rating systems behind book labels. It's the type of hot mess you get when you attempt to cram complicated concepts into seemingly clear-cut numerical ratings. Here are some of these problems:

  • How do you decide the difference between "mild" and "moderate" profanity beyond some arbitrary number of "bad" words; pray tell, at what number of naughty terms do we need to hide the kids? 
  • What is "controversial" religious commentary? And an equally pertinent question: Controversial to who? 
  • Or how about the difference between moderate and excessive "hate"? How is hate defined anyway? Hate what? Hate who? Does it count how the system casually hates "alternate gender ideologies"?

Another no brainer is that age is a highly-imperfect determining factor for reading material. Children have different dispositions and life experiences. What's scary and off-putting for one may be a foundational point of growth for another. A biased and vaguely defined rating system for book labels only makes it more confusing for parents to find the right book for their child. But the tyrants behind book labels don't care about that. Every child must be exactly the same for them.

Book labels are about robotically limiting what children read. They are an insult to a parent rights!

The most ironic aspect of this whole book label idea is that proponents of book labels actually believe that they are doing it to "protect the children." Whose children? Your children? How tone-deaf is it in our multicultural society to decide that imposing their own beliefs on everyone else's reading material is "protecting" them? More clearly put: Librarians have not asked for book labels, children have not asked for book labels, and the majority of parents have not requested them. None of us need them and none of us want them! 

Book labels are yet another way hate groups are attacking our children's freedom to read!