Saturday, April 2, 2011

Living in a PG age

What does PG-13 mean these days, anyway? When my book came out and people asked me how they rated it, I said PG-13 for a little language and sexual innuendo. (OK, maybe a lot of innuendo)  I've spent the last two years immersed in the pre-teen and teen culture, and I now have the opinion I was too hard on my book. Now I would call it PG. My book hasn't changed, but I fear the world has.

One of today's popular songs, one that middle-school kids sing along with, is S&M, with a banned music video so you know everyone watches it, and lyrics that feature a woman moaning and the acknowledgement that "pain is for pleasure."

That's the music industry, I tell myself, and they have often gone over the edge.  Some of the YA books I've read have alos been over the top. I agonized over scenes where some of the kids in my book drank beer and headed off to an obvious sexual rendevous. 

This year I found two books with covers suitable for attracting the juvenile audience and contents that are definitly geared for older teens. One features a cute pair of kissing bunny rabbits on the cover, and a protagonist whose acknowledged goal is to give up the big V as soon as possible, only none of the boys in her small town is worthy. She does find a so-called worthy male before the end and achieves her goal, numerous times.  The other cover shows a cartoon figure of a girl reaching out to touch a lightining bolt. This girl spends a number of pages in her underwear exploring her newfound boyfriend who is similarly disrobed.

I don't object to the themes or content in these books. I've read a number of YA books that feature much more. My issue is the PG (or even G) covers that geared to attract younger readers and lull a parent's suspicions about the content.

Or maybe it's me. Maybe PG isn't what it used to be.

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