Reverse Psychology in Literature

There will always be taboos in society and culture, even in literature. And because there will always be taboos, people will always try to challenge them. Sometimes I wonder if taboos aren’t created just so there can be radicals to toe that line.

What is considered taboo today, I have no idea, but I’m sure writers do whatever they can to push that. I think it’s healthy. Signifies growth. Keeps us from becoming stagnant in our ideas. We might never have had a Renaissance otherwise.

So perhaps that is why the tastemakers matter. So there will always be someone to thumb their noses at them. Turn standards on their heads and do the complete opposite of what is accepted in order to keep humans evolving mentally.

Although I feel sometimes that we are de-evolving by allowing the tastemakers to censor literature and whatnot in the name of safety. Protection. Censorship is a slippery slope. Once you start saying no, there’s the question of where to draw that line. And who gets to decide that? I think each person should define their own boundaries, or the boundaries of their children. Also, perhaps, public areas where parents relinquish their control over their child temporarily.

That’s not to say I don’t have my own personal boundaries, or things I consider taboo in my own writing. There are certain lines I won’t cross.

Although I won’t say never. I have to continue to challenging myself, as well, so maybe sometimes I need to write what makes me uncomfortable. I wrote a novel where one of the main characters was a serial killer. I never thought I’d write gratuitous sex and violence, but the story took me there, and I am a better writer for it.

So I think my final answer is that of course there are taboos, but that’s a good thing, the tastemakers matter because in their restriction they cause us to flourish, and that books should never be banned, only monitored around those not old enough to set their own boundaries who are away from their parental units.

Is that all just semantics? Am I actually pro censorship? Do the reasons you support an issue matter in the end?

Sara is a Kansas-grown author of the fantasy and horror persuasions. She is convinced that fantastical things are waiting for her just around the corner, and until she finds the right corner, she writes about those things instead.

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