Quantcast
January 19th, 2011 / 2:07 am
Random

The expurgation of the clitoris in the diary of Anne Frank

While we’re on the topic of the modification of Huck Finn, here’s something interesting posted on the Give a Fig (Les Figues Press) blog:

The effacement of the clitoris extends even to Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. When the unabridged edition of the diaries were released in 1995, the 50th anniversary of her death, they included the previously deleted passages that contained some of Anne’s negative remarks about her housemates and parents as well as a lengthy entry from March 24, 1944 in which she describes her vulva, clitoris, and vagina from the perspective of her own fifteen year old gaze:

“…Until I was eleven or twelve, I didn’t realize there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn’t see them. What’s even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris…When you’re standing up, all you see from the front is hair. Between your legs there are two soft, cushiony things, also covered with hair, which press together when you’re standing, so you can’t see what’s inside. They separate when you sit down and they’re very red and quite fleshy on the inside. In the upper part, between the outer labia, there’s a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That’s the clitoris…”


In November 2009, the unabridged version was pulled from the library shelves and classroom bookcases at Culpepper Middle School in Culpepper, Virginia after a parent complained that the diary contained explicit sexual content inappropriate for an eighth grade readership. “While these pages could be the basis of a relevant discussion,” remarked school superintendent Bobbi Johnson, “they do not reflect the purpose of studying the book at the middle-school level and could foster a discussion in a classroom that many would find inappropriate.”

When I learned of the censorship of Frank’s journals, I decided to resume the Feminaissance project I had started so many months ago. It seemed that now, as ever, we still need Feminaissance(s), the tiny revolts—to engage with and practice feminist (however one chooses to define it) ways of reading, thinking, seeing, and moving through the world. It was in this spirit that I asked writers Allison Carter, Evelyn Hampton, Claire Donato, Amy King, and Tisa Bryant to contribute their own response. I wanted the conversation to continue and to continue in the writing itself.

Follow the Feminaissance Blog Project.

    Tags: , ,