Nobody ever tells you that there is more than one way to have sex. Growing up, we learn about sex from a variety of resources. My experience began with my cousin literally trapping me in a closet and making me listen to her explicitly state what part of a man goes in where in a woman while I covered my ears and pretended I didn’t believe or understand what she was saying. Then my parents gave me a book when I was around ten years old, explaining that when a man and a woman love each other very much, and are ready to have a baby, there is something nice they could do. Middle school health classes were my next educators on the subject.
Alison Bechdel’s memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic has been on my radar a lot lately. I first learned of it after watching the Tonys over the summer, and it was subsequently on my list of Broadway plays to see (and books to read). So when I arrived at school this fall, I was excited to see that Fun Home is actually on the booklist of one of the English classes I am taking this semester. The 2006 book is a graphic novel about Bechdel’s childhood with her controlling father, and her gradual realization that she is gay — and so is he. But Fun Home has been in the headlines this past week not because the publicity around the Broadway rendition is making people like me discover the brilliant memoir, but because some Duke freshmen are boycotting reading Fun Home for the school’s freshman summer reading project (and, I’m assuming, passing up the opportunity to see the author speak about the book at their school) on the grounds that it violates their morality.