Dec 4, 2011

To Have a Secret Identity or Not

The formation of this show stemmed from a conversation that I had concerning my own work. I was talking about the work that I have produced over the past two years in connection with Salacious Magazine (NSFW) and, to put it bluntly, the porn that was created while I simultaneously was working on my children's book. Personally I didn't have a conflict about producing work in these two different worlds, I consider myself a sex educator in the community as well as a someone who is sex positive. It was more the fear that my children's book wouldn't be picked up by a publisher if they found that I was a link between these two separate bodies of work. 

Why is it that our culture would draw such a hard line of acceptance between these two separate bodies of work? Should I choose a pseudonym to create my sex positive work under? Is having a pseudonym in tern shaming myself for being a link between these two bodies of work?

Despite my feelings surrounding the work he created for PlayBoy, Shel Silverstein was a lead illustrator for PlayBoy during the 50's and 60's. It wasn't until later in his life that he created numerous books of poetry for children, that to this day are enjoyed by many the world over. When I have mentioned this to people they either didn't know this is how he got his start, or are completely unfazed. 

In contrast, we glance at the work of Judy Blume, despite the fact that this may have become a cliche of an example, I still consider it completely relevant. The 1970's book "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret?" tackles a number of female pre-teen (or by our current standards "tween") events: purchasing your first bra, having your first period, coping with "adhesive sanitary pads", other developing girls, and liking boys. While these seem like completely normal conversations to be having this book was received with a lot of controversy and eventual led to an ongoing battle between Blume and censors, to this day. 

How is it that there was little to no controversy surrounding Silverstein's history with PlayBoy and the children's work that he created? Why was Blume met with so much more controversy? Was it because she was a woman? Is it because she "dared" to breech the wall drawn between developing children and sex ed? 

In writing this brief lecture I came across a quote from Shel Silverstein that I find well suited for todays show: "I think that if you're a creative person, you should just go about your business, do your work and not care about how it's received…I was always prepared for success but that means that I have to be prepared for failure too. I have an ego, I have ideas, I want to be articulate, to communicate but in my own way."

Ultimately, if you pick up your own copy of Salacious Magazine (NSFW) you won't find my twitter handle, @Prince_Money, attached to my illustrations. I decided that these two bodies of work can live separately attached to my name and will hopefully in the future inform each other to create children's books that, similarly to Blume, dare to negotiate the boundaries between children's art and art dealing with sexuality.

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