discussion

Let’s Talk Bookish – Topics that Should Not be Represented in Fiction

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where they discuss certain topics, share their opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts.

FEBRUARY 11: TOPICS THAT CAN’T/SHOULDN’T BE REPRESENTED IN FICTION (MIKAELA @ MIKAELA READS)

Prompts: Are there certain topics that can’t or shouldn’t be represented in fiction? If so, why shouldn’t they be? Do you think problematic/controversial issues in society should remain strictly part of the real world, or should they be explored in fiction? Should the ability to write about problematic or controversial topics be limited to certain people?

Welcome to another week of LTB here at DTRH! Today’s topic is actually quite similar to last week’s, but perhaps looking at it from a different perspective. If what I say today sounds familiar, now you know why. Can’t wait to hear what all of you think about it too!

I think I will just start with my overall thoughts, which really reiterates what I said last week on LTB. I think in general there aren’t any hard and fast rules against topics or relationships, etc. in general. When we start glorifying things and inadvertently teaching it to the next generation, then it really gets more contentious. But as a general rule I’d say most things shouldn’t be banned—freedom of expression is at play here I think.

I think the prompt really hits the heart of the issue. It’s the representation…in fiction. I’d much rather people explore controversial topics in a fiction rather than in real life. I’m especially thinking of the dystopian fictions with this train of thought. Something like Orwell’s 1984 really has some controversial things happening, but yet is great social commentary and of course, a classic.

There is some danger in who is exploring these topics. I’m not sure if it’s the contentious/problematic topics that are really at stake. I think it might actually be the sensitive topics (e.g. racial discrimination) that really have a huge impact these days in how it’s portrayed. I don’t think it needs to be limited to certain people, but I certainly hope people do their research before writing about such topics.

Thinking practically, I don’t think I have ever run across a topic that I felt like shouldn’t have been touched in a fiction. However, I have definitely thought many a time that some topics were not dealt with properly in the book, and I know many share this same sentiment. So overall I think most topics (until proven wrong) are okay, but just make sure the research is done and hopefully it’ll be okay.

What do you all think? Have you come across topics that you felt like should have just been left out/never approached? I’d like to hear what they are!


5 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – Topics that Should Not be Represented in Fiction”

  1. With the rise of book censorship movements, I think it’s really important that all matters and manners of representation are encouraged. With discussions of “correct” representation, a lot of online communities become gatekeepers that want to dictate how much (or how little) representation a certain author should give to a group. My stance is that we should trust readers to think critically for themselves – even if I disagree strongly with an author’s treatment of a subject, I believe they are still entitled to a voice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is actually so true and such great insight! The inherent censorship itself can also shift people’s perspectives. A part of the freedom is to have the information of all the perspectives and choose which one you align with best. Having the media be filtered to exclude certain views is exactly how was can “brainwash” people into thinking certain things don’t exist. I agree that there has to be a level of trust with readers to think critically—we can’t just control everything they see and do. After all who even knows for sure what is “absolutely right” or “absolutely wrong”?

      Liked by 1 person

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