CNN reports that a graphic novel with gay and lesbian themes, which was featured on Duke University’s reading list for incoming college freshmen, has generated a lot of pushback among Christian students, who deem the book “pornographic.”
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel tells the semi-autobiographical story of a girl who comes out of the closet and soon learns that her father was gay. The book was one of several books Duke University selected “to give incoming students a shared intellectual experience with other members of their class.”
Bechdel, herself a lesbian and prolific author and graphic novelist, made waves in the fiction movement after publishing a comic detailing two women talking about only watch movies where:
The movie has to have at least two women in it,
who talk to each other,
about something besides a man.
The phenomenon has lead to questions about gender representation in fiction throughout time. A website has been dedicated to wether or not a movie passes the test, and lead to many famous and/or award winning works failing, questioning their ability to represent or portray women in a healthy way.
“The nature of Fun Home means that content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic nature,” wrote student Jeffrey Wubbenhort to The Duke Chronicle.
“I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it,” Freshman Brian Grasso posted to Facebook. “Duke did not seem to have people like me in mind. It was like Duke didn’t know we existed, which surprises me.”
The students are most concerned about images of acts in the book that some might find objectionable.
Ibanca Anand, a student member of the selection committee, told The Chronicle, “It has the potential to start many arguments and conversations, which, in my opinion, is an integral component of a liberal arts education.”