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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex in Media: Books, Magazines, Films, TV & More » AIDS and Francesca Lia Block

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Author Topic: AIDS and Francesca Lia Block
Member # 7347

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First of all, I love FLB. If you're not familiar with her, she wrote the Weetzie Bat books, Violet and Claire, I was a Teenage Fairy, Girl Goddess #9, Echo, The Rose and the Beast, and a few erotica books too. Okay, I may be a teeny tiny bit infatuated with her.

My question is if anyone else who has read her work has noticed the prevalance of AIDS in her stories. For those of you who haven't been lucky enough to stumble across her stories, she has a lot of diversity in her books. In Weetzie Bat, the main character, Weetzie slept with her husband (??they never say if they got married), and with her two gay best friends (it says that they "got tested and checked out" first to make sure that they could). The purpose being to get pregnant and have a child they could all parent, and it would be all of their's because they would never know for sure.

In Dragons In Manhatten (short story in Girl Goddess #9), this girl has two mom's, she goes on a cross country search for her father, only to find out that one of her moms was her dad, but had an operation right after her other mom got pregnant.

Really neat stuff not found in most YA books. So, my question is, why doesn't she say 'AIDS' or 'HIV'? She feels comfortable writing about things out of the normal, and she mentions things like that a lot, but never using the name (okay, as I'm looking through the books, I found one where she says it). Always saying things like: "my friend bam-bam is sick. He is really sick. The world is too scary right now. Even hough we're okay, how can anyone love anyone when you could kill them just by loving them?" and "some pictures taken before Clark got so thin and Eddie didn't always wear dark glasses" and "It's so sick. I nicked myself shaving my last night at home, and I saw my own blood and thought: How can I live in a world where this exsists - where love can become death? Even if the doctor says we're okay, how could we go on watching people die?"

So, my question to you is, how is that an author can talk about so many things that are considered taboo in today's society, and she'll talk about the disease, and everyone knows what it is...but she won't name it.

Any thoughts on that?

Posts: 103 | From: Las Vegas, NV | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lady Moonlight
Member # 384

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I have no idea, and unfortunately I couldn't find an address to write to FLB in my brief search. I did find an interview, though:

and another whole page with a lot of stuff here:

She is definitely a fascinating author!

Posts: 943 | From: Missouri, USA | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 8067

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If it's clear from the context, maybe she doesn't feel the need to spell it out. If lots of people in your circle of friends are affected by HIV and AIDS, it can just become part of everyday life in a horrible way. So you just say "When so-and-so got sick ..." or "I went and got tested the other day ..." or whatever, and everyone knows what you're talking about. In fact, you might have to specify if you *didn't* mean HIV/AIDS. So maybe she's reflecting that.
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Member # 5957

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Well, I've read one of the Weetzie Bat books (I didn't know there were several). From that and the excerpts you mention, I think she wants to keep a certain fairy tale style, and mentioning the disease by name would sort of bring her story back firmly into reality. Also, it seems from the excerpts that she wants to talk about AIDS as some nameless monster, a constant threat that is scary and devastating. Naming your fears is the first step to conquering them, and the effect she achieves is more powerful than naming the disease would be.

OK, I am in computer science final exam mode, so I'm not sure any of the above made sense. Did it?

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Member # 7347

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It totally did, and I think ya'll are right. *swoons* I'm so in love with FLB.
Posts: 103 | From: Las Vegas, NV | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 3634

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Last summer I read Weetzie Bat, I was a Teenage Fairy, and Girl Goddess #9, after hearing bunches about it here at Scarleteen. And I loved them. I usually am not into books like that, but I really loved them. They were written beautifully, and after I finished reading them, they made me think.

I now love FLB, and can't wait to read the rest of her books.

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