Welcome back to:
Rants & Rambles is a weekly feature where I share my own personal thoughts and opinions about both bookish and blogging related topics. As stated, these are MY OWN opinions and while you can choose to disagree with it, I hope that you at least respect it.
This week on Rants & Rambles I want to discuss:
Today, instead of doing a discussion posts in the typical manner where I ask a question and then provide somewhat of an answer, I’m going to play devil’s advocate because quite frankly, I don’t know the answer to my own question.
Let’s start from the beginning with how this question even popped into my head. I was on Goodreads on Thursday, scrolling down my feed and reading the drama surrounding Empire of Storms (this was me being petty) when I saw that someone pointed out the “Mature Content for Mature Readers” disclaimer on Empire of Storms. Some readers felt that this meant that EoS would contain explicit sex scenes, like those found in ACOMAF, and they were not too happy to hear this. Some of them stated that the explicit sex scenes in ACOMAF made them uncomfortable and it was a turn-off for them. So the disclaimer should be considered a good thing, right? There are no surprises as readers are advised beforehand that there are going to be explicit scenes in the upcoming installment of the Throne of Glass series.
But here’s my question, what I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around…
WHO ARE MATURE READERS?
At what age are readers considered to be mature? Does life experience play a role when considering if someone is mature? Who gets to decide whether or not a person is mature enough to handle the content they are reading: the parent or the reader themselves? How does a reader EVEN KNOW IF they themselves are mature enough to handle the content they are reading?
Growing up, my mother didn’t pay much attention to the books I read. She never read the synopsis, never checked which section of the library I got the book from, so she wasn’t aware that I was reading adult urban fiction at the age of twelve and we all know those books can contain highly explicit content. But I felt I was mature enough to handle the content in these books and so I kept reading them, until, one of my teachers saw me reading these books and took them away saying that I was “not mature enough” to handle the content in these types of books. But how did she really know? She never asked me? If she had asked me to explain in my own words what was happening in the book, I probably would’ve been able to, but she never did, so how did she know for sure?
So this brings me back to my question and the topic for this discussion: are disclaimer even necessary if we can’t TRULY define “who” these mature readers are? Some say yes, as young readers should be aware that the book they are considering contains heavy subject matter, which they may not be able to handle. But others disagree and say no, that young readers are capable of handling these darker-themed narratives and don’t need a warning sign.
Personally for me, when it comes to disclaimers in books, it has always been a case-by-case basis. There are rare occasions where I do like to know beforehand if a book contains graphic scenes of abuse of any kind so I can mentally prepare myself for it. Then there are times where I don’t need a disclaimer. Also, just because a book has a disclaimer, doesn’t mean I won’t read it. There are a lot of other factors that play a role in whether or not I decide to read a book and disclaimers are not always a key factor for me.
My thoughts are kind of all over the place for this discussion, but like I said before, I’m not too sure where I stand on this topic.
So I want to know how do you all feel about disclaimers and what do you believe defines a reader as “mature”? At what age is a reader “mature enough” to handle these heavier contents? At what age did YOU feel mature enough to read books dealing with heavier themes? I really don’t like ending a discussion with so much questions, but I’m curious to hear everyone’s thoughts.
That is all for this week’s Rants & Rambles. I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts!
How do you feel about disclaimers and do you think they are necessary?
Let me know in the comments!