Attack of the Qarens: Banning Books in America

Written by | The Lens

“What do we want?”


“When do we want it?”


Such is the clarion call of the Qarens. Have you met this lunatic? The original Karen was prone to calling the cops whenever someone with a splash of melanin came within 500 feet of her.

But now, Karen has mutated into a conspiracy theory spouting right-wingut infected with QAnon garbage until it overflows from her Chardonnay-addled brain.

Voila, it’s Qaren!

You can observe Qaren in her natural habitat by attending a gathering virtually anywhere in the good ol’ US of A. Let’s have a listen, shall we?

“Pornography is offensive to all people. It is offensive to common decency!”

Ah, the dulcet tones of Stacy Langton, the banshee who terrorized a recent Virginia school board meeting. Her target: Gender Queer, the award-winning graphic novel by Maia Kobabe.

The diatribe was ridiculous, but here’s the craziest part: it worked. Fairfax schools pulled the book from their shelves and started targeting other titles about orientation and ethnicity.

“I know it is a scary moment and the attacks definitely can be very intimidating, but I think it’s so important to stand by your truth and tell your story honestly and write what you need to write, what you feel called to write,” Kobabe tells NBC News. “Please don’t let the threat of censorship silence your voice before you’ve even spoken.”

Gender Queer resonates from the place that scares Qarens most: the heart. It is not a political manifesto or a lurid depiction of sexuality. Instead, the story revolves around honestly lived and earnestly felt experiences from the perspective of the LGBTQ+ community.

“It’s very hard to hear people say ‘This book is not appropriate to young people’ when it’s like, I was a young person for whom this book would have been not only appropriate, but so, so necessary.”

Kobabe concludes her defense of Gender Queer with a crystallizing and chilling plea for sanity.

“There are people for whom this is vital and for whom this could maybe even be lifesaving.”

So, while the Qarens of the world rail against the very existence of someone who looks, acts or loves differently than they do, the Maia Kobabes strive to help us survive. Game, set and match to Maia.

Photo: Instagram @redgoldsparks 


Last modified: December 21, 2021