In honor of Judy Blume’s 80th birthday, NPR broadcast an interview with the author, in which she weighed in on the #MeToo movement and whether or not she was able to separate art from the artist.
Her character Margaret’s (from Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.) struggle with getting her period may seem quaint to the adults who once snuck her books, but a lot of Judy Blume literature is stilled banned in schools. Blume thinks that’s because parents don’t want to think about their kids cranking one out:
I think a lot has changed but it’s hard for parents to talk—especially about masturbation. They just cant get over masturbation or seem to be able to talk to their kids about it.
NPR’s Rachel Martin asks Blume about what she thinks of the #MeToo movement, and she begins by saying, “I have a young friend in her late twenties and I talk to her a lot about this and what it means to be a feminist—”
But before she can get to exactly what conclusions Blume and her millennial friend have reached, Martin interrupts to ask if there is a “generational shift.” Blume says there is:
“That doesn’t mean that women of my generation can’t support the #MeToo movement. Where we may differ is, ‘Is it OK to enjoy the art of someone who we now know may have been abusive to women?’ To me, the answer is yes, I can. And I don’t want museums to take away art because we now know that that artist from a different era may have been abusive to women.”
She seems to be referring literally to paintings being removed from museums or something, but Martin presses to ask about Woody Allen.
“Woody Allen is a whole different case,” says Blume. “Where I stand right now, I will continue to see Woody Allen movies.”
It’s a very short interview, which is a shame, because this is a perspective I’d actually like to understand better! When asked if she’d rewrite her books to fit the #MeToo Movement (???) Blume admits that people press her to update her classics all the time. She says at her age, she doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life working on a new book:
I don’t want to rewrite anything. My characters are who they are. For years, people have written and asked me to let Margaret go through menopause. And it’s like, “Hey guys! Margaret is 12 and she is going to stay 12. That’s who she is.” No, I don’t want to rewrite any of them.
As with any 12-year-old at heart, you can’t tell Judy Blume what to do.
Listen to the full interview here.