Whenever they burn books, they will also, in the end, burn people. ~ Heinrich Heine
Friday, as the controversial film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey hit theaters, Huffington Post published an editorial by Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke on the state of censorship in the free world.
Duke’s column, entitled 50 Shades of Censorship, delineates several areas in which personal liberty and autonomy continue to be encroached by “sex censors”.
Specifically, Duke addresses:
1. Public Library Censorship of books, such as 50 Shades, that have been deemed “semi-pornographic”;
2. Pleasure Product Bans that make it a crime to sell anything that might stimulate genitalia;
3. Erotic Writing Prosecutions such as that of “Karen Fletcher, a 56-year old woman Pittsburgh was indicted on four felony counts over sexually explicit stories that she published on her personal website while attempting to process her own childhood sexual abuse”;
4. Bank Account Closures of many adult performers and businesses;
5. Limiting Performer Choice
If a proposed 2016 ballot measure passes, the production and sale of films shot without condoms would be banned within the state of California, limiting performer choice of health and safety options. Proponents of the measure [AHF] say it as a public health issue, and that adult films should teach condom use. But adult performers are not sex educators, and have argued vehemently that condoms are less often reliable than the testing system currently in place, and that only they — not the government — should have ultimate control over their bodies;
6. Anti-BDSM Laws such as the recent UK legislation that “made the filming of many consensual BDSM practices illegal, hitting queer and feminist pornographers particularly hard. It’s unlikely that the 50 Shades movie could even have been made in the UK under these new laws”, writes Duke;
7. Record-Keeping Statutes such as 18 U.S.C. 2257;
8. Morality-Based Zoning Regulations;
9. Corporate Censorship from companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Instagram, who take a hard line on adult content, and even “ban users who show so much as a breast-feeding baby”;
10. University Bans (by feminists) of not only adult websites, but also “on material like 50 Shades, comparing it to torture or domestic abuse”; and
11. Conservative Boycotts, noting that “Target is being boycotted for 50 Shades-themed items; theaters are being protested over implied sexual violence of BDSM. And thanks to pressure from anti-porn activists and morality groups, some hotel chains have pulled adult videos from their rooms entirely”.
Duke’s full editorial may be found here