Photo credit: Rebecca Barray via WANA Commons
Censorship has played a large role in every part of the media we consume for some time now. Between banning books and the creation of the FCC, what we’re exposed to and how is constantly regulated. I believe that there are certain audiences requiring censorship and others that are capable of comprehending and processing these things–i.e. violence, sex, vulgar language.
When I began writing in middle school, I really had no concept of censorship in books or on television. I just knew what I liked and that’s what I read and watched. Some of that transferred into my writing, but at such a young age I wasn’t really exposed to vulgar language or violence that much. However, it wasn’t until recently–the past year, or even couple of months–I’ve really stepped up my game when it comes to content. I’ve stopped holding back when it comes to violence and language and how characters act, and I believe I have good reasons for doing so:
The things most worth understanding sometimes aren’t pleasant
The world is full of a lot of bad things, as much as many of us don’t want to believe that. There is violence, terror, and hate in abundance anywhere you go. This isn’t to say there isn’t plenty of good out there, because there is. But we live in a culture that often focuses on the negative, and it’s good to understand and explore those negatives. One of the best ways to explore them is to view those actions through the eyes of the characters performing them or being subjected to them. How can we really understand hate until we see it from these points of views? How can we understand violence and intolerance if we don’t look at it head on and question it? There are reasons these things happen. There are motivations and emotions that are worth exploring to understand why people feel the way they do, and possibly a way to combat all the negatives.
That’s mainly why I don’t censor my writing anymore. My characters are just as likely to tell someone to “fuck off” as they are give them a bouquet of flowers. My characters give and take hate and live in hate-filled, intolerant worlds because that’s the kind of world we live in, and if I’m going to live in it I want to explore it. I want to understand it. I want to know why people steal and kill and are so intolerant.
That being said, I try to write with meaning. I try to ensure that the violence, the vulgar language, and the hate aren’t senseless. They have to have meaning, and there has to be a logical reason for the hate, otherwise what is there to gain from it? What is there to learn from? And why do we read and write if not to explore and learn?
Censoring writing deprives us from knowledge. It deprives us from watching chaos from a safe environment, and doesn’t allow us to gain other perspectives. And how can we become tolerant and accepting if we can’t see where other people come from, how they got to where they are, and what resulted from it? How can we expect to learn and grow by shoving away everything that has foul language and violence in it? That’s the place we live in right now, every single day. And if we’re going to combat it; if we’re going to try and fight the things that make the world as negative as it is, we need to let the people see the world as it is.