Wednesday, April 7

Why NSFW is BS



Quote of the day from Susie Bright, in a post on writing and money that every blogger should read:

Nancy Pelosi quips that health insurers consider "being a woman" as a disqualifying pre-existing condition.

The same is true for women bloggers. If we discuss the normal life cycle of female existence, our content is labeled "NSFW."

We can't menstruate, have babies, get pregnant, have an abortion, nurse, go through menopause, or have a single sexual opinion without being labeled “NSFW.” It's a bogus, unmandated censorship nanny-wall and I, for one, HAVE HAD IT.

Nothing in my blog is more revealing than what you could see in Vanity Fair. The New York Times can write about pedophilia scares, publish nude artwork, and cover the abortion debate without having their site banned. I want the same respect.


I think she's really on to something here. Sexism and prudery and Republican-ism so often go together. See for instance, John Boehner's War on Women at Crooks and Liars.

Of course, there is something to be said for NSFW, in that if you are being paid to sit in a cubicle and enter numbers into a database, you probably should not be spending that time surfing the web for porn on the office computer. As I describe the blog The Aristocrats, "Safe for work? Sure, because you're fired."

My ex had a fascinating web experience at the law school of the Baptist institution at which he taught. They had a net-nanny attached to their entire server, so anyone using the campus internet would be prohibited from examining 'colorful' websites. When it became clear that due to the content of certain articles pertaining to the Monica Lewinsky incident, the main page of The Washington Post was being banned on campus (words like "oral sex" were strictly filtered) my ex hit the roof and sent an email to the campus-wide faculty list that this was an outrage.

One professor in the science department (Baptist school science department, yeah.) replied to all.faculty that he didn't see how reading the Washington Post could be "work-related."

At an academic institution. Really.

Hilarity, at least at the Law School, ensued.

Also law students and professors researching legal rulings on "medical marijuana" were nannied off the internet as well. I wonder if someone in the "science" department could Google "weed." You know, for agricultural purposes.

Language is so deliciously vague. Filters based on word usage can't possibly work, ever.



Our topic this weekend on the podcast, not to take anything away from Susie Bright***, is going to be "Republicans and Sex, or all the news I've heard about bondage in the past year has come from Michael Steele." Until then.

***Susie's Audible.com show on Palin and Sanford is one of the best political shows I've heard, ever.

8 comments:

  1. We always have issues answering the 'is your blog safe for work?' question, because with us it really depends on the day and where you work. Or, as The Bloggess puts it, "relatively safe for work if your boss isn’t a douche-canoe".

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  2. Good points all. But filters based on content do "work", in the sense that they can always prevent you from reading what they don't want you to read. They can't make clean and reasonable distinctions between the things you want to read that they don't want you to read and the things you want to read that they don't care if you read, so as to only exclude the former, but they don't have to. They don't mind cutting off both the things they don't want you to read *and* the things they don't care about - or just cutting off everything.

    Censorship cannot make fine distinctions, but censors aren't trying to make fine distinctions - they're just trying to make sure you can't make your own choices about what to read, see, experience, or know. That, they can do.

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  3. How perfect that I should drop by here, after just writing a bunch of terribly personal things about mysel,f and realizing as I wrote them that I will lose followers. I'm a woman. I'm writing about my experiences and doing it honestly, bluntly. Boy does that offend some people.

    Several months back I wrote about my one pregnancy and abortion. I lost readers on that one. But I will not be muzzled. I know my experiences are not that much different than so many women. But so many women have been muzzled by family, church, school, peer pressure and fear that they just haven't put it into words. Yet.

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  4. My blog is safe for work, as long as you work at a fart or dildo factory. Swearing just isn't part of my normal vocab. I do not find words offensive (generally), but I find censorhip very offensive.

    One of my friends was present when I hit my thumb with a hammer, "Son of a Seabiscuit," I yelled. He's never let me forget it.

    Regards,

    Tengrain

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  5. A friend who works at the University of Kansas reports that when that institution first instituted content filters some years ago, all access to the medical school's library, which is named for former chancellor Archie Dykes, promptly disappeared.

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  6. That U Kansas story is priceless!

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  7. E-censorship is the last refuge of the incompetent. Thank you, Albert E.

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