Censorship has been used increasingly in modern times for the most mundane of things. Notable examples of this include the “No More Page 3” campaign, launched by self-proclaimed feminists trying to topple the patriarchy. The logic behind it seems reasonable at first glance. Page 3 exploits women and objectifies them, so it can’t be good for women to let that exist right? But is censorship really compatible with feminism?
Censorship takes many forms, the above example of No More Page 3 gained a lot of steam with the feminist community, and as a result Page 3 was banned from several universities. This doesn’t mean people can’t bring it to the university, just the the university would no longer be selling in their campus shop. Although the ultimate goals of NMP3 were to eradicate page 3 altogether, and they succeeded.
When we talk of feminists and women, we’re often not far away from one word. Empowerment. Empowerment is the idea that women are in charge of their own lives, bodies, careers, future. With a lot of oversimplifying we can see that an empowered woman is a free woman; a woman who makes her own way in life regardless of whether people think that’s the right way to woman or not.
This can mean anything, from wearing ‘skimpy’ clothing, to having multiple and frequent sexual partners, to being a strident career woman. There is no right way to be a woman, and however you, as a woman, are doing it is right. This all being part of the plan to overturn the patriarchal idea of what women are and can be and allow women the freedom to choose. I don’t know anyone who would really disagree with the idea of women getting to choose what they do and not caring about whether people think that’s “unladylike” or whatever. We can all respect freedom regardless of gender.
Yet that’s not what happens when we introduce feminism into the mix. That, as a movement, has become the self-appointed representative for women’s issues and desires. Despite hardly anybody asking them to. This minority group of people are now making decisions on the behalf of women all across the world, while preaching that they should be empowered. It’s cognitive dissonance in action, because you can’t be empowered if decisions are being made for you. Those two things are too oppositional to co-exist. It’s like Harry Potter and Voldemort all over again.
So what are we going to kill off? Are we going to kill women’s empowerment and freedom to choose? or are we going to kill off anything we don’t agree is “woman friendly” such as No More Page 3? I’m not sure what you would choose, but I for one value freedom way above some fringe group of women’s idea of what I should and shouldn’t be allowed to see.
Censorship isn’t slowing down, and the policing of all our freedoms is growing every day. We have a choice, freedom or censorship. I hope we make the right decision.