I got a peek at the real spirit and standards of our time, when my art show was censored from the West Chelsea Artist Open Studios. I fought back by hosting my own show to redefine the rubric of art and prove how my pieces fit into a larger conversation regarding sex, gender, and expectations in art. I would not be silenced.
But unfortunately, I’m not the only one to experience anti-sex, anti-nudity, or anti-progress attacks on art and free-expression. For instance, the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey– while ubiquitous in talk shows, newspapers, SNL sketches, and water cooler conversation– has actually been banned from libraries across the country. When asked to explain the absence of this softcore “mommy-porn” from their stacks, the libraries cite policy, budget constraints, or lack of literary merit…all euphemisms for the real reason: S.E.X.
Joining classics such as Catcher in the Rye, Grapes of Wrath, and yes The Joy of Sex, Random House Publishing calls the ban “an act of censorship.” The libraries might as well be saying: “We will judge what you can read.”
The sadomasochistic series has been targeted not simply because of its sexual content, but because that content is subversive and non-heteronormative. The libraries don’t want to circulate the idea of domination and submission, power politics and sexual dreamscapes—especially to women. This is not your average Renaissance romance novels. Fabio is not Christian Grey.
But women will fight for their right to access alternative erotica. There’s a petition on Change.org to keep the book on the shelves. Many supporters of the petition signed not because they want to access the book, or even particularly like the book, but because they recognize it as another victim of unconstitutional censorship against sexuality.
As one supporter stated on the message board:
Book banning, in 2012?! If you do not want to read this book, then don’t. It is called personal accountability. And parental accountability. Do not deny others the right to read a book simply because you are too narrow and shortsighted to realize the value of free access.
If you choose to ban this particular book, you are setting a dangerous precedent and will need to ban every other book containing ANY sexual material.
That’s a very dangerous precedent indeed.
The Naked Wreck Alert is given to a person or organization that has somehow hindered truth, justice, health, freedom and/or coolness in our world, and is therefore in serious need of therapy, naked or not.