Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sins of Men

“The sins of men are, in part, the fault of women, specifically women in tight-fitting clothing.” Or so claims a religious pamphlet being handed out in Bristol, Virginia. It goes on to say, “Scripture tells us that when a man looks on a woman to lust for her he has already committed adultery in his heart. If you are dressed in a way that tempts a men to do this secret (or not so secret) sin, you are a participant in the sin. By the way, some rape victims would not have been raped if they had dressed properly. So can we really say they were innocent victims?”

What was going through the mind of the woman who handed out these pamphlets? Was she so unappealing physically and spiritually that she had to blame ‘provocative women’ for the social disappointments in her life? Is she aware that most rapists seek out shy, modestly-dressed women and girls because they are perceived as less confident and thus easier targets?

I revel in being female and having the right to garb myself as I please. I do not denigrate men with the assumption that, if I wear something alluring, they will take advantage of me because they cannot control themselves. I do not hold such a low expectation of them, and I demand they not hold similar low expectations of me by limiting what I can do, where I can go, and how I can dress based simply on my gender.

In return, I do not limit men by my own expectations and biases when it comes to their clothing. I believe they have should have the right to wear the range of beautiful clothing and shoes a woman does – but our culture does not allow it. Conversely, a man can walk around shirtless without fear of sexual assault but a woman cannot. These senseless double standards have no place in our twenty-first century world.

I wish for the time when one can wear, or not wear, what one pleases without the judgment of cretins. Until then, I will continue to frequent naturist clubs, festivals and other events where diversity, creativity and textile freedom are honored.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Free the Words

I have a growing unhappiness for all of the ‘adult babies’ in our culture. You know who I mean – those people who believe that the use of certain expletives, curses, and ethnic terms should be censored by such means as bleeping, disguising, or simply blanking out the sound. Is it because they as cannot bear directness, the possibility of denigration, or expression of intense feelings? Take the following statement for example.

“I was treated like s**t by the f***ing a***hole K**** behind the counter at the DMV.”

While this format is considered fine by both broadcast and print censors, in reality the asterisks (or bleeps in the case of broadcast media) accentuates the use of the words making them register to the subconscious mind as the most important part of the sentence.

In the TV series Caprica, the writers have circumvented the problem by creating and using an alternate word ‘frack’ that means the same thing as our word ‘f**k’. The dialog goes much smoother.

“Kill that fracking son of a Caprican!” denotes the intensity of dislike of the Caprican without drawing attention to the adjective. Compare that to hearing “Kill that BLEEP son of a BLEEP.” The bleeping focuses one’s attention on the possible words that had been said rather than the meaning of the sentence.

The strong influence of censorship in the United States has caused me to rethink how certain words are used within (or excluded from) my fantasy-adventure books. Fortunately for fiction writers, and especially those whose stories are crafted on original worlds or universes, new words can be coined to replace the ones the ‘adult babies’ cannot handle.

In my opinion, all censorship of words and ideas (save libel and slander) must cease if we are going to be truly free. If you do not like the words employed, do not read the text. If you do not like the words spoken, change the channel or walk away. The only difference between the BLEEPING BLEEPER and BLEEPED is BLEEP. I’m sure you get my drift.