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Censorship

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 I talk a lot about body image and the way society tells us how we should be but one of the things that really bugs me, and something that isn't talked about too often, is censorship. Censorship is a funny thing and the very nature of it brings conflict between what we feel we should be and what we feel others should see us as. It allows us to feel outrage against others and it also opens up the door for contradiction. Parents are forever telling their children that they should accept the way they are. 

They're perfect in every way and if someone says anything nasty, it's because they are unhappy with themselves or jealous. Parents tell their children to ignore the bullies and continue to be unique. At the same time, these same parents try to protect their children from things that are a little bit against the norm. They fear their children seeing any form of nudity because it is 'shameful'. Actually, nudity isn't shameful, it's perfectly normal and rather than protect children, we need to educate. We need to educate them on how bodies are all unique, they aren't something to fear. 

This weekend, I participated in the Bristol World Naked Bike Ride. For those of you that are unsure what this is, the WNBR is a peaceful demonstration against the overuse of fossil fuels and to also raise awareness of the vulnerability of cyclists on the road. As the name suggests, this was done in the buff. No one cared about how they looked and riding through the streets of Bristol, no onlooker was offended. They cheered and waved as we rode past. No one gave any abuse. Censorship was not an issue here. On the flip side of this, one of my friends posted some images to Facebook. These images were edited to ensure that nothing was on show but for some reason, someone took offence to this and reported the images. This resulted in my friend getting a 72 hour ban. A ban for showing nothing more than a little bit of skin which was completely harmless yet images of animal abuse or racist pages are not censored at all - something which harms the minds of those that see them. 

I didn't escape the drama either, people sent me messages questioning why I was participating, stating that what I did was illegal. Actually, being nude in public is not illegal and I can't be arrested for it. I could have responded individually but I decided to post a status for all to see and it has been greeted only with positive comments, no negatives.  

There is a message here. Censorship is a good thing when used in the right way, it protects people from harm and shows those that want to do something that it's not acceptable. However, censorship over a nude body is going against the very thing censorship is designed to do. It's not protecting anyone and all it does is tell people that nudity is something to be ashamed of. It's telling people that their body is shameful and in this scenario, censorship is harmful.

You can read my Facebook post in full here. Like, share and spread the message.

 

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