Today we looked at another topic that we could use for our critical study essay; Censorship. Censorship is another area I am interested in and am considering basing my critical studies essay on how disability is censored in the media. The reason I think this is because disability is often not shown in a true image, for example, disabilities that leave a person unable to care for themselves and in a ‘vegetable’ state are often forgotten about and not shown in a true image. Today it seems the Media only show images of disability that have a positive and inspirational outcome such as a disabled person taking part in the Paralympics or overcoming some other obstacle. I think I will enjoy delving into censorship and its history.
Things I learnt about censorship are:
- Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication or other information that may be considered objectionable.
- Suppression of free speech.
- The notion of free speech is founded on the possibility that if you don’t like what someone else says, you are perfectly free to use your speech to counteract it.
- Suppression of Knowledge.
- Is censorship actually meddling? Being told what we can or cannot see.
Today’s lecture included a task which involved creating a photo montage or meme on what we personally thought censorship was. A meme is an idea, behaviour, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. Meme’s communicate something but of shared cultural knowledge. It creates new meaning for the viewer. In the last couple years, memes have become really popular among the younger generation showing how culture and society change with time and if enough people follow suit, its easy to create ‘new’ ideas within a culture.
An example of a meme is:
In order to get an idea of what a photo montage was, (as I have never done one before!) I researched Hannah Höch who was known for her political collage and photomontage works. Hannah Höch rearranged images and text from the mass media to critique the failings of the Weimar German Government. An example of her work is:
Image: 1920 – The Beautiful Girl
I decided to do a photo montage as I am not familiar with memes! The first thing I did was write down all my ideas and thoughts of what subjects I thought received censorship.
This proved quite difficult as each individual has their own idea of what should be censored. Each individual has their own opinion on what is suitable for younger ages to watch or see. Although I don’t agree with owning a gun, I have no problem letting a young person play a shooting game on a console! (Same as a lot of people!) I feel censorship is hard to control these days as young children have access to the internet so easily, images get through the internet very easily so young people are not protected. Internet is relatively new but it has opened up a whole new view of the world that was otherwise hidden. I feel like censorship should be in place to protect young children from certain images but I think these days censorship is much more of a parental issue and what the adults in that child’s life allow them view dependent on their individual life style.I think images of war, meat trade and violence should not be censored. If true images are censored then how would we learn?
So from my initial ideas, I decided that to me, censorship means: See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil. So using this idea, I expanded on what I thought that term meant in regards to censorship.
It is clear that social media and the internet have a huge impact on censorship today. The banning of images on social media and on sites such as YouTube restricts freedom of speech. What is offensive to one person, may not be offensive to another so why should we all suffer? Even celebrities are being censored in countries because their ‘art’ is deemed offensive. Rapper ‘Tyler the creator’ was banned form entering the UK due to lyrics of a song. Rap was deemed offensive and made to create a reaction well before the internet came about so why is an ‘art’ that people know has an history of offence being banned? Chris Brown was banned due to his violence but was he only banned as his violence was made public and caused an uproar among females?
The introduction of an easily accessible internet has meant that songs, images, film etc that were all previously hidden are now much more easily accessible meaning the protection of younger audiences is not reliable hence why I believe its more of a parental issue these days as grown ups ‘decide’ what they deem suitable for a child and their age.
My photo montage I created for ‘Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil’
I used an image of ‘Hear no evil, See no evil, speak no evil’ featuring children as I believe censoring is mainly aimed at children in todays society. If an adult wants to look at something or say something they will. Children on the other hand, unless told to by adults, are still taught that at a young age swearing, violence, bullying etc is wrong. We don’t allow toddlers to watch scary movies or play on internet sites without supervision. The image of the YouTube icon with a passive face symbolises videos that are banned for unfair reasons due to particular content. I used an image of a famous rapper (Eminem) as today celebrities can enforce censorship. People are most likely to listen to celebrities over their own parents, however rappers in particular are often victim to banning or censorship due to lyrics. The rapper represents ‘Hear no evil’. I used images to represent ‘see no evil’ by using an ‘eye test’ image that states: ‘censorship causes blindness’ as censorship stops us seeing a true image of what is actually going on. The image of a male swimming is effective as why is it ok for a man to take his top off but not for a women. They are the same body parts. Again it shows ‘unfair’ censorship and signifies a woman parts are ‘not allowed to be seen’ thus making males more inferior. The image on the bottom right, about government censorship is very effective as it looks like the ‘parental advisory’ stickers you often get on rap albums. The government have a huge part on censoring as they have a duty to protect the country. However does that mean they only censor certain thing. Do they purposely censor the damage they cause in other countries through war but show us the damage that country are doing to our soldiers? Government censorship means they can tell us what we are allowed to say or see which contradicts freedom of speech in my opinion. So in conclusion, my thoughts about censorship is ‘Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’
In order to conclude what we had learnt on censorship, we were split into 2 groups, for censorship and against censorship, and our task was, as a group to find valid points to support your argument either for or against censorship. I was put into the group ‘For censorship’ This was going to be a learning curve for me as I am mainly against censorship. I feel we should decide what we want to see and not have it forced (or not forced) on us by other beings higher up in society. I know what I deem as inappropriate for myself to see. Our findings were to be used in a debate the following week. I myself searched for points I could try and back up with government statistics. However much of the research I found seemed to be aimed at protecting children rather than entire populations. However doing this research was helpful in slightly changing my opinion on why certain things are censored especially to do with other religions and race as everyone should have the right to live as they please and follow whatever they religion they want as long as they are not forcing it on other people and it did give me an insight into how adults can be manipulated by the internet which I didn’t think of before.
The censorship debate took place on 07/10/2016 and although each group were short of participants, there was enough to forge out our arguments. The opposing side counteracted every argument we made with ‘you should be able to watch and do what you want’ It was hard to deny this as this is something I personally believe as well. In regards to the children, the opposing side said parents should watch what their kids are viewing. However i do not agree with this fact as internet is easily accessible and parents cannot watch younger children 24/7 so i agree some censorship should exist on the internet to stop young people accessing certain sites. This task was very insightful and taught me a lot about why censorship occurs. It did make me change my opinions slightly that some censorships has to take place to protect everybody even if we don’t want it to. If no censorship existed at all, the world would be much more chaotic than it is already and why upset people when it can be avoided. Overall i think the debate was a draw! Both sides had valid points to counteract their argument and everyone worked well together.