Media Censorship, Now and Then

Censorship is not a word that many Americans, or even people in general, want to deal with. Is that why when we look at today’s television or listen to the radio, there’s less of it? When I was younger, it seemed to be a lot more censored dialogue and images throughout media. The B-word would not dare be heard over the airwaves and an image of a girl passionately on top of a boy kissing him would appear as a shocker. Fast forward to now, “bad” words are blasted on television along with sexually explicit scenes. Why is this possible now? What has changed? I feel we have become more socially acceptable of once negative things. Gay marriage is an actual possibility and birth control is covered by insurance. We have become a generation who does not want to go along with things of the past. Whether this is positive or not is up for discussion.


For instance, an important factor is what children are exposed to. It seems the children of today are much more mature mentally when it comes to certain things. For instance, sexual relationships are explored at a younger age than prior. They know more because they are exposed to more. Media is the new-age parent. It teaches and shapes the experiences that we encounter. The majority of what we know will be learned through media, whether Twitter or even a simple text message. Parents often take initiatives to put blocks on their home computers and televisions. It is a good effort, but often comes up short to block everything. Even Disney channel hints at sexual or mature situations, although some children are too young to understand.

Maybe it is a good thing censorship through media is less apparent. Most adults want to watch their show without having seconds of silence as the swear words are said. I found it funny the other day that as I was watching a movie the other day on TV, “bitch” was not bleeped out, but “retard” was. To me, either word can be just offensive, all depending on who you ask. It goes for the radio too. A line in a Notorious BIG song, “Juicy,” says “blow up like the World Trade.” This line is skipped over in the radio edit, although this song was released years prior to the 9/11 occurrence.

Who’s to say what is offensive and what isn’t or even what should be censored and what to keep as is? Censorship is a common argument many feel goes against our right to freedom of expression. But, where is the defining line of where “expression” goes to far? I personally think it is very hard to please everyone with media censorship. What we watch and listen to is a choice. We are not literally forced to view or hear a show or song. If you as a parent feel your child should not watch Wizards of Waverly Place because of the magic, don’t allow them to. I do not think it is right however to ask it be removed from programming altogether due to personal thoughts. Censorship sets guidelines and should not dictate what we view. The choice is in our hands and we can exercise free will, like proud Americans should.

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