Is American Influence Making the Internet Prudish?

PuritansGood question. Jane Fae Ozimek writes in the Register:

Is US dominance of the internet — and particularly of the social networking space — leading to the export of US prudery across the globe? Or is the growing debate on international censorship a little more complicated?

As Becky Dwyer, a US citizen and, as member of CAAN Scotland, a campaigner for less censorship in the UK put it: “Isn’t this more about American Corporations forcing conformity upon private individuals rather than ‘American’ values?”

First off, examples of US social networking sites coming down hard on subscribers who fail to toe the line set by Ts & Cs are widespread. Let’s start with global social networking site, Facebook. Readers will by now be more than familiar with its policy when it comes to boobs: namely that above-waist nakedness, if it appears to be in the least bit sexualised, is a definite no-no.

A similar issue arises over any group or image that might be deemed overly sexual, as Helena Hewitt, instigator of art and fashion project “Fetish Rocks” found out to her cost. Ms Hewitt was twice forced to rebuild her Facebook group from scratch following anonymous complaints.

Read More in the Register

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  • A Bad Joke

    This is an interesting issue. I’d like to split it into its component pieces, of which I see 2 that are obvious.

    1. I’d like to address Facebook profile photos

    Personally, my Myspace profile pic was myself straddling the raised barrel of the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle that I drove. It was meant to be somewhat suggestive, but really more goofy.

    You really can’t get any more suggestive than having a tank barrel between your legs, pointing up.

    Perfectly allowable.

    2. The rest of the Internet

    So, where does the censorship stop? Is National Geographic having a photo essay of the tribes of the Amazon, where women routinely go about topless pornography? Clearly porno sites are porno, hell, even seeing “you must be 18 to enter” means this is about to get real pornographic. So where does it stop? Child Pornography is a popular strawman, but how many times have I seen child porn? Never.

    So where does it stop? A chip becomes a crack, which becomes a fault, which becomes an avalanche.

    How long until a crusade against “porn” turns into a boot stomping on a human face forever?

    And yes, I do enjoy me some porno.

  • A Bad Joke

    This is an interesting issue. I’d like to split it into its component pieces, of which I see 2 that are obvious.

    1. I’d like to address Facebook profile photos

    Personally, my Myspace profile pic was myself straddling the raised barrel of the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle that I drove. It was meant to be somewhat suggestive, but really more goofy.

    You really can’t get any more suggestive than having a tank barrel between your legs, pointing up.

    Perfectly allowable.

    2. The rest of the Internet

    So, where does the censorship stop? Is National Geographic having a photo essay of the tribes of the Amazon, where women routinely go about topless pornography? Clearly porno sites are porno, hell, even seeing “you must be 18 to enter” means this is about to get real pornographic. So where does it stop? Child Pornography is a popular strawman, but how many times have I seen child porn? Never.

    So where does it stop? A chip becomes a crack, which becomes a fault, which becomes an avalanche.

    How long until a crusade against “porn” turns into a boot stomping on a human face forever?

    And yes, I do enjoy me some porno.

  • Vox Penii

    American prudery?

    Pardon my scoffing, but America’s NOT a nation that routinely stones people in the streets for sexual immorality: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoning#Usage_today

  • Vox Penii

    re: boots stomping on human faces & pleasure seeking.

    “[Hitler] has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security, and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers; tin pacifists somehow won’t do. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flag and loyalty-parades…. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet.”

    From a review of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, New English Weekly (21 March 1940)

  • Vox Penii

    D’oh!

    Mein Kampf review by George Orwell

  • gemmarama

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puritan

    it’s still there, just bubbling under the surface…

  • Anonymous

    “Anti-Masturbation Candidate Christine O’Donnell Wins Republican Senate Primary in Delaware”

    No, there are no prudes here in America. LOL!

  • GoodDoktorBad

    “Anti-Masturbation Candidate Christine O’Donnell Wins Republican Senate Primary in Delaware”

    No, there are no prudes here in America. LOL!

  • Hadrian999

    the things I have seen on this prudish internet,
    I shudder when i think of what i would see on a wild internet think

  • Hadrian999

    the things I have seen on this prudish internet,
    I shudder when i think of what i would see on a wild internet think

  • TheWrongStuff

    What I am getting out of this article is the author’s seemingly deliberate misinterpretation of a sites Rules, Terms and Conditions. The sites listed; Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Craigslist are all sites allowing user contributed content and advertise worldwide to every age and society. Many of whom, not simply prudish Americans, would find sexually suggestive content, blatant drug advertisement, smoking advertisements, etc. as objectionable viewing. That is their prerogative just as it is the business’ prerogative to cater to a more robust group of consumers and creating carte blanche acceptance by setting basic rules of conduct that can be easily understood and justified.

    It seems more likely then that the “reporters” at the Register lack actual journalistic skills and integrity by pursuing such soft news in the wake of an almost nonstop barrage of actual world affecting events occurring daily. In line with that thinking; attaching American to any random argument and then slugging away with a pointless droning commentary for the sake of stirring up shit and trading on daytime TV level drama speaks more to the decline in quality journalism by sensationalist hack writers who would otherwise be unemployed donut-hole makers.

  • TheWrongStuff

    What I am getting out of this article is the author’s seemingly deliberate misinterpretation of a sites Rules, Terms and Conditions. The sites listed; Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Craigslist are all sites allowing user contributed content and advertise worldwide to every age and society. Many of whom, not simply prudish Americans, would find sexually suggestive content, blatant drug advertisement, smoking advertisements, etc. as objectionable viewing. That is their prerogative just as it is the business’ prerogative to cater to a more robust group of consumers and creating carte blanche acceptance by setting basic rules of conduct that can be easily understood and justified.

    It seems more likely then that the “reporters” at the Register lack actual journalistic skills and integrity by pursuing such soft news in the wake of an almost nonstop barrage of actual world affecting events occurring daily. In line with that thinking; attaching American to any random argument and then slugging away with a pointless droning commentary for the sake of stirring up shit and trading on daytime TV level drama speaks more to the decline in quality journalism by sensationalist hack writers who would otherwise be unemployed donut-hole makers.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    We’re a study in contrasts…and in exceptionalism. America is at the same both A) a nation with a media culture and private lives that are intensely sexual and B) a nation of prudes who shudder with horror when confronted with the reality of sex in any public conversation.

    So we get both wild excess and total parsimonious bullshit in the same breath whenever these issues come up. The same guy spanking his meat to porn day in and day out will campaign for its removal from the internet…quietly hoping it won’t actually happen and cursing his misfortune after it does…but his other choice was being perceived as a porn loving pervert and being publicly reviled.

    Its one of those moments where the country as a whole really needs to get the hell over itself and develop coping skills that resemble adulthood instead of a snickering junior high mentality.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    We’re a study in contrasts…and in exceptionalism. America is at the same both A) a nation with a media culture and private lives that are intensely sexual and B) a nation of prudes who shudder with horror when confronted with the reality of sex in any public conversation.

    So we get both wild excess and total parsimonious bullshit in the same breath whenever these issues come up. The same guy spanking his meat to porn day in and day out will campaign for its removal from the internet…quietly hoping it won’t actually happen and cursing his misfortune after it does…but his other choice was being perceived as a porn loving pervert and being publicly reviled.

    Its one of those moments where the country as a whole really needs to get the hell over itself and develop coping skills that resemble adulthood instead of a snickering junior high mentality.

  • qwerty

    i’m portuguese and nudity in certain circumstances is not obscene, and sometimes i think Americans are ridiculously prude, i’ve had many difficulty communicating with Americans because usually conversations end up being very stereotypical

  • qwerty

    i’m portuguese and nudity in certain circumstances is not obscene, and sometimes i think Americans are ridiculously prude, i’ve had many difficulty communicating with Americans because usually conversations end up being very stereotypical

  • Texas_syndicates

    We Americans are the most liberal in the world. I often go on the German site spinchat.com which is German-owned and German-run ….and its the most prudish site on the web. American sites like YouTube are very liberal and censor nothing. Why are Europeans so prude when it comes to censoring sites??

  • Texas_syndicates

    We Americans are the most liberal in the world. I often go on the German site spinchat.com which is German-owned and German-run ….and its the most prudish site on the web. American sites like YouTube are very liberal and censor nothing. Why are Europeans so prude when it comes to censoring sites??

  • gemmarama

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puritan

    it’s still there, just bubbling under the surface…