There has always been one thing that has been unsettling to me. And that’s censorship.

Censorship of course means suppressing certain “inappropriate” parts of movies, television, books, words, and even our own bodies. I think that it’s absolutely ridiculous that we as a people are not allowed to hear or see certain things because some may not want to see them or hear them. In school we are told not to say certain words, show certain body parts, or watch certain things. One of the biggest examples of censorship in schools, would be that as a girl, I could not show my shoulders, or wear short/skirts that were “too revealing.”  First of all who decides what’s too revealing, and second of all, why? Why are my shoulders and upper legs inappropriate? Shoulders and legs have never been sexual organs and never will be, so what about them is so… scary?

Also in school, we are told not to say certain words, a.k.a cuss words. It doesn’t matter whether we use them to be harmful to others, or just as an added vocabulary word to express our feelings. Sometimes we even use these words in place of others words, not to be purposely derogatory, but just because they are synonyms for non swear words. I understand that these words have been deemed inappropriate, but again, why? They are just words that hold no more power or meaning than other words. We can’t even describe, or discuss our own body parts without it being “inappropriate.”  When have our bodies become these objects that are wrong or bad?

Finally, books, movies, and TV have always been famously censored. Not just in school but in the “real world” as well. TV shows are held to the similar standards as schools. Except woman can be sexual, some minor swear words are allowed, and sexual acts can be shown. However homosexual acts are rarely shown on cable television, and woman are sexual, just to be sexual. Movies have a bit more freedom on this, except that they are rated for certain age groups, like parents are incapable of allowing or not allowing their children from viewing movies that are not appropriate for them. Books are held to even less strict standards. Books are more or less allowed to have whatever the author wants in them, but no matter how important the message may be for that book, if it has cuss words or sexual acts, it will get banned from schools.

Now, why is censorship bad? Some say it’s for protection, whether it’s protecting the young, or protecting the weak, but what censorship actually does, is discriminate against individuals, and ideas. Like I talked about before, girls in school aren’t allowed to show their shoulders or thighs, and more often than not, it is the specifically feminine body parts that can’t be talked about openly. That is flat out discrimination. We should be allowed to be free with our own bodies, language, and life without being viewed as lesser than because of it.

Michelle O’Connor from Mount Shasta High School, California