Someday in the near future, no later than 2040, you will go to the beach and see more than a few people not wearing a bathing suit, or anything else for that matter. People will be able to get their mail in the buff, sunbathe their bare butts in their own backyard or skinny dip in their own pool, without fear of harassment, jail time, or offending anyone except hardcore church goers, who by that time will represent only a fringe minority.
Attitudes toward sex and nudity have been skewing left for hundreds of years, and like Moore’s Law of accelerating computer power, these changes are also accelerating. I mention computer power because history has shown, time and again, that the greatest catalyst for change is technology. The women’s liberation movement and the feminist movement could not have started without giving women the opportunity to work, something that became more prevalent after the turn of the century with the advent of new technologies. No longer needing to prove themselves physically capable, women could take jobs as telephone operators, typists or machine operators (in World War II). Without the need of a father or husband to provide for them, women were free to fight for equal pay and the right to vote. The same technological development helped to drastically change morality. With the invention of the Pill, the sexual revolution spread like a virus (no irony intended) across every city in the country, and with it, a change in beliefs and attitudes. Virginity before marriage was no longer expected of a woman and even the “one night stand” has lost its stigma. While conservatives argue against this “declining” moral landscape (certainly unwanted pregnancies is a negative side effect) the fact is, these changes were inevitable. They were inevitable because basic human needs and desires cannot be repressed. It is the same reason Americans have become so obese. We’ve evolved to crave fat to survive long winters without food. Now that food is in abundance, we find it almost impossible to resist the urge to do what is in our nature, despite the knowledge that heart disease is our #1 killer.
I recently had the fortune to read an article in Cracked, “The Five Craziest Ways Men Have Censored Female Sexuality.” It’s certainly a must read. But what really stood out for me was how Islamist countries like Iran fight to repress human nature. Censors paste cartoon shirts on all of the female characters on the show Lost, because, for them, tank-tops are just too arousing. Even things we would never consider sexual, like a man and a woman sitting on a couch, or the bulge of a woman’s blouse, is deemed obscene. Iranian censors will even blur a closeup of a woman’s face. However, no matter how many things the Iranian government tries to omit from TV and movies, boys will find something to arouse them, because sexual desire comes from within. It’s only natural that after puberty, an increase in testosterone in the pituitary gland will make a man think of sex, and make him see things, almost anything, as sexually appealing. Trying to repress this instinct is a lost cause. It’s plugging up a pressure cooker bound to explode. The irony is that, by making everything taboo, everything becomes a forbidden fruit. Essentially, Iranian censors are creating the sex crazed society they are trying so desperately to prevent. No wonder a man can claim overwhelming desire as an excuse to rape. Now imagine, in a country where a woman’s face is blurred on TV, the effects of a XXX film on innocent Iranian children? But wait, we don’t have to imagine it, because of a new thing called the Internet. With the click of a mouse, Muslim boys and girls can watch things that would make their grandparents faint. Just look at how women are using this new technology to fight the injustices of Sharia Law.
[2019 Update] Iranians are also fighting censorship and discrimination through the power of dance. Forbidden by the religious authorities, if a woman is caught dancing in public, she can end up in jail. Many hip-hopping demonstrators, like Sahra Afsharian (below) have already been arrested. It’s like Footloose, but with Islam and a half billion more people involved. Still, despite Iranian extremist’s best efforts to curb the behavior, videos like these make their way onto YouTube and other video sharing platforms, inspiring oppressed people everywhere. You go girl!
Original publication 24 April, 2013
Posted on NatCorn 3 weeks ago
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