Since the dawn of art and the invention of the printing press, there has been art and literature that experiments with the public consciousness by testing the barrier of decency. This has been an original part of the artistic process and insofar as it is still in tact, should prevail. By this, I mean how art forms that contain themes and depictions of indecent material, should have the freedom to do so. With regard to this, it is within the artist themselves to have a purpose of exposing its audience to themes of vulgarity. I believe it should not be censored, if the artist is true to their artistic purpose and craft.
A glaring example of this is inclusion of nudity and sex. In Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (1863), the female nude appears as a realistic element of beauty, that is deliberately used to challenge the male gaze set in the background. If the artist is committed to exposing it within a certain form and with a particular motive, then it should not be given censorship. After all, sex and nudity are natural events and evoke a spacial and mental awareness of ourselves.
However, censorship against forms of art is something that is inconsistent in determining how something is qualified as idencent. The indecency in mid 19th Century Europe is different from our current era. A problem with censorship of the arts is a repression of emotion and the emotion of the absurd; the difficult emotions. If art is purely governed by social institutions, it loses its aura and disrespects artistic endeavour, no matter how radical or daring. If art is censored for highlighting an unpleasant truth than our connection to the world will be severely hindered. We need to experience the uncomfortable to experience the comfortable.
If movies have age restrictions, why can’t art or books have the same? Age restrictions are safety gages put into place so that young minds don’t get the negative mental effects of content which is too adult for them.
A couple of years ago, I read American Gods and some of the sexually explicit scenes absolutely shocked me and I couldn’t imagine how a younger mind would have felt reading those scenes. The book is great, but for someone who can handle those sexual images, and I don’t think an age description would make it any less good. If amazon prime marks the series as an 18+, I don’t see why the books which contain the same content, shouldn’t also be appropriately marked.
Protecting young minds from sometimes disturbing sexual content is an important part in not letting youngsters grow up too fast and become sex focussed and dominated from an early age. Sex education is important, and it is a natural part of life which should 100% be discussed, however the levels and severtities that it is discussed in should vary depending on age and how young people’s minds could be negatively influenced by not having that level of protection.