In the year of 2022, you would think everything would be less than taboo. We have decriminalized everything from wearing a skirt that shows your ankle to marijuana use. Anything and everything we would want to know about each other’s personal lives is on the internet for everyone to see. The internet is a free reign forum where anyone can say anything, and all of us eat it up because authenticity is the new currency on the internet.
This was proven when Emma Chamberlain blew up on Youtube. Her brand was being honest and transparent with her audience, showing both her good and bad times. Relatability has made the internet fall in love with hearing our own thoughts and opinions read back to us through influencers and writers.
The most popular articles on the internet are opinions and features. Finding the most important topics that surround our lives such as our personal struggles and what reflects the community we live in. Authentic feelings resonate with people more than hard news across the board.
However, many publishing companies want to censor the topics that mean the most to the people who read them, finding caveats as to why writers can’t write about personal feelings or struggles. They feel as though they are too taboo to cover them, or even worse, feel as though these topics have been covered enough in mainstream media.
But the problem lies with the fact that topics such as mental health can never be covered enough because it is niche to everyone. Everyone has a different perspective in how they view the things that affect them everyday. Being able to read something that sounds like it was plucked from your brain and onto the screen is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world, being seen by those who don’t even know you. However, companies just see words like “mental health” in the headline and view it as an overdone topic.
This is a dangerous mindset to have because when we stop talking about these things, people who suffer from these problems will see their issues as mute points. They’ll think that their problems are no longer relevant to other people, not being able to relate to the writer who may want to write about it, but is actually being muzzled by the companies they work for. When we see a slow or even a halt in these conversations, we think they are gone. But they’re not and instead we are ignoring an integral part in the human experience.
It gets even worse when we tell women to stop writing about these topics. Throughout history, women were seen as weak or voiceless, unable to give their opinions, and if they did, they were laughed at or seen as less professional. Talking about our problems does not make us less professional or less qualified to talk about bigger issues, it makes us human and taps into the human need to connect with others through signifiers that we all feel the same things.
The idea of censorship of one topic then begs the question: when will it stop? Is the next problem going to be talking about politics? Or corruption? Or racism? Or how our communities relate to the news we see in the media everyday? The biggest danger of censorship is that slippery slope of ending the conversation on one thing, and then seeing the rest fall in line.
I see this everyday as a journalist. I can hardly like a tweet on Twitter about political facts or human rights issues without looking bias in the face and wondering if I should even take a stand for what is morally correct. As an individual with the career I chose, I have to stifle myself everyday in my personal life so it doesn’t bleed into my writing since the “fake news” believers have ruined journalists being able to have any sort of opinion. So when it comes to writing with publications, I am told that I can have a voice, I take it as sacred, and want to be able to channel my thoughts onto the keyboard.
The need to connect through art and writing is inherent. This creative forum is supposed to be where we can feel safe to talk about the problems that plague us and the people around us. But censorship stands in the way of this everyday. I hope that as a society we can see the value in pushing a topic from taboo to talked about through the use of mainstream media.