Modern Censorship - The Butterfly Reader

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Modern Censorship

So by the title alone, I'm sure you know this is going to be a post that will step on some toes. That being said, I still want my opinion out there. Even though I'm been told quite a few times my opinion doesn't matter because I look white. I don't care, I'm so sick of it. 

So I'm sure you'll all seen what's going on in the YA Book Community. If you haven't, then you've been very lucky. So for those that have no idea what I'm talking about. Let's jump right into it. 

There has been some books coming out that people have jumped on and said some of these books contain some very bad things. One of these book even got pulled back and it's being rewritten to fit with these people's ideals.... so we will never read the book the way the author intended. Never. Unless you are lucky enough to have gotten an ARC. 

We will never get to read that book. Let that sink it. Really think about that. Your choice in the matter of reading that book the way the author intended is gone. You lost that right. They took that right away from you and me.

This group of people have claimed this book is harmful. So it got pulled back to later release date. I have never read this book so I won't go into my opinion on it because I don't have one. Simple as that. I am not one of these people that jump on the bandwagon. I don't read a review and then take that review as fact and that review turns around and becomes my opinion. 

I think for myself. I always have and always will. 

So all that being said. What really bothers me is that this group of people got a book censored. Yes. Censored.

I don't care what the book was said to contain, maybe it if awful, I honestly doubt it because they all said Carve the Mark was awful and I read it and now know they are seeing things that aren't there. They are making problems that don't exist. But, let's say they are right and this book is bad. That doesn't mean it should be censored. 

Censoring things is never a good idea. Never. When you censor things, you are taking away the right to free speech. The freedom for an author to tell whatever story they want to tell. Thus you're taking away my choice/freedom to read whatever the hell I want to read. That my friends doesn't sit well with me. 

I'm not even sure I will post this. Part of me is still scared for the backlash even though I've already been called racist, homophobic, and ablest. Which is funny considering, I'm part Native American, bi sexual and live with chronic pain. 

So while I know I am none of these things, it still does frighten me, I don't like confrontation, it messes with my anxiety but I'm so sick of these people thinking they can control what gets published if they whine and cry about it enough. 

I get it, some people can't/won't read certain things, then don't read the book. Simple, no one is making you read anything you don't want. That's your choice. You can say why you don't want to read the book and move on. You have a choice but by getting books censored or calling people these horrible things... you are A) taking their choice away or B) trying to bully them or make them feel like shit for wanting to read a book you don't like. 

You are trying to censor these books.

No one is doing that to you, stop doing it to us. Let me have my choice to read what I want. 

I also want to point out that there is nothing wrong with criticizing a book. We do it all the time as bloggers but there is a huge difference between that and trying to censor or bully.

I hope I got my point across without being vile but it is kind of a rant. I just don't want to be like those that  call people names that are cruel and unfounded, I don't want to be that way. I hate being mean. 

Be nice to each other and let me know your feelings on this topic. Do you think books should be censored or are you like me and do not. Keep it nice. I won't allow hateful comments. Have a great day my butterflies.


  1. I'm sorry you feel this way.

    Critique is not censorship. Telling people who are criticising a book to shut up is censorship. The author of that book can put it out in its original form, and leave her publisher, should she wish. People demonstrating that they will not buy a book in its current form is the power of the markets - which, rightly or wrongly, is how capitalism works.

    Of course you can read what you want - no-one has said otherwise (and if they have, I don't agree with them, obv.) People do, however, object to you promoting books with racist or o/w problematic content - especially if you haven't warned others that they may find the book distressing or offensive. That objection is just as much free speech as your right to promote it to begin with.

    It's not a case of 'being sensitive.' It's saying 'no more' - no more perpetuation of racism and negative stereotyping. Books shape ideas, and ideas shape actions. We all know the power of books, or we wouldn't be book blogging.

    Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from criticism. Just the opposite. It means we are free to criticise and protest as much as we want - just as people have complained (and my God, they *have* complained) about diverse books. I don't like that they protest against diversity, but I'm also aware that they have the right to do so (within the Ts&Cs of whatever platform they're using, and within the law.)

    I'm afraid you've lost a reader here. Sorry.

    1. I always try and warn others if I know about what has been said about the book. But I have had people call me terrible things for wanting to read a book they don't like. There is nothing wrong with protesting a book but when you go after the author and harass her or try and bully others for wanting to read a book, I get upset.

      You're right! Free speech is the freedom to protest things and criticize. Agree 100% but there is a big difference between criticism and bulling/censorship. Some go too far on both ends of the disagreement in my opinion.

      Yeah I have no idea why people protest diversity, it's lovely to read from other cultures and walks of life. I love it.

      I'm sorry I lost you as a reader. Thank you for staying with me as long as you did and reading my rambles on books (because I do in fact ramble lol).

      I also want to say thank you very much for being civil and kind with your opinion. I wish others could be more like you. Though I am sorry that I lost you because we had a different opinion.

  2. I agree slightly with Cee, above. Free speech means the right to criticism as well. That being said, publishing houses do have the right to publish whatever they so chose because they are a business. If the author still wants to publish their thoughts, they can do self-publishing or try to find another publishing house (they'll have to put their thoughts and feelings in another novel, of course if they signed a contract). Some speech can be dangerous as it contains internal propaganda which perpetrates certain societal ideals (for example, the heightened status of whiteness, heterosexuality, and maleness). I'm certain that some publishing houses recognize this and want to make a more active effort to control what kind of messages they send. This is a case of morality and world view as the things they choose to publish may jive with some people's ideals and not others which causes a kind of discourse and anger. If the publishing house refused to publish books about differing sexualities or the like, that is their right, however, many people may view such actions as derogatory and old-fashioned. It all depends on where you're coming from and it's definitely something that we have to have a conversation about!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. Yep free speech is the right to criticize. 100% agree. I agree with what you're saying. As bloggers we criticize books all the time. I just don't like how it's turned into bullying people if they want to read a book someone doesn't agree with and calling them awful names or censorship. If a book cantains bad things, we should voice our opinions yes! We want the publishers to publish books we like. But bashing authors or readers who want to read these books.... it doesn't sit well with me. Censoring a book doesn't sit well with me. Taking someone's choice away... Censorship is never good, no matter in what form. And by these people putting so much pressure on the readers who want to read these books, that is a form of censoring. I can't get behind that. Also by the publisher pulling this book, they censored that art.

      Yes, I'm sure the publishing companies are starting to learn what messages to send and the kind that will sell. Yeah, I guess it is a case of mortality and world views. I'm actually starting to feel bad for them, because it's kind of a damned if you do and damned if you don't kind of vibe. Like you said some books will in fact not sit well with some people and others will love it. Everyone is different and we see things differently.

      I'm so sorry if this made no sense (having a hard time trying to put this into words lol) and thank you for being civil with your comment :)

  3. I feel like people aren't understanding what you're trying to say. I don't think you're saying that people can't criticize a book. I think you're saying that people can in fact criticize a book until their face turns blue, HOWEVER others should be able to freely, and without being bullied, PRAISE THAT SAME BOOK until THEIR face turns blue. Correct me if I'm wrong, by the way :)

    It's sad that people don't understand this. I don't object to people writing reviews and stating in their review that they believe that a book is "problematic". But I object the denial of the fact that bookstagram, booktube, and the book blogging community in general has turned into a battleground.

    Also I think that people really place too much emphasis on the "power" of books. I think if people really use books to shape their opinions, thats kind of an issue particularly if its a fictional book. Unless the book is meant to make a societal statement, I find it kinda sketchy that these people are holding these books up to extreme scrutiny when it's clearly meant to be entertainment.

    I am tired of being stereotyped for my identities as well. I look white too but I am also part Native American! And then theres the other side of things where people assume that just because I am nonbinary I must be a raging SJW..... Can't we all just be people? We are more than the categories we identify with. I wish we could look at each other as individuals with lives and experiences.... because that's what we are!

    I probably won't post something like this on my blog because I really don't want to be attacked....which is kinda sad because I don't think you said anything wrong, nor have I said anything wrong. There really is censorship, and a heavily-enforced bias on the views we can have concerning society, even if those views aren't bigoted. Ok I'm gonna stop now before I spend all day on here :P

    Great post!

    1. I wish I could put like a million clap emojis and then the bowing down one as well because you knocked it out of the park! You my wonderful friend got the whole point of this post! (Which is great because I suck at explaining things lol)

      Yes it has turned into some kind of battleground! There is nothing wrong with anyone reviewing a book and saying it's 'problematic' but then those people turn around and bully those that actually want to read this book. People should also be allowed to read and love a book without getting bullied.

      They do place way too much power on books that are for entertainment. These books we read are just for entertainment. They are fiction, like you said.

      Yes! It's the we as individuals have died and we are all lumped together and labeled to fit into a little box and that's just not how people are. I actually was wondering about that where you are nonbinary how people perceive you. I do bet they all think you're an SJW. That has to suck and it's totally unfair to judge someone just based off one thing about them.

      Honestly I don't blame you for not wanting to post something like this, I sat on this post for months, scared to post it, I've even thought of taking it down sometimes because of fear. Though you're right again. You have said nothing wrong at all and neither have I.

      I love you Wren! You freaking rock!