It always seems that I’m blogging when I’m pissed off about something. And usually, it’s something that might seem pretty trivial in retrospect, but tonight I saw something that not only angered me, but disturbed me as well. The truth is, we all tend to think that we live in a modern world where everyone is given basic human rights regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation– whatever. We hear stories about minorities being extremely oppressed, but it always seems that these happenings are in backward countries with medieval sensibilities. Not in modern, advanced societies where everyone has televisions, computers and the internet. Right? WRONG.
I read a story on Buzzfeed tonight. It was brought to my attention by my writer friend, Selah Janel, whom I met a long time ago when we were just kids writing Moulin Rouge fan fiction. Well, she was a kid, I was already married. Yeah, I’m old. But I did marry young! Anyway, I digress. The two of us have been sisters in fan fiction for a whole and so this story floored us both. Apparently, the Chinese government is on a witch hunt to prosecute WOMEN who write erotic fiction. Worse, they seem to really be targeting slash fiction writers (if you don’t know, slash fiction is m/m erotic romance written primarily by female writers for female readers). This tells me two things, kittens: the Chinese government is discriminating against women and the Chinese government is discriminating against homosexuality. Now, those are broad generalizations, so do let me elaborate.
Erotic fiction online is very popular in China, apparently. So popular, in fact, that readers are willing to pay subscriptions for serial novels. Some are fan fiction based, others are original. For the most part, these sites do not have any explicit images or video, its merely the written word. The Chinese government has shut down many sites already and arrested their staff. They’ve also managed to track down authors and arrest them in their homes. They claim that what these girls are writing is indecent and corrupting the minds of Chinese youth (paging Mr. Socrates!). That the stories advocate violence and promiscuity and give youth a distorted image of what healthy sexuality is. Lemme give you an image of the average female arrested for these stories. Young, between 18-25. Socially awkward (some, not all). Many of them isolated and living at home with their parents. Shy. Sexually inexperienced. Clearly we’re not talking about Larry Flint or Bob Guccione (editors of Hustler and Penthouse, respectively) or Pauline Reage (author of The Story of O). These are young girls who are desperately trying to express themselves and for, most likely, the FIRST time feeling that they have talent and worth. That they can do something that no one else can do. That they have a voice that others might be interested in. And ultimately, that’s what the Chinese government is afraid of. Once women learn to read, write and discover their vaginas, they become dangerous. And Heaven forbid if they express the thought that homosexuality is OK.
This scares me, kids. I’m afraid for these girls. I’m afraid for the youth of China. I’m afraid for what this could mean for the rest of the world. I’m afraid of the sins of our past being revisited over and over. Freedom of speech and expression is the cornerstone of our society. We may not like what people say all the time, but most of us would fight to defend their right to say it. It bothers me that the citizens of other countries don’t enjoy these basic human rights. That’s not geocentrism, its truth. So the next time we decide to get our panties in wad because we’re being FORCED to have medical insurance or FORCED to register our guns or FORCED to go to school, just remember, kiddos– it could always be worse.
The Buzzfeed Article, if you’re interested: http://www.buzzfeed.com/kevintang/inside-chinas-insane-witch-hunt-for-slash-fiction-writers