Aztec’s been blogging with Karen Scott over at Karen Knows Best for a while now.  I very much appreciate her responding to my plea for guest bloggers while I’m away at Disney with the rottens.


Sexual Content without Warning

There are often discussions—in romance blogland and elsewhere—about labeling. How labels are imperfect at best; how often they pigeonhole things that cannot be defined accurately with one or two key words; how labels do not convey enough nuances to serve their purpose.

These arguments, funnily enough, apply to labels in a variety of areas—books, movies, theater, music, art of any kind.

In the case of books, I happen to agree that, for the most part, labels are both too broad (romance) and too confining (black author), and that a better system of classification is needed.

But there are times when labels should be used and often are not.

For example, one follows a link from a comment in a blog. Not a link to something that has been specifically mentioned (such as, “go here for the background on that” or “you can find that book here”), but the link on a commenter’s name.

You know, you have read so-and-so’s comments for a while and have grown curious enough to go take a look at their blog/livejournal/website.

And whammo! Sexual content without warning. Images, language, video clips, voice clips, what have you.

No, it’s not a front to a p0rn website, it’s someone’s actual blog/livejournal/website.

And by golly, this is their space and they have every right to put up whatever content they want, right? (well, unless it violates their internet service provider’s terms of service, but lets take it as fact it doesn’t, for the sake of the argument)

Yeah, over there on the far right*** there is a little, no more than an inch square, graphic saying something about the content not being appropriate for minors.

(***please notice that a) the blog in question was written in English by a native English speaker; that b) in English and most other Western languages, one reads from left to right. Am I far off in thinking that the warning was both an afterthought and a taunt?)

But let us forget too, for the moment, the minors. What about adults? Isn’t that a bit of an ambush for those who wander in, unsuspecting?

I mean, I’m all for people doing whatever they want with and to each other as long as everybody involved is a) legally adult, and b) able to consent. But if someone is following a link blind, so to speak, wouldn’t blasting their eyeballs with high octane personal sexual information and images violate that person’s right to choose?

Or is the consent implicit in clicking (following the link), even though there was no indicator of what to expect by doing so? (i.e., nothing in the url would give it away)

Perhaps I’m too “politically correct” by expecting people to have some consideration for others and provide some sort of buffer (which, I understand, is not that difficult to do—most softwares have a way of hiding stuff “below the fold” so to speak) or, at the very least, some sort of warning label regarding their blog/livejournal/website’s content.



You can read more from Aztec over at Karen’s blog

And my two cents-I agree.   People have a right to know what they are getting into, and before they are already lost in it.  There’s no point in putting up a disclaimer that the site contains adult content if the content is blasted at you the second you follow the link.  The disclaimer is to give you a choice, or to warn kids/parents/etc.  It’s rather like setting a house on fire and then running inside and screeching FIRE!!!!!!