Imagine walking into the grocery store to buy your favorite fruit and being told at checkout that you aren’t allowed to buy it. It’s not good for you, that fruit. It might make you want to do something crazy, like mix it with other fruits or, heaven forbid, something savory. You will be forever tainted and morally compromised. Your children will bear the mark of your fruity ways and so on and so forth.
I’m oversimplifying, to be sure, but this whole PayPal censorship debacle is as irritating to me as a flea bite. Or a pimple on my butt.
There are a ton of well-articulated posts from educated writers, bloggers and the like on why what PayPal is doing is wrong. I’ve linked to some of them at the bottom of this post. I encourage you to read them and get involved.
The bottom line is, PayPal has no right to decide what is morally proper for consumption, no right to tell me, an educated adult, what I can and cannot buy. By tossing down the Terms of Service card and forcing companies like Smashwords, AllRomanceEbooks and others to pull titles that offend PayPal’s tender sensibilities, they are violating one of my fundamental rights – the right to make my own decisions.
Erotic writers, even those who venture into “darker” territories like non-consensual sex, incest and bestiality, have a legal right to sell their stories. I’m not the first person to say it, but it bears repeating: there is no law against that type of content. Whether you find it distasteful or not, they have as much right to publish it as the reader has to buy it.
Since when did PayPal decide they needed to regulate my purchases? And if they think those topics are too much for me to handle, who’s to say they won’t decide that anything other than missionary sex is too much? How far will I allow them to go in deciding what content is available?
This, more than anything, is the issue for me.
PayPal’s slogan is “The fastest way to send money,” not “The fastest way to send money for things we deem morally proper.” If I want to read about some guy making it with a horse (I don’t, but that’s beside the point), that’s my business. I wouldn’t let my bank refuse to pay because they take issue with what I’m purchasing. I’d be at my local branch raising all kinds of Godzilla-type ruckus.
And that’s what needs to be done in this scenario. Don’t think about it in terms of “who cares if that offensive stuff disappears,” think of it in terms of “what happens when they find my stuff offensive?” Because that’s what it boils down to. When you allow a company to draw a line like that, you’re one step away from relinquishing your freedom.
Freedom to write, freedom to read, freedom to choose.
Think about it.
http://edenconnorwrites.blogspot.com/?zx=85ea63195a81fe89 - A superb interview with Remittance Girl by Eden Connor.
http://remittancegirl.com/ - Remittance Girl’s main page, where you can find a ton of fantastic posts and comments that get to the core of the matter
http://www.bannedwriters.com/ - An excellent source of information from writers, readers and others affected by PayPal’s decision.
http://eroticwriter.wordpress.com/ - Raz’s site, which has information scattered throughout, totally worth getting his take.
Slippery Slope Part 2: Why Frogs Boil
Thoughts of the (non)Evils of Erotica by Esmeralda Greene
In Defense of Sex by Lucy Morgan
Erotica Vs Porn – What is the Difference by Hazel Mills
Erotica – A Medium for Writers by Mary Chi
Banning Book and Blocking Authors by Michelle McCleod
How I Became a Dirty Writer and Why by Sommer Marsden
Paypal, Bookstrand and Censorship by Marlene Sexton
Paypal, Bookstrand and Censorship Part 2 by Marlene Sexton
Paypal is at it Again by Marlene Sexton
Why Erotica is a Wonderful Thing by Evelyn Rae
Erotica is Not Bad by Raven York
Don’t Judge Me by Kiki Howell
The Importance of Being Erotic by Giselle Renarde
Writing Made Me a Better Person by Giselle Renarde
S-E-X by Alessia Brio
Censorship in the Land of the Free by Molly Wens
Big Erotica Freeze is Coming by ME Hydra
PayPal, eBay, Visa, and MasterCard Equate All Kinky Erotica with Pr0n by SV Rowle
In Defense of Erotica by Leighann Phoenix
But Paypal I Thought We Were Friends by Sable Jordan
Marketplace Censors by Candace Blevins
On the Front Lines of Erotica by Jennifer Campbell
I’m Not 18 Anymore by Giselle Renarde