15 Views on Boobs and Censorship Around the World
If there’s a fundamental law of governments, it’s that absolute power corrupts absolutely. A more fundamental law of human nature is that people of every color, creed and nationality want to see boobies as much as possible. In their effort to control all aspects of life in their countries, governments with too much power often seek to limit people’s access to good old-fashioned boobage. But of course what’s actually important is the porn. So here are 15 countries and where they rank in relative tata-tacularness.
Iran gets kind of a bad rap for being a totalitarian theocracy hell bent on destabilizing one of the most war-torn regions on the planet as well as introducing nuclear weapons to the mix. Well-known as a country that met democracy at a bar, didn’t really enjoy the experience and now never calls, Iran has become increasingly worse after a series of heated protests in the summer of 2009.
As an Islamic Republic where the imams have final say on just about everything, pornography and anything remotely lewd were already banned. After the riots, Twitter and Facebook suffered the same fate. Add to that the usual litany of items that a government embarrassed by its own cruelty will ban (print, TV, etc.), and Iran has become a country that somehow expects to develop a nuclear bomb while handing its scientists a Quran and a physics textbook from 1538 that explains the scientific method as:
2) Pray More
3) A heliocentric universe is heretical
But hey, they have “highly advanced” flying boats that, as one journalist put it, look like the aborted love child of a jetski and a bumper car. Take that, Science!
Boob Rating: 1/10. You can’t get much worse than a country that will straight kill you for owning porn and that, when college students say that sometimes people make mistakes, throw them in prison for questioning the fallibility of Muhammad.
Zimbabwe has been effectively ruled autocratically for more than a decade by Robert Mugabe, a man who doesn’t even try not to look like Hitler. Mugabe’s human rights violations are so numerous and varied, they have their own Wikipedia page, and like every egomaniacal leader, he brutally exercises the club of censorship against even the most minor criticism.
Despite the fact that Mugabe certainly deserves criticism for having stolen land from farmers and overseen an interest rate several thousand fold above what’s considered normal, he’s incredibly sensitive to even a relatively mild jab. Anyone expressing opposition views or criticism of the government is immediately arrested and imprisoned. At this point it is important to point out that “arrested” in Zimbabwe usually means the police show up to your house in the middle of the night with no warning, savagely beat you, then drag your bloody corpse to prison.
And on top of that, they won’t even let you have porn.
Boob Rating: 2/10. While they won’t kill you for pornography, they’ll often use it as a flimsy excuse to trump-up otherwise baseless charges.
Before you start thinking that arbitrary government censorship is solely the domain of third-world governments, don’t forget about Australia. For some inexplicable and unintuitive reason, the land down under has one of the most restrictive censorship regimes on the planet. Virtually any and all new media must first pass the muster of the Classification Board. The Board applies a rating not unlike those given by the MPAA in the United States. The difference is that the board can choose not to give a rating (effectively making the item illegal), and virtually every state inside Australia has banned material carrying the X18+ rating.
Well that’s fine because who cares about these things nowadays anyway? If you pay for porn/don’t use the Internet to satisfy your deepest most twisted fetishes, you’re considered a sap. Well contrary to all sanity, Australia thought of that too and decided to start blocking websites. All of this is carried under the pretense of protecting children and preventing the dissemination of child pornography which makes total sense because in every country in the world we filter communication based on who we might think would allegedly be using it. That’s why we confiscate criminals’ phones and shut down service to all high-crime areas.
Boob Rating: 7/10. In all fairness, the point is somewhat moot. Possessing all sorts of weird stuff is still legal, as is ordering it from somewhere where it is legal. And any government-mandated firewall is little more than a broad, symbolic joke to any citizen with a modicum of tech savvy. Just ask the alleged millions of Chinese Facebook users who log on regularly in a country where the website is technically banned.
As far as freedom goes, India deserves praise for remaining steadfastly democratic and generally allowing free exchange of information in film, print, and on the airwaves. That doesn’t, however, mean that India doesn’t have a long history of censorship. In something of a reverse of many other developing nations, Indian censors are accused of being hyper sensitive toward negative depictions of Islam.
Like so many censorship regimes, enforcement and prosecution are spotty and inconsistent. One day the media will be accused of whitewashing Islam, the next they’ll be accused of refusing to report on banned separatist groups. While this is not exactly the best way to set up a consistent and enforceable body of law, it leads to a generally laziness toward prosecution of pornography in a society that would otherwise be hesitant to accept it. Softcore porn is essentially sold on every corner as long as it is hidden and available by special request. Adult films have sometimes been aired, and boobies are on full display in certain controlled areas if you’re over 18.
Boob Rating: 6/10. India often gets a bad rap as a country with adorably quaint taboos, but porn is there if you’re willing to look for it and the government has generally adopted a hands off policy. On top of that, aside from a half dozen isolated incidents, the Internet remains widely uncensored so any porn prohibitions are irrelevant anyway.
Often viewed as an anything-goes frontier land full of the most beautiful people on the planet, Brazil actually has a spotty record with government censorship. As recently as the 80s, films were banned for being viewed as an “insult to the Christian faith“, and for most of the countries history, a torrid back and forth has occurred between citizens and government as to what exactly is acceptable.
The one area where censorship is still legally sanctioned is in regards to racist content. Being an incredibly diverse country of Europeans, Native South Americans and Blacks, not wanting to allow racial hatred to be stirred and stoked seems somewhat understandable. The only problem is that this means that what is “racist” is defined by popularly-elected representatives who may or may not have any minority constituents.
Boob Rating: 7/10. While there are plenty of reasons to knock Brazil and their recent censorship past, porn has been legal for quite a while and generally has little to no restrictions. In fact, Brazil is considered something of a Mecca for gay and transsexual porn.
Some countries maintain a tight control on the media as a means to reinforce their iron grip on society. This generally leads to the outlawing of opposition media outlets and anything deemed offensive to the fickle taste of whoever is at the top. In a democracy, as we can see with Brazil and India, what matters most is what keeps the people happy. Sensitive issues such as religious and racial tension bear the brunt of censorship.
Things are similar in highly-Catholic Ireland. Unsurprisingly, this means that they are a bit touchy about anything involving terrorism, abortion or blasphemy. While controls of abortion and homosexuality have loosened, blasphemy is still codified in law as being illegal. This would seem like a bizarrely backward move for a country if anyone expected it to be taken seriously at all.
Boob Rating: 8/10. Despite the fact that they’re very Catholic, the only restriction on porn is the relatively mild rule that it cannot depict an act which is illegal in the state. While this may disappoint those with a loitering fetish, most Irish are able to get along just fine.
If you’re a regular Internet user (and male) it might surprise you to learn that pornography is technically illegal in Russia. So where does the vast glut of Russian pornography come from? Well it turns out that when they were writing the law, the Russian government said that “pornography” was illegal, but kind of forgot to define exactly what that was. This leads to a Russia packed with porn and sex stores which are ceremoniously raided by police, then promptly released.
Oh and if you care about other types of censorship, being a journalist is an incredibly dangerous profession in Russia, especially if you aim any barb in the direction of Vladimir Putin, enjoy seafood, and don’t get superpowers from the toxic Polonium 210 radiation.
Boob Rating: 5/10. It’s taking a while for this once-authoritarian government to wrap its head around the concept of “freedom of the press”, and has been flirting with one-party rule for several years. Though they tried to outlaw pornography, one has to consider that in country headed by so many control freaks, maybe the omission that allowed smut to flourish wasn’t entirely unintentional.
There will always be governments staffed with control freaks, countries full of the uber-pious, and people who really just need to get laid out there in the world. Fortunately, there are some countries who really understand the value of boobies and being able to say the word “Fuck” every once in a fucking while. One of the few restrictions on broadcast media is a so-called “watershed” period from 6:00am to 9:00pm during which material is generally kept PG.
The truly funny part about Canadian censorship is that even when they go out of their way to censor the F-word and edit out Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction, actual Canadians apparently don’t care. Despite the profanity and violence of The Sopranos, many more Canadians wrote to complain about the show’s negative depictions of Italians rather than its foul mouth. During the 2004 Superbowl, more complaints about sexist beer commercials were fielded than complaints about Janet Jackson’s exposed tit.
Boob Rating: 9/10. The only reason you don’t get a ten, Canada, is because then you’d be better than America — and that’s just not fair. We have Mississippi.
So between the words “prolific”, “oppressive” or “totalitarian”, which would you use to describe censorship in Pakistan? Psyche the answer is actually “nonexistent“. Okay just kidding that’s only what is technically spelled out in the laws. The reality, of course, is much more gruesome. Journalists are regularly imprisoned, beaten and/or executed (though presumably this has lessened since Musharraf left power).
Like many Islamic countries, breaking some of the typical taboos of Islamic society is a quick way to land yourself in a heap of trouble. Wikipedia, Facebook, and Twitter were all banned because they allowed citizens to look up depictions of the prophet Muhammad, and/or contained unfavorable depictions of Islam in general. Porn is, of course, highly illegal, and all Internet traffic is theoretically controlled by the government.
This is all mightily hilarious because according to reports from Google, Pakistanis are absolute porn fiends. Not only do they score high on generally looking for porn, but they come out ahead of just about everyone else in their love of bestiality and sexual violence.
Boob Score: 3/10. It’s impossible to give a high score to a government that seems to truly hate journalists and tits, even if we know all of them go home and spend hours watching stuff that would make even jaded westerners blush.
The United States, especially recently, has endured a slew of accusations that it is on a path to totalitarian infringement of privacy and free-speech rights. While America certainly has a long history of being the big kid in the room that feels like he doesn’t need to justify himself to anyone, by comparison with other countries, America actually has a decent record on Censorship.
Putting aside the FCC for a second, cable TV gives instant access to all the unregulated violence and boobies an American could want. Add to that they fact that attempts by the government to censor the Internet have gone down again and again. The US is one of the few countries in the world that allows you to say just about anything unless your words lead directly to a violent act. So saying “everyone in Congress should have their intestines pulled out and boiled in front of them” is legally protected speech. Even hate speech that 99% of the country disagrees with and finds to be the height of disgusting is still protected speech. Not even most of Europe allows that.
Not to mention the fact that virtually all non-“obscene” porn (read: child pornography) is legal, and that the porn industry is a $10 billion a year business.
Boob Rating: 10/10. USA! USA! USA!
Malaysia can be a touch schizophrenic about what kind of a country they are. On the one hand, they are a recently developed majority-Muslim country. So at times their censorship regime resembles something a bit more reactionary and primitive. On the other hand, they are trying to develop a modern, attractive knowledge-based economy–something that requires open dialogue and intelligent reform.
But in all honesty, if they’re trying to make a more open and accepting society, they are doing a horrible job of it. Dozens of publications have been banned each year, anything that can be construed as offensive to Islam, even the band Linkin Park and Mariah Carey were asked to put on more clothing when they recently performed in Malaysia. Madonna was banned altogether.
Print versions of pornography are all required to be censored, some in the most literal way possible using a black pen to mark out anything objectionable. But let’s be honest, that’s books and magazine, so while you’re parents and grandparents may be SOL, if you’re reading this you’re halfway to porn or are already watching it.
Boob Rating: 4/10. Malaysia’s on its way and has compelling reasons to free up its citizens, but still has taken many a sharpie to some boobs like your overzealous Christian friend who found your porn stash. No matter what country you’re in, that’s unconscionable.
A tiny country in the Caribbean Sea with a population less that the greater New York area that inexplicably engenders fear in Americans, Cuba is nonetheless a pretty awful place for free speech. Second only to China in the number of journalists it imprisons, the Cuban government has been known to come down harshly on the faintest whiff of criticism. In fact, you can be thrown in jail if, for any reason whatsoever, some government official finds you offensive.
The amount of controls on the Internet in Cuba are easily the most restrictive in the world. Not only is it purposefully designed to be prohibitively expensive, but is restricted to a simple e-mail server and in-country browser. Also as soon as a “dissent keyword” is typed, the computer will lock down and inform the user that this has been done for their own safety. When asked to justify such a stultifying regime, ambassador Miguel Ramirez quite seriously said that, among other reasons, it was to protect Cubans from access to “Satanic Cults”.
Unlike most other countries on this list which restrict pornography, but don’t have tight enough reigns on the Internet to restrict porn entirely, Cubans are isolated on a small island that few ship to and virtually zero internet reaches. The best they might have is a rotting porn magazine from the 60s–which it is illegal to possess. There’s protecting your people from hateful or disgusting influences, and then there’s Cuba which deprives its people of a multitude of freedoms, the most important of which is access to boobs.
Boob Rating:: 0/10. There’s a special place in hell for you Castro.
For 48 years, Burma has been under the heel of a military junta that overthrew the democratically-elected government in the early 60s. In terms of freedom of speech, it ranks near the bottom, constantly trading places with Iran, Cuba and North Korea. Every media outlet is tightly controlled by the government, if not outright owned by them. So tight and obsessive is the junta’s control that, even after a recent cyclone slammed the country, they refused to allow foreign workers or aid into the country.
But thankfully to the gods of poonanny, access to the Internet is not totally restricted for Burmese. In fact, government filtering applies mostly to pro-democracy websites and those explicitly critical of the government. This is irrelevant though, since most Burmese are too poor to afford a computer (which has to be licensed by the government) or Internet. Cybercafes are growing in popularity however, and though owners are supposed to strictly monitor browsing, enforcement is lax.
Boob Rating 1/10. While not explicitly attacking porn, maintaining a stranglehold on the country has deprived its citizens of the resources with which to purchase porn. Also basic foodstuffs necessary to prevent malnutrition.
China is a perfect example of the fact that censorship, even when applied by an authoritarian, incredibly powerful government, is nonetheless never monolithic. While officially, all pornography is banned, even a quick perusal of the bootleggers in Beijing will yield some softcore material. The penalty for any pornographic material is relatively minor, though one particularly large purveyor was recently sentenced to life in prison.
The Great Firewall of China blocks just about every porn site you’d like to access, but as mentioned earlier, only the slightest amount of tech savvy, or even knowledge of English, can get you to all the porn you can handle. And recently, with no warning or announcement, the citizens of China were shocked to find that suddenly they could access all sorts of porn. There’s been no explanation for this thus far, but as one commentator put it, “Maybe they are thinking that if Internet users have some porn to look at, then they won’t pay so much attention to political matters.” Of course they’re still one of the world’s largest imprisoners of journalists, and any pro-democracy websites or government criticism are still blocked.
Boob Rating: 5/10. Despite it still being technically illegal to possess porn, at least the government has its enforcement priorities right.
The best way to describe Japan’s censorship is also a word that applies to Japan on the whole: basketcase. Before the Meiji restoration and the subsequent westernization of Japan, public nudity was actually widely accepted within certain bounds. It was only afterward that puritanical standards of propriety emerged.
In modern times, censorship is prohibited by the Japanese Constitution, but limits on pornography remain in the strangest fashion. Standards have vacillated back and forth between “It’s okay to show everything” to “it’s okay to show everything except pubic hair” to “MOSAICS FOR EVERYONE!” This of course being Japan, government regulations simply led to stranger porn that couldn’t be exactly classified under the law. While it may be illegal to show an uncensored penis, an uncensored tentacle that looks suspiciously like a penis is apparently Kosher.
The important caveat to all this is the fact that Japan is one of the most connected countries on the planet. They have cell phones that have more bandwidth than your landline that can also link with giant robots that carry them to school and work. When you have T1 line within arms reach at all times, the question of “where do I get my porn” is as ridiculous as asking “where do I get a drink?” while you’re drowning.
Boob Rating: 8/10. Porn of all stripes is everywhere in Japan, even if it may or may not resemble what most people would call “sex”.