For as long as people have been creating art, there have been other people trying to censor said art. Whether it be the Catholic Church or the FCC, there are always those who believe they know what others can handle in terms of storytelling and graphic depictions. That is doubly so in America, but with an odd twist: Here in the great old U.S. of A, you can be as violent as you want in television and not even get the slightest complaint. Yet when it comes to sexuality, we still severely lag behind our European brethren.
American TV is dominated by violence right now. TV shows like "Fargo," "True Detective," "Hannibal," and "The Walking Dead" are enormously popular and rife with violence, gore and graphic imagery. "True Detective" gets a pass, as it’s on HBO and doesn't answer to anybody in the matter of censorship (which means that sometimes they go a teensy bit overboard) but all those other shows are just regular cable. And they are ridiculously gory. Now, that’s not a problem, in and of itself, but it becomes one when you factor in the fact that while violence is often gratuitous, any form of sexuality is neutered to the extreme.
"Hannibal" was particularly violent (it’s hard not to be when your show is about a serial killer who sometimes eats people). In fact, there was a moment in an episode where naked bodies were presented in the background of the scene. Censors declared the bodies to be too racy for television. But instead of removing the corpses, the producers just CGI’d in some more blood to cover their nakedness. They literally threw in more gore to hide the natural human body.
Perhaps our tolerance for gore in television is a symptom of the fact that we, as Americans, are too desensitized to violence. Maybe, if we lived in a country where there wasn’t a mass shooting every other day or so, we wouldn’t be so keen on celebrating killing. But that is neither here nor there. What’s truly confounding is that we’re more accepting of violence than something natural, like sex.
They don’t have this problem in Europe. On the other side of the Atlantic, the human body is celebrated and violence is censored. Perhaps the world as a whole should come to an understanding that censorship of any sort is not conducive to art or media, and we should cease trying to enact our own boundaries on other people. Especially when you consider that the ridiculous amount of censorship that sex faces can lead to sexual repression and unhealthy ideas about purity and too high of a tolerance for violence.