NSFW is unmandated, unlegislated censorship — there's no ballot to punch, no senator to harangue.
The great majority of NSFW warnings are the result of unconscious class bias, with the conceit of American ethnocentrism. It's made a mockery of out of journalism and the First Amendment.
NSFW and its slippery slope of "assumptions" leads to stories and ideas of all kinds being banned, firewalled, off the grid in places from universities to major wire services.
Let's change our own responses.
1. Unless you would tag The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and Art World as "NSFW" —don't tag anyone else who covers the same turf of sexual politics, erotic culture, and the full breadth of the English language. And yes, those editors publish bare breasts— in some cases, every issue.
Think about the media class distinctions every time, and you'll find yourself exercising freedom of speech. It's that easy.
2. What if you want to tell your dear old fragile Aunt Dot about a spaghetti recipe, but you're worried she might take offense at the rest of the site, or worse, blame you for impropriety?
Try being direct and nonchalant:
Dear Aunt Dot, Thought you'd love this recipe. [Susie's] site is feminist/leftwing/sassy/bohemian, but I thought you'd like it.
3. Sick of the false consciousness that runs this rating game?
Start a new labeling system that mocks the whole concept. Yep, it's time to announce: NSFP: Not Safe For Prudes.
Feel free to stamp it everywhere, or use the Li'l Bandit logo above!
4. What if you're reading a site at work and one of your co-workers/supervisors interrupts you with a shocked glance and demands to know what you're up to?
Again, imagine you were reading one of the magazines above. You would say, "Why, I"m reading an article about Kurt Eichenwald going off the deep end in New York magazine... what about you?"
Do not take the "prude bait" that there is something particularly unusual about what you're reading at your desk. It's a big world out there.
5. You work with someone who's a leering, porn-obsessed pig who all but rubs himself down with hand lotion every time you need to borrow a paper clip.
Solution: The problem is boundaries and privacy. That's how you address the problem.
Many of us don't like to listen to bigoted, narcissistic, neurotic demands for attention all day, but NFSW lunacy isn't working for anyone.
The creeps don't stop being creepy, no matter how many indexes you give them, and meanwhile, American political and cultural discussion is reduced to infantilism.
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Thank you so much... Susie