Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Freedom to Not...

It seems to me that we are gradually losing the freedom to "not".  Not what?  Not just about anything.  Not doing something, all other things being equal, should not require justification.  Look at some of the following.

Facebook considers they are allowed to share your information unless you jump through complicated hoops to change this default permission.  Google want to claim every book they can find unless the author tracks them down and tells them not to.  Legislation has been repeatedly introduced to deem pictures "orphaned" and free for use unless the creator is registered or really easy to find at the drop of a hat.  Piracy is rampant and enforcement of copyright haphazard and dependent on the copyright holder being willing to drag a case to court (when that is even possible).

Also consider a recent ruling that if you are in a situation where police have no right to question you, they are allowed to keep questioning you until you specifically tell them that you don't want to answer any questions.  That's right, just not answering the questions is not considered enough of a clue that you don't want to answer questions.  You have to speak up to claim the right to remain silent.

Supreme court nominee Elana Kagan is grilled.  No boyfriend or husband?  Are you a lesbian?  Why are you ashamed of being a lesbian?  Are you homophobic?  If you are not a lesbian why don't you have a spouse of lover? 

Well, you know what?  Sex is not compulsory.  The only kind of sex that is not acceptable in the public sphere, is none at all (with not wanting to talk about it running a close second).  If she wants the nomination that one thing she does not want to admit to is not having sex and--shock, horror--perhaps not wanting to.

It may seem an odd point to make on an erotic romance blog but every person, any person, has the right to "not".  To not speak, to not be stolen from, to not have sex, and to not talk about whatever sex they may or may not be having.  The rights to not belong to the pirate, the internet giant, the media, the police, the social networking site, or the public.  Rights belong to the individual--inalienable rights over their information, their creations, their intimate activities so that it is their choice what they share and with whom.

People can want to know, can ask to know, anything that might satisfy their prurient interest.  But--as ever--a woman (or a man) has the right to say no, or to say nothing.  And to not have that refusal or that silence used against them.

1 comment:

Black Label Books said...

I couldn't agree with you more. It is pathetic that people have to state over and over :"Don't steal from me!" or "It is none of your business!"

As soon as someone says either of those things, it is assumed we have something to hide. I admit I do- I want to hide my political beliefs, my religious beliefs, and anything else I deem no one else's business from the limelight.

But- in doing that, I'm (and anyone else that does so) suspect.

Very thought provoking.