Does anyone else find that Atlas Obscura has gone a little too conservative in making sure the site is family-friendly? I do believe the site should be PG-13 so to speak, but I find that the site has gone more restrictive as of late. There’s been a definite change in editorial policy in the last couple of years. a couple of years. I noticed how some of my work has been edited.
The Coney Island Mermaid Parade, largely inspired by Mardi Gras, is known for topless mermaids. Public baring of breasts is legal in NYC and the parade is known for this. I did not include any real nudity but did include a pic of women wearing pasties like how a burlesque dancer wears. Nothing particularly vulgar. Pics were removed and when the article was shared on social media, people often commented on how odd it was that the pics were so conservative for what is often a wild event.
This article was so edited and rewritten, I barely recognize this as my own work. The original idea for this was to emphasize how food scholars debated how much Italian sex workers contributed to cuisine. In doing research, I found many culinary sites mention that the seafood ingredients as compared to the scent of a woman and therefore had aphrodisiac effects. Food sites aren’t known to be particularly edgy and the topic was discussed in a mature manner. I used innuendo to playfully mention the theory to avoid being vulgar, but it was removed. The post now reads more like a stale Food Network article with a cliche line about the ingredients having “a one-two punch.”
This is rather silly. I recounted the legend of a dragon that was killed by a knight who kicked him in the anus. My headline, “A stone wall commemorates the legend of a ferocious dragon who literally got his ass kicked by a knight,” was considered obscene and was replaced by a real generic line about a dragon vanquished by a knight. It didn’t catch your attention or was funny as the original line. I had to go back and edit it to replace "ass’ to “butt” in order to reatin the original humor. I thought this was odd considering “Ragged Ass Road” https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/ragged-ass-road was included on the site before with no complaints.
When I asked editors about this I was told that standards changed since Atlas Obscura was now being used by teachers to educate children. I work as a coordinator at the New York Hall of Science and I have seen Atlas Obscura children’s books sold in the gift shop. I believe that also is a contributing factor to the site’s more conservative outlook lately.
Now I don’t think that Atlas Obscura should be adults only, but I feel that at times editors maybe a little too overzealous. At times it seems Atlas Obscura is more conservative in their content than what you can find in a Disney movie. It could be very restrictive when writing on certain cultural traditions such as Mardi Gras or tribal societies where participants are not fully clothed or in writing about attractions like sex museums or burlesque theaters. Does anyone else ever come across difficulty in writing on a certain topic that before was fine but now is more restricted?