Today I’m gonna talk about a pretty serious plague that affects nudity or just a little more skin. Nudists communities, artists, photographers and models in particular are high risk groups. The plague is called “censorship”. Social media giants are getting more and more conservative and prudish towards anything and everything. From censoring political activists touching on controversial issues/topics to censoring arts and human bodies, it’s obvious that free speech and free expression are like your date. You wish and think it’s there but it’s not. Putting free speech aside, I’m gonna focus on human body censorship, which many people including myself suffer from numerous times. Naturists/nudists are constantly censored in social media and various video hosting platforms. Because of the conflation of nudity and sexuality and the societal inability to separate them, naturism/nudism itself gets lumped in with pornography despite the fact that naturists oppose it, fight for body acceptance (body positiveness), against hypersexualization, normalization of nonsexual nudity and are trying to stop the objectification of the naked form. “Community Standards” or “Nudity policies” are ethnocentric, vague, and inconsistently applied. The platforms need to be honest and say that censorship of nude bodies and sexuality is about what advertisers will and will not accept in terms of proximity to their product advertising. They’re busy sucking the balls of big advertisers and don’t give a damn to the users and content creators. One great example of this is when rules are erroneously applied there is essentially no appeal process. The appeal is just like DMCA claims or 18 U.S.C. §2257 on some small porn sites totally only for decorative purposes and let me be honest with you it ain’t pretty.
Nora Pelizzari, director of communications at the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), argues: “Censorship always impacts those with the least access to power, first and hardest.” Many artists and photographers need to use social media to get their names out there and this unfair censorship is life-altering. Vague policies ultimately lead to vague enforcement. This becomes unfair and arbitrary. The policy is basically nonexistent and the decisions are made based on nothing. They can just censor contents arbitrarily. “I don’t like your contents because I think it’s inappropriate. You show your elbows!!!! That’s too much.” Boom!!! Contents removed and account banned.
Let’s take a look at the nudity policies on those platforms. I’ll use YouTube, Facebook and Instagram as an example because those are the platforms most artists, photographers and nudists content creator present their works.
2. Nudity Policies
Hmmm… besides some of ambiguous/ not clearly defined terms (sometimes it’s impossible. For example, what is art? this is totally subjective), they do allow nudity or “sexually suggestive” contents to some extends right? No they don’t. There are cases where contents do not even in the strictest sense violate their rules but still got removed and the associated account got terminated. Some cases are pure discriminatory towards certain group of people. For example, the censorship of pole dancer on instagram although later they apologized.
So regardless of all BS they wrote in their nudity policy, the real nudity policy is the following.
3. Bizarre examples of censorious actions
Several artists, photographers and nudism content creators have suffered this unfairness and craziness on various platforms like Youtube, facebook or instagram…etc. In fact, there are so many cases. I’ll just share some of them that I know of.
In response to an image of nude women reading magazines, Tunick was reprimanded by Facebook (which owns Instagram) for not using big enough pixels to cover the participants’ nipples. On Spirit’s account, a blurred nude photo was removed but another with a clearly exposed nipple remains. He also spent numerous hours on censoring nude landscape shoots (which I wish one day I could be part of), which I think it’s ridiculous and unnecessary. BTW, he is calling out for more participants to take part in his Stay Apart Together project that is bringing together friends, relatives and lovers in the age of Covid-19.
Another case is Shoog McDaniel, a genderqueer, Florida-born artist who specializes in fat-positive photography, said the social media giant has removed photos that McDaniel PROPERLY CENSORED. I remember this case because I see some other problems other than random censorships. Namely, those platforms‘ content-reporting process allow malicious users to target “hated” bodies in particular fat-shaming/age-shaming/handicapped-shaming where body-positive/nudists images or even accounts got flagged. (Also a recent Jezebel investigation found an account similarly exploiting Instagram’s report feature to remove sex workers from the platform.) McDaniel finds the current landscape dismally unsurprising.
After numerous photos got taken down, the whole account was suddenly banned without any prior notice. After supporters rallying for the cause, his instagram eventually resurfaced. And yet, they never received any concrete answers from Instagram as to why the account was deleted. McDaniel is so nervous about their account being removed permanently, they’ve created an emergency back-up. I think we all need a back-up plan in case things go south, which is highly likely. Also for those on Instgram, Instagram gets smarter on their censorship.
In addition to outright bans, users can have their influence curbed in more subtle ways. Tunick says his posts don’t show up in hashtags. A lag in new followers probably is caused by being “shadowbanned”—blocked from Instagram’s public Discover section.
As mentioned above, apart from classic “No close-up images of the human buttocks”, “No female nipples.” (weird… why female nipples are not allowed? Wondering where the gender equality is…) And “no sexual acts in photography”, Facebook just proved their Community Standards are just a bunch of crap. They say “allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures.” This is bullshit at another level. Although using vaguely written rules to censor contents they don’t like is bad enough, censoring contents that was stated “allowed” in the community standard page is just colosally and embarrassingly stupid.
Take for instance, Missouri artist Tina Garrett. Missouri artist Tina Garrett, whose semi-nude oil painting Lumiere was flagged as obscene several times by Facebook– leading them to temporarily suspend her account. Weird~ since Facebook’s policies suggst that her work should be perfectly acceptable, since the site says it will “allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures.” A photo of an oil painting would clearly meet that standard. Luckily for her, she has received support from other artists, but she’s reportedly had trouble getting anyone at Facebook to explain why they acted the way they did.
As she told the newspaper Lee’s Summit Journal
I would like Facebook to set very clear standards for artists for what is and what isn’t acceptable to post… and I want them to protect us.
The above video is a book trailer for AFTER ABEL AND OTHER STORIES by Michal Lemberger. Yet another example : the nudity in the video violated Facebook’s community standards, even though it was represented in artistic renderings (well… I assume for most people, it’s art but apparently not Facebook staffs) — medieval and Renaissance paintings, drawings, and sculptures of female biblical characters. Guess what? Boom!! banned. She appealed the decision twice, arguing that the video was well within Facebook’s allowance for “photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures,” but the appeal was ultimately declined. Facebook has not responded to a request for comment.
Miraculously youtube allows it. However, if some jerkoffs who’s allergic to human body report this because it “makes them feel uncomfortable”. It’ll be taken down for sure. Posting nude videos in any fashion (for art, documentary or education) is super risky like dancing on a blade. Maybe next sec, you’ll slip and get chopped in half.
Censorship affects everybody. You know, if Instagram/youtube is telling you what kind of art you can look at or what kind of books you can read or what kind of podcasts you can listen to. Why should they be telling you that? Why? Think about that for a second. Like, there’s no reason a company, a corporation should be telling anyone what they should and shouldn’t look at, listen to and read.
4. Double Standard
Another example is this video by Nicki Minaj. The video and the lyrics I believe would be considered “sexually suggestive” for most people. What’s amazing is that this video is not even age-restricted. Yep! that’s right. Not even age-restricted. Weird suddenly this is appropriate for kiddies and simple nudity is not. It appears to me that these platforms besides being busy sucking balls of corporations and their business partners, don’t really care about the welfare of children. They know basically when playing the “child card”, people suspend their rational and logical mind and resort to emotions. This super card was used to hinder the process of legalizing alcohol, legalizing same sex marriage and current attempt to legalize recreational drugs like weed. I’m almost sure that it’s on YouTube because she’s a celebrity. Her fame has brought one billion views to YouTube. Of course, Imagine if the same video were a small project from some unknown artist (just without famous celebrity and cool music), the video would be allowed? No. How do I know that? Because I did a tribute video to Naked boy singing and naked news on my birthday and I got banned so quick as if I just killed somebody or bombed the white house. By the way, I should mention that in my version of naked new, I didn’t strip. I just presented the news naked. I don’t know to me, the stripping part is super sexually suggestive.
5. Conclusion (free floating complaints)
I, myself, got censored a lot (so many times that I lost count) on these platforms and it’s never fair. I apply myself and be very cautious about videos I uploaded. And no warning, no strikes, no prior messages. Just boom. Account terminated and removed.
I feel that determining whether an image or a video is sexually suggestive is totally subjective so “not allowing sexually suggestive” is basically saying nothing. One could use this to censor anything one dislikes from a naked person doing yoga (or simply standing there because of course he/she is waiting to have an orgy party) to a fully-covered guy in his swimsuit or tights (because of course, he’s expressing his leather fetish.. Phew.. So kinky). And… what about people having objectophilia ? For example, we have to censor Eifel Tower for Erika Eiffel.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
From clothed to naked, many people gave me feedbacks about the pictures of myself. It turns out that besides nudity, body position plays a huge role too. It varies a lot from individual to individual. The most important deciding factors determining whether an image is too sexually arousing is whether the person(or object) in those pictures is “the cup of tea” of the viewer. This is also total arbitrary. We are different and into different things. Maybe we should have some rules banning certain body poses too. For example, when lifting legs, the knees should keep at least 30 cms from the torso(chest). Or when sitting down, the distance between two knees mush not exceed 20 cm. This gets ridiculous fast so in my opinion, we should just allow simple nudity (no matter in what positions )or ban all art works and all music because showing a bit of skin or dancing/twerking or singing rebellious/dirty lyrics are perverted. Some will say to ban close up shots of body parts… but to me, they can be arts too. For example, take a look at the following pictures.
Nudity has an aspect of sexuality because we’re mammals. Hence, a naked person being a turn on is almost inevitable, especially the person in the pictures is the cup of tea for the majorities regardless of what he or she is doing or in what position. Censorship for free expression (including nudity) is like censorship for free speech, which I think it’s a big issue on YouTube. Either speech is free or it is not. It means having the right to offend. Otherwise it would not need to be protected. Ghost writers are protected because we have the right to write things so offensive that our identity may need to be protected. In my view, if speech is free, all of the offensive or ‘hate’ speech will settle into it’s fringe by social exclusion. You dont see every book on the shelf saying fucked up shit just because we can. Once the novelty of being free to say what we have been banned for saying wears off, it wont be so attractive to say things just because we can. The laws exist to protect from threats of violence or other criminal acts already. I think speech rules need to go away, and let the legal system do the policing. Otherwise this shifting of what is acceptable today dictating what is allowed will continue to alienate people, no matter what. Grow a pair, and Be the first platform to support free speech. Not just free speech that all people approve of. Free speech is the first ammendment for a reason, and it was well thought through before being implemented.
I wish those giants should just allow nudity (they have already implemented age-restriction features). Maybe just no penetration and no explicit sex acts like masturbation or fellatio. Or just be plain simple honest and not pretend caring about free expression or free speech. We don’t allow nudity on our platform in any way.
I feel particularly sorry for those censored unknown artists, photographers and nudists whose living depends on their works. Yes, it’s true because they need exposure on social media to fund their projects or to get more exposure. The censorship is totally arbitrary and borderline discriminatory. Why do our works get censored? I think all artists, photographers, nudists activists, topless activists, body positive promotors, social nonsexual nude event organizers and anyone in nude communities need to rally together and voice ourselves. We got each other’s back. We stay strong. We rebound.
Thank you guys for reading my blog posts. 😃😃😃 I'm glad if I could offer a sliiiightest help. Let me know what you think about this post~~ and don't forget to share share share 😃
- A Bit of Biblical Nudity Is Too Racy for Facebook
- Shit that got me banned
- Cleo, who runs Topless Topics, is a feminist who fights for equality
- Close-up shots of gender-ambiguous nipples
Tunick partnered with NCAC to force the platform(instagram) to reckon with the arbitrary distinction, through a staged photograph of around a hundred nude participants that carefully adheres to Instagram’s guidelines.
- Hector Martinez, activists of promoting body positivity and normalizing nudity. This is the open letter to youtube from him. Apparently, youtube is deaf.
- Artists take stand against social media censorship
- Fuck Censorship! Social Media’s Hold on Nudity in Art
- ART CENSORSHIP IN 2011: NUDITY, SEXUALITY, RELIGION, POLITICS, AND… MEAT?!
- Yes, The Censorship Of Nude Art Today Is Completely Arbitrary