I signed in to facebook today to find a big, full screen message from facebook informing me that one of my pictures had been removed from my painting page. They didn’t say I’d done anything wrong, just that something has been removed and that I could review the community standards if I liked. They also said that if I thought the content had been wrongly removed I should just upload it again.
All very straightforward and, to be honest, I wasn’t all that surprised.
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a pretty saucy picture and, although it’s a painting, lightheartedly designed to address attitudes towards gender in relationships & posted in order to share a bit of what I do, I won’t deny, it’s sexy.
Once I’d got past facebook’s greeting message though I was met by several messages from friends and followers asking where the picture had gone and how they thought it was outrageous that the picture had been removed.
I follow a lot of Artists on facebook, some of which have had terrible trouble posting pictures of their work due to facebook’s seemingly stringent ‘no female nipples’ policy. All of the Artists I’m thinking of paint/sculpt tasteful celebrations of the human form for a living and are consistently forced to censor their images due to complaints that they contravene ‘community standards’ and are not suitable to publish. My painting is very contentious in comparison. I don’t exclusively paint nudes either so it doesn’t affect my business much (I don’t generally post pictures of the nudes I paint because they are mostly private commissions). For some other painters I follow though, not being able to post pictures of the (absolutely stunning, tasteful, helpful) work they do for a living is a genuine hassle.
I have a friend who has done an incredible amount to change attitudes towards the standard, idealised representation of the female form who is CONSTANTLY censored, not because his message is controversial (it isn’t) but because his work depicts honest (totally non sexualised) representations of the female form.
It seems that a painting of a nipple is somehow worse than seeing a video of an actual person get stabbed to death in the street, according to the way facebook implement their community standards.
Okay, so I understand that not everyone wants to see a picture of a painting of a tongue on a nipple but my (potentially misguided) assumption is that people who have actively signed up to follow my facebook page have done so because they want to see pictures of my (sometimes slightly graphic) paintings.
I’m not bothered per se. It’s only facebook, I can upload it again if I like and I got to make this neat blog post about it.
It’s just baffling that a picture of a painting of a nipple is considered somehow MORE or equally harmful to, say, a few particular facebook-based online echo chambers that persistently post doctored images of members of the public and outright lies designed to incite racial hatred and fear. Feel free to discuss 🙂