Thursday, July 17, 2014

WTF! Instagram And Facebook Bans Pictures Of Post-Pregnancy Bodies

The #StopCensoringMotherhood hashtag fights against social media sites that keep removing pictures of “women showcasing themselves in a nonsexual way.” Facebook, however, defends its strict policy against any child nudity. When her photo project 4th Trimester Bodies went viral last year, founder Ashlee Wells Jackson was excited to celebrate women’s post-pregnancy bodies, “stretches, stripes, scars and all.”
Since starting the project, Jackson and her partner Laura Weetzie Wilson have photographed nearly 500 women, filmed a documentary, and signed a three-book deal — all in an effort to embrace how the body changes after pregnancy.

As part of the project, Jackson and Wilson have posted images of women’s postpartum bodies (like the ones above and below) on their Facebook and Instagram accounts. But now, after images that include nonsexual nudity or child nudity have been removed from their social media accounts, they are struggling to keep 4th Trimester Bodies alive.

The project’s Instagram account has been shut down nine times, Jackson said. And she’s been locked out of her Facebook account multiple times. / Via Ashlee Wells Jackson
“We started in project in June 2013,” Jackson said. “By August we had started to have trouble with images of women in their bras and underwear being pulled from our Instagram and Facebook accounts.”
By October, 4th Trimester Bodies had already seen two of its Instagram accounts totally deleted, including Jackson’s personal account, which she had used to document her life with her own children.
On Facebook, the group faced similar difficulties in the fall. Its Facebook page, which had about 12,000 likes, was disabled after Jackson was locked out of her account for 100 days.
Instagram’s policies indicate that accounts posting nudity or mature content will be disabled.
 However, it sometimes seems arbitrary what images remain on the site.                
Jackson noted that pictures of celebrities breast-feeding or posing on beaches in bikinis are often not removed — not to mention that overtly erotic photos live on both platforms. Jackson said she recently found the #sxy hashtag on Instagram, which aggregates thousands of sexual images, including images of adults engaged in sexual acts.
“They don’t take that stuff down,” Jackson said. “But they seem to have a problem with women showcasing themselves in a nonsexual way.”
Top row: 4th Trimester Bodies pictures removed from Instagram. Bottom row: Pictures on Instagram of celebrities with their children that were not removed.
Jackson said that after the pages were disabled in the fall, “things were pretty quiet for several months.” Although an occasional photograph would get removed, Jackson spent that time focusing on her documentary and book deal.
Until a few weeks ago.

Jackson began to notice that more and more pictures were being taken down. The project’s Instagram account was missing about 75 images, and she had never received notifications that the pictures had been removed.

“On Facebook we get notifications if our pictures get taken down, but sometimes we don’t even realize that our Instagram pictures are disappearing without any explanation,” said Jackson. / Via Ashlee Wells Jackson
After digging around, Jackson and the 4th Trimester Bodies project found that they were not alone: About 150 other women had been affected by Instagram’s and Facebook’s policies, Jackson said.
Some had posted pictures of their children with some nudity, and others had posted pictures of themselves breast-feeding their kids, which Facebook or Instagram had removed.
Along with the other mothers affected, Jackson created the #StopCensoringMotherhood hashtag to bring more attention to the issue.

As of today, 4th Trimester Bodies has an active Facebook page with over 40,000 likes and an active Instagram account that covers child nudity with a message that says “Stop Censoring Motherhood.”

Alison Vigiano | BuzzFeed

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