The quest for freedom on the web
I am devoting myself to this topic today, because I got caught about two weeks ago: My Instagram account has been deleted by Instagram itself due to erotic content. Because as a photographer I refused to stick hearts over nipples or to make them disappear completely. All right, I provoked and have been removed. However, I found the manner rather disgusting. I just wasn’t there anymore, couldn’t access my profile, let alone reach the support and was pretty angry. After a few days I decided to create a new account and start from scratch. Due to the unannounced closure of my old account, I lost not only a lot of followers, memories and important content, but also a decisive marketing instrument. So now it happens that even with the newly created profile and the found friends I don’t really feel comfortable on this platform anymore. I am banished and under observation. I can’t set hashtags, small stimuli are removed immediately, I’m in a #annelomberg bubble that has no reach. My rebellious instinct refuses to support and be part of such a company, but I also wanted to have some important friends back, keep them informed about my future projects. A questionability in the system which I denounce and which for me clearly carries the disgusting taste of misogyny.
So it happened that at the same time to this unpleasant feeling, which spread involuntarily in my body, a spark of hope mingled as I came across a special app. »Vero«, an app that sounds promising to me, at least for now. I can show my art without censoring. When I registered my profile I felt an inner liberation, without even knowing the app at all. The trend is enormous, everyone moves to Vero and the server is completely overloaded. According to App Inventor, this is a current problem that should be solved quickly.
Now the real question and what I would like to draw attention to with this article. How can it be that women’s bodies have to be censored? This is not even about today’s time, but in general. And why is everyone just going along with it? Men’s nipples are allowed to remain in their natural state. Something’s not right. I know that the Yanks are a bit prudish and that we Europeans find many regulations pointless, but isn’t it time to rethink these rules? I turn specifically to the Instagram team. How can it be that provocative sex drawings, for example, are ok while an aesthetic female body is reported. How is it possible that violent scenes are still present while a nipple shimmering through the shirt is thrown out of the system? An imbalance that calls for change.
I am now speaking in the name of all photographers who feel deprived of sharing their art with other users because they have to adapt to a system that doesn’t make any sense. The answer to protect a young audience doesn’t apply, you can simply set the account to private and even there you will be sorted out diligently. The naturalness of a woman must not be circumcised and censored. It is not about pornographic photography, but about aesthetic images.
When will gender equality finally begin?
The picture of photographer Rupi Kaur (see below), in which she wanted to depict the naturalness of female menstruation, provided a lot of talkative material on Instagram and has already been removed twice. This censorship gave Instagram a negative and ambivalent feedback from users, as it seems that it is still not possible to address such issues in our society. Afterwards, photographer Rupi Kaur posted the picture on Facebook, tagged Instagram and wrote: »thank you Instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. you deleted my photo twice stating that it goes against community guidelines. i will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified. pornified. and treated less than human. thank you.«
There are various campaigns that specifically fight for gender equality and draw attention to the fact that this balance still does not exist, such as »Free the Nipple« and »Genderless Nipples«. Free the Nipple released a film in 2012 that fights for the rights of all human beings, Genderless Nipples posts exclusively close-ups of nipples on Instagram that provide no proof of gender. Instagram can no longer tell which nipple is male or female, so the images remain.
By the way: Instagram does not only ban photographs of nipples or pubic hairs. As I found out from my research, it goes even further. Luscious women, who photograph themselves in underwear and thus do not correspond to the common beauty ideal, as well as women with unshaved legs were also removed from the system because they did not adhere to the community guidelines.
I remember a photo of a person from my follower circle who attended the »Helmut Newton« exhibition and posted this photo on Instagram. I had to laugh really loudly, but maybe I should have cried. Her picture was reported and deleted because she made a portrait in front of Helmut Newton’s naked artworks. She repositioned the image and censored the nipples of the Newton models in the background. What the fuck?
We are looking forward to a positive progress with the new Vero app, which wants to prevent that. »Vero« means »true« and supports the real social character in a social network. There are no more annoying algorithms, finally pictures that can be shown as they are, women like God created them, beautiful and uncensored. A good change that will mean freedom for many users.