Facebook removes photos of nude women meant to promote body positivity
Jeff Lagerquist, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, March 21, 2017 10:12PM EDT
A photographer whose work juxtaposes nude women of diverse body types with a preeminent symbol of rigid beauty standards has been temporarily banned by Facebook.
Julia Busato’s photo series “Showcasing Women Who Don't Want To Fit The Mold” pairs nude subjects with a translucent mannequin torso. The figure is used to hide the model’s private parts. But other more candid shots posted by Guelph, Ont.-based photographer blur out those areas instead.
Busato feels the social media giant’s policy isn’t being applied with an even hand.
“It sucks. I don’t understand it,” she told CTV News Channel of the 30-day punishment. “I don’t understand how it is okay for the women that have that kind of Kim Kardashian look, where they can be half naked, and then somebody who looks a bit different than that body type is totally looked down upon.”
Facebook’s community standards says is restricts “the display of nudity because some audiences within our global community may be sensitive to this type of content - particularly because of their cultural background or age.”
The policy states photos “displaying genitals or fully exposed buttocks” will be removed, as well as images of “female breasts if they include the nipple.”
Photos of women breastfeeding or showing post-mastectomy scarring are allowed, as are photos of paintings, sculptures, and other art depicting nude figures.
Busato said Facebook refuses to offer details about why she has been banned, beyond explaining that she has violated their nudity rules.
“They told me that I was banned for 30 days. I have 24-and-a-half days left,” she said.
Under the ban, she says she can log in and look around, but she cannot post anything or reply to comments. Some photos from the series can still be seen, but she claims others have been removed.
The project, which has attracted thousands of comments on Facebook, started as an exercise in promoting body positivity. It’s since expanded to touch on other powerful subjects.
“It was about making women feel good no matter what size they are, and it has just kind of cascaded from there. It has gone from issues with mental illness, to issues with health, to issues with (women) just trying to accept themselves,” Busato explains.
Reactions to the project have been mixed since its inception, she said. While she is unhappy about the punishment, the resulting attention has been undeniable effective at drawing eyes to her art.
“There has been some been some really negative feedback, but there has also been some really great feedback from women that are looking at it going ‘Oh hey, that lady is shaped like I am. Oh she has scars like I do. They are relating to it.’”
She’s not the first user to run afoul of Facebook, and its photo-based platform Instagram, for posting images of the female form.
Canadian fashion photographer Petra Collins’ Instagram account was reportedly deleted and later restored by the company in 2014 for a photo showing her lower body in a bathing suit with an unshaven bikini line. Photographer Harley Weir’s Instagram account is said to have been temporarily deactivated last year over a nude image depicting menstrual blood.
Busato said a lot of photographers are trying to “push the buttons of Facebook” to encourage the company to adopt a more liberal nudity policy.
“This isn’t the first time that they’ve done something like this to an artist or someone that has spoken up,” she said. “It’s taking a really long time for them to look at things in a different light.”