Evan Rachel Wood threw down the hammer last week, citing the egregious double standard exercised by the MPAA where violence and sexual assault are perceived as more acceptable for children’s viewing than consensual female pleasure. Start at 3:15 below for a primer.
And Monday something much smaller but just as insidiously sex-negative happened to me on the Sex with Timaree Facebook page. Someone reported an image I had posted violated Community Standards. Technically, I hadn’t posted it, the WordPress app had (automatically), and, for whatever reason, it picked one of the NSFW images as the thumbnail instead of the safe featured image I had chosen, but whatever. That’s beside the point.
For 24 hours I couldn’t use either my professional or personal page because this image had accompanied a post. Not so much as a giving a “like” for 24 hours. Certainly no birthday wishes; sorry, folks.
If you look real, real, real close, you can kind of see some labia. Maybe. But in reality, this is more an allusion to pornography than actual porn and it’s certainly appears like the people in the image are on board for what is transpiring. In fact, you might conclude they were super into it.
Meanwhile, I saw several people post the following image of a man apparently forcing a puppy to drink vodka, in an effort to find the perpetrator, despite the fact it’s actually a hoax. No puppies were harmed in the making of this image.
But Facebook users don’t KNOW that. Someone sees this, thinks this is animal abuse and is enraged (and rightly so!). But they can post this repeatedly, along with many other images of violence against animals intended to (somehow) curb the behavior in real life. So “kids” or whoever can see these things over and over again. This puppy image has gone viral TWICE now.
And this is not to say that we should ban pictures of animal abuse on facebook, either. Let me be perfectly clear. I’m saying we need to act like rational adults about this stuff. Rather than reporting something we don’t like, opting for Big Brother Zuckerburg to take care of all the nasty, uncomfortable feelings it elicited, we choose to either engage the poster directly or hide that shit from your Newsfeed.
Others have written about how easy it is to have your Facebook page reported and frozen for no reason at all. Because the site is too big for direct management, any complaint will automatically trigger the HAMMER OF FROZEN ACCOUNTNESS. So if you’re posting a political opinion and one of your “friends” (or maybe not, if your profile isn’t totally private) disagrees and is a total wanker, they can shut your shit down. Ironically, in an attempt to curb bullying, people are capable of bullying each other in this way.
I could go on for 30 million years about how stupid objections to nudity are. It’s literally the natural human state. Outside of whatever cultural, religious, and political differences we may have, we are ultimately fleshy bags of water, held up by calcium. On the outside of that bag, we have nipples and genitals. And seeing them will cause your child to immediately start mainlining heroin.
And I could go on for as long about how completely idiotic the idea is that nudity violates Community Standards in a site that is catered specifically to each user. Your Newsfeed is crafted to be as meticulously personal as any product has ever been, yet we all have to adhere to the same expectations as the 13 year olds who join. There’s no NSFW on-off option. Even if you take the time to opt for a sexual post to only be visible to a select group of friends, there’s no way to prevent one person, whether out of sincerity or joking, to fuck your shit straight up.
So what’s the solution? Again, we all need to grow the hell up. This means that you shouldn’t report any objectionable content (or at least content that isn’t directed specifically at you), giving power to the idea that censorship is how we solve problems. That goes for those of us who are all about social justice. Sick of homophobic jokes? Tired of fat shaming images? Think that thread is downright racist? Act like you can handle it, because you can. Respond to them directly, tell them why it’s problematic. Or, if you don’t feel like confrontation, hide the post from your feed.
Hell, hide that person from your feed. Defriend them if you want. Block them entirely. But be responsible for your own reaction. Fight the temptation to be vindictive or childish by tattling anonymously.
And you can bet your ass I disabled that WordPress App.