Water Cooler Chatter

Social Media Censorship

This month we’re having words about…

We had a wonderful time at this month’s cover shoot. Thanks to all the beautiful volunteers who answered our call-out, it turned out to be a surprisingly fun and easy experience. The atmosphere was full of positivity as everyone stripped down and celebrated themselves and their bodies for photographer Hazel Coonagh’s camera. As one of our participants, artist Jesse De Boe said: “People see their bodies as a product to attract a sexual partner, but when you can be okay with it in a non-sexual way, then you’ve got selfacceptance.” And we could really feel that powerful force of non-sexual self-acceptance in the room as everyone posed together for our naked cover.

As we go to press, we don’t know whether Facebook will allow us to promote the cover. Last month’s cover, which featured two naked men from the waist up, was rejected. We sent the Facebook sentries photographs of other highly sexualised magazine covers that had made the grade, but they told us the decision was final. Perhaps it was because in the photograph two naked people are touching, perhaps it was because in small type at the top of the page it said ‘The Sex Issue’, thereby equating the image with sex. Perhaps it was because it was a picture of two men touching, with the word ‘sex’ in the mix.

Facebook have also rejected our promotion of a video for the naked cover, featuring one of the models who identifies as non-binary, shot only from the shoulders up (pictured top, left). It features “excessive amounts of skin or suggestive content,” we’re told. A similar video, also shot from the shoulders up, featuring one of our cisgender female models was not rejected (also pictured left). We are currently appealing the decision.

Last week a story blew up on the internet about a Spanish lesbian couple who had a photograph of them with their baby (pictured) removed from Instagram, apparently following protests from other users. The couple declared that its removal was blatant homophobia and started the hashtag #YoSoloVeoAmor (#IOnlySeeLove), which went viral with lots of other queer families posting their photos. It opened a debate about the sexualisation of LGBT+ people by the media, where just because we’re queer, trans, bisexual, or gay, we are immediately sexualised.

It’s hard to imagine Instagram removing a similar photograph of a heterosexual couple and their child. The last GCN cover was about sex, we fully accept that. But we wonder whether a similar photograph of a heterosexual couple would be rejected under the same rules?

This article appears in the 337 Issue of GCN

Click here to view the article in the magazine.
To view other articles in this issue Click here.
If you would like to view other issues of GCN, you can see the full archive here.

This article appears in the 337 Issue of GCN