On November 7, Japleen Pasricha, founder of Feminism In India, was blocked from sharing an article titled ‘I Was Ashamed At My Breasts: On Bras and Breasts’, which had the picture of female breasts. Facebook showed her the message: “You recently posted something that violates Facebook policies”. And guess what, it’s not the first time Facebook has blocked a post because it had a picture of female breasts, specifically female nipples, in it.
Pasricha, in a post titled ‘It’s 2016 And Facebook Is Still Terrified Of Women’s Nipples’ on Feminisminindia.com, a feminist media platform, wrote she had faced this thrice before and her relationship with Facebook hasn’t been great. The first time it happened was when she tried to post picture of a bare-chested African woman on a motorbike, the second was when she tried to post a poem titled ‘breasts’ with an image of breasts and the third was when she tried to share the iconic picture of women who protested against AFSPA and Indian Army in Manipur in 2004.
“One could still understand a ban on pornography (although, even that’s debatable), however, by imposing a blanket ban on women’s nipples Facebook is basically saying that women’s bodies are inherently sexual, for the pleasure of cis heterosexual men and can only be seen through the male gaze,” she wrote.
Responding to Pasricha’s claims, Facebook’s spokesperson said in a statement, “It is not always easy to find the right balance between enabling people to express themselves while maintaining a comfortable experience for our global and culturally diverse community of many different ages, but we try our best.”
The tech giant recently drew flak for censoring a Vietnam war photo which it later restored. Espen Egil Hansen, the editor in chief of Aftenposten, a Norwegian daily newspaper, wrote an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg in which he clearly said, “I am writing this letter to inform you that I shall not comply with your requirement to remove a documentary photography from the Vietnam war made by Nick Ut.”
Facebook, in its comeback had this to say, “An image of a naked child would normally be presumed to violate our community standards, and in some countries might even qualify as child pornography. In this case, we recognize the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time.”
Pasricha, however, has not received an apology and might not also. “However, not all people receive a statement and public apology from Facebook (certainly not me) who just want to post consensual and affirming pictures and/or artowork of our bodies,” she wrote.
— Japleen Pasricha (@japna_p) November 7, 2016
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