What The Facebook?!
The almighty powers at Facebook who dictate what infiltrates our social media feeds have deemed the likes of cesarean scars, mastectomy scars and life-saving heart surgery scars to be inappropriate.
Because they contain “adult content” and include ”excessive visible skin or cleavage”.
While some may argue that such images aren’t ‘beautiful’ in the conventional sense, I say screw convention. Those scars saved lives and brought life into the world so that makes them REALLY friggin’ beautiful if you ask me!
A few months ago, I shared a fantastic article on my public Facebook page, here. I can’t take any credit for the words or pictured but just thought it was something my audience would be interested in reading.
The piece was a refreshing change from so much of the flawless fluff that we’re used to seeing on social media.
Unfortunately, someone on team Zuckerberg didn’t share my mission to muse.
The headline, “24 Women Bare Their Scars To Reveal The Beauty In Imperfections” is right in line with the no BS content I share. So I couldn’t wait for my readers to get their eyes on it!
Now just let me go back momentarily and put some context around what happened next…
Some context to my rant:
Many of my adult female audience are overseas and asleep when I post at an appropriate Australian time. Combine that with the Facebook algorithms and many just don’t see my posts unless I run a small promotion (yes Facebook, your plan to make money from us all is working).
This article was so awesome that I wanted as many women as possible to see it and not just the select few who happened to be online at the time – so I ran a promotion.
That’s when it turned ugly. Facebook banned and “disapproved” the post because the content was deemed inappropriate.
WTF, Facebook?!!! Since when has a caesarean scar that brought life into this world been inappropriate?
Apparently there was too much bare flesh for Facebook’s delicate little eyes and they thought that sharing excess skin with other women (in countries like the US and UK where topless sunbathing is legal) would cause problems.
Because heaven forbid real women with real bodies be seen on social media!
One image (below) features a woman’s scarred sternum from open heart surgery. Facebook said it revealed too much cleavage. It’s not effing cleavage you idiots! It’s the scar that saved her effing life.
This fantastic article is the work of Alanna Vagianos, the Women's Editor at Huff Post. It features real women with real scars. Nothing bleeding and grotesque, just an everyday part of life for many women around the world.
As a woman with multiple surgery scars (you can follow my imperfect Instagram feed), I could relate to many of the quotes in the article. “It reminds me daily to be grateful for life,” said one woman. That’s also a thought that crosses my mind every now and then when I look down at my amputations, metal implants and bionic bits.
So why did this frustrate me so much?
I didn’t lose any money so why do I care?
Sure, I’m disappointed that thousands of women on the other side of the world might not get to read the article but most of all I’m disappointed with Facebook.
I’m disappointed because by “disapproving” my promotion of this wonderful article and its images, Facebook has essentially reinforced the cultural stereotype that beauty does not include imperfection.
It’s a bullsh*t beauty standard that has been detrimental to the lives of so many Australian girls and women (where I live) and no doubt many more the world over.
I know this to be true because I’ve spent years speaking with women and witnessing the damaging effects of stereotypes and narrow definitions of beauty. My first two books were about media literacy and body image but that was before social media was as big as it is today.
For a so-called progressive, forward-thinking organisation that likes to ‘move with the times,’ Facebook is stuck on an old fashioned wheel of unrealistic beauty ideals.
While I understand and support the need for content filters to weed out the inappropriate garbage, Facebook needs to work a lot harder in refining the approval process.
Instagram (also now owned by Facebook) hosts a barrage of bare bums, boobs and other bits but apparently that’s ok…Ummm… Inconsistent much?
Society can’t move forward and cultural stereotypes can’t be broken down unless companies like Facebook take their heads out of the jar of night cream and start taking some social responsibility by promoting a more diverse representation of beauty.
About the author:
Lisa Cox is an author, writer, presenter and consultant with a unique story that fuels her mission to muse. With a strong background in advertising (including 2 bachelor degrees in media and communications), Lisa’s work lifts the veil of perfection and striking lack of diversity in popular culture today. Find out more at www.lisaco.co
Editors note: Since publishing this piece, Facebook have contacted me personally and removed the “ban” on my advertisement because they understand that it was clearly not explicit or pornographic in nature. Thank you Facebook!