Facebook Censors Aboriginal Women Practising Culture for Nudity
Aboriginal women from the remote Central Australian community of Ampilatwatja performing at a public ceremony in 2010 to protest against the Northern Territory intervention.
IMAGE: Chris Graham, At Large Media.
Twice now, my Facebook account has been banned for posting “nudity”. On both occasions, it has been because I have posted a transcript of a professional keynote I gave which had been reproduced on a news website. The only reason I can see Facebook is doing this is because the header image on my transcript, which was added by the editor of the news site and not myself, contains Aboriginal women painted up for traditional ceremonial dancing. I fully support the use of this image to accompany my keynote as it is incredibly fitting. New Matilda – the news site which published this keynote – were also temporarily locked out of Facebook when they shared it.
This is not the first time Facebook has deemed Aboriginal women painted up for ceremony to be “offensive”. In 2015, the ABC ran an ad for their new comedy show 8MMM on social media to attract viewers. This clip was outrageously banned by Facebook due to the presence of desert women undertaking ceremonial dancing in it while painted up. It not only led to an outcry and a call for Facebook to educate themselves, but at this time, my account was also compromised because Facebook allowed me to be set upon by a group of malicious people who repeatedly reported my postings of this video in a bid to get my page shut down. It appears that several months down the track, Facebook have learnt nothing, as they have allowed this to happen again.
Finally, it appears that Facebook only has a problem with “nudity” when it’s female Aboriginal elders taking part in traditional ceremony. As New Matilda highlights in this article http://bit.ly/1MaiwvA Facebook apply their alleged “community standards” very selectively. They are continually comfortable with exploitative images of young, beautiful women being posted everywhere, even when those women are being violated, are under age or are being subjected to violence. Yet an older Aboriginal woman, engaged in women’s culture and painted ceremoniously for the task is somehow offensive to Facebook, most likely because she is undertaking culture for herself and not for the titillation of the frat boys who run this platform.
Facebook’s standards are a joke. They are blatantly racist, sexist and offensive. They show a complete lack of respect for the oldest continuing culture in the world. They also show that Facebook continually fails to address their own shortfalls in knowledge. Finally, they show that Facebook is more than willing to allow scurrilous bullying to continue rather than educate themselves.
For those interested, here is the article which keeps getting me banned from Facebook due to Facebook’s alleged “community standards”. It notes the situation regarding 8MMM’s clip last year so my banning on this occasion has a particular level of irony. https://newmatilda.com/2016/03/09/looking-past-white-australia-and-white-feminism/
Petition by Celeste Liddle. Sign this petition to tell Facebook that this will not be tolerated :https://www.change.org/p/facebook-aboriginal-women-practicing-culture-are-not-offensive