An artist says she was locked out of her Facebook account for a day and got a warning that “people who repeatedly post things that aren’t allowed on Facebook may have their accounts permanently disabled,” after posting reviews of her latest show on her personal account.
Sophia Wallace is perhaps best known for her 2013 “Cliteracy” project, which involved a clit rodeo featuring a large golden clitoris, as well as associated posters in New York City that she told the Huffington Post were a sort of “advertising campaign for the clitoris.” She’s currently participating in a group show at New York’s Untitled Space Gallery, as well as preparing for an upcoming solo show. But when she attempted to share reviews, she ran afoul of the site’s “community guidelines” for attempting to share the links.
Once she got back into Facebook, she posted:
I’ve been locked out of my Facebook account for the last 24 hours (just released from my probation in the last 10 mins) for posting art reviews from my show at The Untitled Space in publications including VICE The Huffington Post, BUST Magazine, Bullet Magazine. Almost every review I posted has been censored by Facebook. I got a harsh warning that my account would be shut down for violating community guidelines if I did not abide by “community guidelines”.
Wallace also tweeted that, “@instagram also censored reviews of the exhibition at @UntitledSpaceNY which explores the female gaze on the nude.”
We’ve reached out to both Wallace and Facebook and will update if we hear back.
Update, 4:52 p.m. A Facebook spokesperson provided the following statement:
“In order to maintain a safe environment on Facebook, we have Community Standards that describe what is and is not allowed on the service. Anyone can report content to us if they think it violates our standards. Our teams review these reports rapidly and will remove the content if there is a violation.”
Update, 5/18: Sophia Wallace sent us some comments via email. She wrote:
Mens nipples are allowed. Women’s are not. Why? It is incredibly frustrating to have one’s body defined as always sexual and therefore taboo no matter one what one’s intent or actions may be. As Carolee Schneemann observed, “The female nude is part of a revered tradition, although she is not to take authority over depictions of her nudity. She is just to be available.” And so artists like myself struggle with this paradox. Our public attempts to finally claim representation of the experience of our bodies is censored.
“The issue at stake has never been the grievous injuries caused by exposure to female nipples or vulvas,” she added. “I’ve still yet to see proof of harm from seeing this body, a body without which none of us would exist. This is about who gets to control the female body.”