TASTE & POWER

BANNED FROM FACEBOOK

Posted in Art, Dating, Faith, Gossip, Politics by TASTE & POWER on January 21, 2010


I was banned from facebook for posting this picture of myself around age 3 which i recently found in my family’s archives.  My father was at the time an active amateur photographer with a sense of humor as is made very clear by this image:  my posture clearly reflecting my shyness about my nudity, yet I evidently do not yet have the self-awareness required to stop playing with my penis for the camera.  When I posted this image on facebook, it did indeed occur to me that it might be an issue:  there is a long history of irrational censorship of images of nude children(see Jock Sturges, Ron Oliver, Sally Mann), in which all depictions of underage nudity are lumped together into the sleaze bucket, and the internet has been a war zone with respect to censorship and all kinds of imagery deemed too indecent for public consumption since it became an accessible means for sharing photos in the late 80s/early 90s.  It is impossible for me to ignore the site and moment at which this particular censoring has occurred, for I have recently been made aware of a “story” seeping into mainstream media outlets regarding the dissemination of risque, semi-nude, nude and occasionally lewd photographs of underage subjects on anonymous image boards on the internet.  It is true that this is somewhat a growing trend, but having grown up during the internet boom, I became aware of the practice in unspeakably seedy AOL chatrooms at an early age.  These photos are generally first distributed by the author/subject of the photograph via instant message, facebook, photobucket, a text message(sexting), email, and then shared and re-shared by the growing number of recipients, or in some cases directly to the audience at large, that is, to an anonymous image board, with countless numbers of drooling voyeurs “fapping” away to whatever underage indiscretion strikes at their dark soul.  I recently heard a discussion of the matter on NPR.  In a few cases, I gather, the initial posters, that is teenaged boys and girls who have photographed themselves nude and shared it with their friends, have been charged criminally.  A number of good points were touched on, which I wish to reflect upon here.  1) This is not a criminal matter! As of yet, there is no legal distinction between a teenager posting a nude picture of him or herself and a pedophile doing so. This is insane, for a number of obvious reasons. 2) Kids have been allowed, and even encouraged to engage in similar activities on social networking sites for years. It is the parameters of the medium of the text message, or private chat room that allows for them to make the next logical step of sharing nude self portraits. The language of myspace prepares them for it perfectly. and 3) the media’s obsession with this “phenomenon” and the hysteria it seems to inspire in parents and society at large speaks VOLUMES about our obsession with teen sexuality and our desires to insert ourselves into the drama, albeit under the guise of one motivated by protective and/or moralistic intentions. Before one classifies an image pornographic, one needs to look in the mirror and ask oneself why they might categorize it as such.  With that, I’d like to apologize to whichever facebook employee found my photo and banned me for it.  “Sorry if I gave you a boner.”