Apparently, my naked butt is PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE! I’ve just been inducted into the ranks of those who’ve gone before me in having their Instagram accounts disabled, resulting in the disappearance of a blog with about 500 posts and nearly 15,000 followers. There was no warning. No previous flags on the account. And no change in my posting habits to speak of. The rules for IG are clear: No female nipples. No genitalia. Buttocks are allowed if not a close-up with the intent of sexual gratification.

This is my third encounter with seemingly random censorship in as many years. You can read my Eulogy for Tumblr that I wrote after falling victim to their sweeping policy changes related to posts containing nudity. My page still exists out there someplace, simply because I never got around to deleting it, though it’s largely a graveyard of deleted posts that once again, featured more images of – you guessed it – my naked arse on mountain tops, swimming in the sea, or sitting at my desk. Hard core stuff, I tell ya! Ironically enough, when I bounce back into Tumblr every now and again, it’s seems just my luck that I drop into a page with blatantly pornographic content that somehow slipped by the butt police. I guess you can’t catch ‘em all.

Was it this one?

My second row with social media censorship was when Facebook specifically targeted a “page” that I kept for Meandering Naturists, with about 1200 followers. In that case, I had posted a link to a story from another, “mainstream” publication that had images in the body of the article that auto-populated onto my news-feed. I didn’t realize what had happened until I logged on the next day, only to find red flags all over my page, and a warning to remove the images or reply within a very narrow window of time. I had already missed that window. I clicked through every channel I could locate to make an appeal to save the page, but to no avail. To this day, the page is frozen in perpetuity, but unavailable for public viewing. Numerous attempts to contest the action never elicited as much as an automated response. Nothing.

This time, either an Instagram robot, or an hourly wage screener, or maybe a zealous follower who determined enough is enough, must have decided that the story with four images that I posted on Monday about the French naturist island, Ile du Levant, was simply over the edge. (Images from that post are featured in this post.) That story had accrued about 1000 views by last night. There was no warning from IG, or any other indication that standing on a rock, staring at the Mediterranean Sea was simply over the top. Just a message this morning that my account had been disabled, and that if I verified my identity (which I did) the account would be subject to review in the next 24 hours. Do I expect to hear from the butt police later today? Not a rat’s chance in hell! (That’s the actual full expression, by the way. Did you know that? I had to look it up!) Here again, the qualitative data from those who have been “disappeared” before me doesn’t instill much hope.

Or this one? With the reflection, there are two butts!

Tumblr was a random act of stupid and I simply got caught in the cross-fire. Facebook was irritating in that they say you have a chance to appeal and make your case, but that’s all a ruse as well, as I have a better chance of winning the Super-Lotto than getting a response to a Facebook appeal. And now that Facebook and Instagram are in bed together, this action – and the anticipated non-resolution thereof – was hardly surprising. It’s super irritating for lots of reasons, but here’s the one that frightens me the most…

I am simply dumbstruck by the fact that we have turned over the keys of censorship, personal expression, and freedom of speech to the social media moguls who are now guiding the supposed morality of America. Pictures of my naked butt are small beans compared to what’s really at stake here. Much more disturbing is the craziness that’s going on in Washington DC (and thereby, all over the country) as I’m writing this post, with social media campaigns that not just perpetuate, but breed conspiracy theories (I can’t bear to actually put the name of the big one in print as I don’t want it embedded in the metadata of this post) that have drawn a direct line between “educated, liberal progressives” – even the moderate folks in that cohort – and the most unimaginable abuse of children. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google pizzagate, then follow the story to where that’s landed us today.) Shutting down naturist accounts on social media is annoying. But creating a vehicle that has enabled the proliferation of such vitriol bulls**t can only drive us more deeply into a state of unbridled censorship, not to mention the total dysfunction of democracy! (Oh yeah. That.)

Could be this one! Maybe there’s an image in the rock formation that I missed.

Remember, this is a naturist blog, that seeks to promote the virtues of family naturism in an age where every child in America has probably stumbled into the most heinous of websites, completely by accident with a random typo while working on a school paper. I suspect most have encountered content that most of us could have never imagined twenty years ago. In the meantime, dangerous conspiracy theories like those regarding the supposed secret lives of thoughtful, upstanding citizens could throw a huge wet blanket over the holistic ideals of American naturism once and for all. It all fits perfectly into the story line. A rational person would think, “Nah! A random post on social media can’t have that kind of influence.” And I say again, you thought my butt was dangerous?!

Will I start over on Instagram? I doubt it. My guess is that the actual algorithm that gets one cancelled on these platforms is indexed to the concern that you’re actually starting to make a difference. Somebody took notice. Maybe somebody got offended and filed a complaint. To which I say, if my naked butt posed on a rocky cliff in France is the worst of your worries, maybe you need to broaden your perspective a bit. Perhaps you can steal away a few moments to ponder what you’ll tell your grand-kids about life “back in the day” before Orwellian prophecy became the real-time operational mores of a society gone off the rails.

OMG! I see it now. If you zoom in really, really closely, you can catch a glimpse of nipplage. It’s Janet Jackson all over again!

And oh, one more thing. Didn’t the founder of Facebook create that platform in the first place as a vehicle for hitting on college girls, or is that just an urban legend? (It’s in a movie, so it must be true!) That sounds like exactly the kind of person I want to manage every detail of my life, from the censorship of my butt, to how we elect a president.

How on earth did we get here?

30 thoughts

  1. So sorry this happened to you – incredibly frustrating. And I agree with your annoyance at why the prudish attitudes of a small minority are being inflicted on everyone, globally. I shut down my Facebook account ages ago – their attitudes to privacy disgust me – but continue to use Instagram because of accounts like yours. Pictures of beaches, people and sunshine that fill my heart with joy. I’m sure it won’t be long before I leave Instagram too. Fight on!

  2. I fully concur with your concerns. I had the photo banner on Twitter red flagged the other day … by unlocking the account to appease the weasel who made the decision I removed the link to appeal. Note the same banner is used on Facebook!!
    I got so worried about this sort of thing I wrote and published a story focussed around the moving background of morality and law. “If You Have Done Nothing Wrong …” mybook.to/NewLaws

    1. Thanks for the link – I looked up the book. I’m pretty sure the human race was not prepared for the implicit onslaught that is the bi-product of social media. When EVERYONE has the same platform to be heard, and managing the conversation – regardless what it’s about – is outsourced to a team of anonymous tech guys, who the hell is driving the bus? And who decided what the bus route is?

      1. Mewe might be a way forward. I am very disappointed with Instagram. They removed others accounts as well such as A.naked.girl
        Please keep blogging if you can, I will donate

  3. I make naturist films and people freak out at the mere mention of nudist kids even though I make it adamantly clear, repeating ad nauseum that there are NO IMAGES of any children. I’ve lost my PR girl because of it. And in my current film, the photographer’s manager tells him not to have any nudists talk about their kids because the “mental image” it generates is problematic. It’s meant as a joke but I get the feeling no one will laugh.

  4. I’ve been locked out of Skype twice for having a profile photo of myself nude. When that happens it also locks you out of all your Microsoft accounts. My subscription to MSOffice was frozen and I had to open a new one. And yet, there are people I chat with on Skype that have full view of their naked bodies in their profile photo. It’s a dick, for god’s sake!!! Get over it!

  5. Lo siento mucho, Dan. I share your sentiments entirely. I was absolutely disgusted by what happened to Tumblr. There existed irreplaceable photo documentation of naturism – all trashed in one fell swoop. A lot of porn, too, it must be said. But TPTB are utterly ignorant and don’t have the wits of a horse turd to tell the difference. Tumblr was the victim of a takeover by the failing Yahoo, which was then taken over by Verizon, which values nothing but profits, and would happily burn down the Metropolitan Museum and the Library of Congress if they could make a buck off of them. (Lots of really dirty stuff in the Met, y’know.)

    It’s interesting that Tumblr is now owned by Automatic, which is also the owner of WordPress. Officially they haven’t changed the anti-nudity policies of Tumblr, although it appears a few naturist sites with acceptable images now exist. But I don’t waste my time on it, as everything is “protected” by “sensitive contents” warnings and the site is now a total pain to use. Fortunately, my blog is hosted on a domain I own, not the WordPress domain. That makes me feel a little bit safer. I fear for the fate of any naturist sites hosted by WordPress. (But then, most naturist blogs seem to have gone silent anyhow these days.)

    The history of Blogspot is interesting. I stopped using it for several blogs (unrelated to naturism), because Google made it far too complicated to use, what with all kinds of crazy formatting options. Apparently they haven’t gone after naturist blogs there – although they’d threatened to remove all of them, but the sites are now “protected” with “sensitive contents” warnings. I absolutely cannot understand why they can’t do as Twitter does, to allow people the ability to specify they don’t want to see any warnings. Just a single bit in a cookie would suffice. Clearly, the feeling seems to be that Americans are such stupid twits that they might faint if they saw a naked female nipple on their computer or cellphone. (Though we all know that Americans are actually too busy watching real porn to care. But an awful lot of Americans really are stupid twits.)

    My blog has a Facebook page. The banner is a very nice image of four nudes (from behind) – from Koversada, I think. That’s never been a problem. But one time I put a link there to a blog post. Their algorithm automatically added an image – which purposely was not the first one in the post. And then another algorithm flagged it as a violation. The item in question never actually became public, but it was locked and I couldn’t even delete it. Rather than risk all access to FB, I stopped using that page entirely, and I use FB very little these days.

    Regarding Instagram, I never saw any particular value in it at all. But as it was owned by FB, I certainly wasn’t going to even consider it. And I’ve noticed that almost all of the reasonable naturist accounts – like yours – have gone to blog heaven (or Hell).

    Now, about Twitter. I can hardly be gratefully enough that they’re still the last refuge of online naturism. Almost all my traffic comes from there. Sadly, Twitter is very clumsy and clunky to use. Let’s all pray to Cthulhu that they stay sane. The only remaining options (at least based in the U. S.) are the likes of MeWe, which hardly anyone even knows about.

    Thanks for reading this rant. I feel better already.

    1. Thanks, friend! I learned a few things there – in particular, the connection between WordPress and Tumblr. (I’m on WordPress.) That seems worrisome to me, but I guess we’ll see. A lot a sweat poured into this blog over the years.

      Also interested to hear your Facebook story. That’s EXACTLY how my page got tagged, except I didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late. Your question is a good one about letting people make rational decisions on their own as to what THEY think is inappropriate, but I’m sure that all comes down to litigation in the end. “Better to shut-down a creative pipeline, regardless of the personal investment, that risk getting ourselves sued.”

      I don’t know why any of us would think that corporate-minded social media would have our best interests at heart. It’s just that the consequences of their actions have become so onerous and destructive.

      Thanks for following, and… for your thoughtful comments.

  6. I know this must be incredibly frustrating for you to deal with. I have an IG account but I don’t use it or log into it on any periodicity. I simply don’t like they are owned by FB now, and their rules are a bit stupid. Thankfully, like mentioned above, Twitter does still allow nudity as long as you don’t have nudity in your profile pic or your banner. I received one warning from them because of any one I put up as a profile or banner pic, but I quickly took it down when I got the warning.

    I can’t imagine losing 15,000 followers from a social media platform that large. I’m sure it generated a lot of traffic to your blog, and you’re going to have to figure out a way to gain that traffic back, if possible. Sadly, all of these tech giants are after two things, your data and massive profits. They don’t want to be looked at as a company who does the right thing, but the company who’s a slave to the old dollar. Shareholders matter. Maybe one day we will have an actual nudist social media worth anything. It’s an interesting project…

    Unfortunately, I can see this form of censorship spreading from the social media platforms out to other ones as well. It wouldn’t surprise me to see WordPress eventually go down this path if they got enough pressure for their hosted domains. That’s part of the reason why I chose to do my own domain and server. I have to do almost everything myself, but no one can tell me what I can and can’t post or censor me in anyway.

    We’re all in the same corner together fighting back against the censorship conglomerate called tech companies. Thankfully, there’s a lot of places on the internet we can go to express ourselves, but it may not be as sexy as the big platforms.

    1. Thanks Alexis. Interesting, not that many click-throughs from IG since they make it so difficult to do that. But I do worry about the future course of WordPress. Can’t imagine starting over from scratch.

      Bizarre times we’re living in.

  7. You mention “supposed morality of America”. It’s far more worse. The morality is laid down on everybody all over the world. And then we are lucky that the morality originates from the US. Not China. Nor Saudi Arabia. Just to name a few, there are many more. Maybe the answer is seeking social change outside the internet?

    1. Excellent point. And I think your proposed solution is a good one. But, in fact, we vote with our actions, and if we’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that people have completely turned to the internet as their sole source of information, even when it’s clear that information is false and destructive. Not sure how we’re going to walk that one back!

  8. Several years ago, I considered opening a FB account. I read (most of) their terms and conditions and decided it wasn’t worth giving up so much to Almighty Mammon. I had a Twitter account for the duration of a political election, back in 2008 and decided it too was not worth it; even before it became a fertile dis- & misinformation source. I have an IG account to which I have never posted, solely to look at other’s posts. It seems so chaotic, and now discriminatory, Dan, that I will close it after this post. I have gradually migrated away from Google (except for Earth, and a friend uses Drive a lot) but I am stuck with a Gmail account (which I don’t use) because of my Android phone. I am content with websites and blogs like Dan’s and Alexis’, and personal email and snail-mail. What am I missing? Not much of value, in my opinion. What is worthy of consideration shows up in places like this. Thank you, Meandering Dan!

  9. The world is crazy. At some point, naturists will have to create our own social network. With the arrival of mastodon (and others like pixelfed) it is surprisingly easy to create your own social network instance, with your own rules, that also federates with other instances. I hardly ever use FB or Instagram anymore. Of course, someone has to do it.

    1. Yeah… that all checks out. I think those of us who are trying to advocate for naturism – people like us bloggers – are retiscent to isolate ourselves in specialized message boards as that fails to broadcast the bigger message to the public at large. In fact, the forums that I DO belong to where only “geniuine naturists” are admitted often fall short in the “what do we talk about” department. If Facebook and IG wants to put us all in cyber-jail, it simply limits the potential realm of influence to normalize nudity. But that said, I’m not sure we’re winning that battle OR that war.

    2. I think there’s already one or more naturist Mastodons. The one I know of is at naturism.social. It’s administered by a guy named Matt Crawford, who seems legit and has a conventional social network (earthnaturists.com) as well. I haven’t tried out the mastodon, so I don’t have any more information right now. Anyone who knows how to run a web server can set up their own mastodon. There could be multiple naturist mastodons, which could still communicate among themselves. If someone joins any mastodon, it’s possible to communicate with any other, apparently.

      There are also various conventional social networks just for naturists, the most popular of which seems to be True Nudists. I’ve been disappointed even with that one, having tried to start a couple of discussions on naturist topics and receiving no responses. Besides that, there’s MeWe, which is a lot like Facebook. It doesn’t censor nudity like FB, but has far fewer features. Most importantly, it simply doesn’t have enough users to be interesting. And do we really want to have a dozen social networks like that for naturists? If the naturist community is spread over a dozen or two online places, the fragmentation of the community is deadly. Mastodon could partially alleviate that problem, but at this point it’s too obscure for most people.

      British Naturism actually has a pretty good forum for discussions, and anyone can join no matter where one lives – but it’s necessary to join BN, which costs about US$50 per year. AANR and TNS have done practically nothing of this sort, although I think AANR tried to run a forum, but seems to have given up. (Since I dropped AANR membership some time ago, I don’t know the current status.)

      I’ve been working with online communication systems of this sort for over 40 years (not a typo). I know they can work very well, but the problem always is: If you build it, will they come to YOUR place?

      1. We tried to build one about 15 years ago, dedicated to family naturism, but it turned out to be just like all the others. A lot of lonely guys sending the occasional dick pic, with very little substantive conversation. We met a few people in the process who were mostly lurking, but would write to ME every now and again with insider trader information about interesting naturist places, but that was a lot of work simply to find a nice spa in Germany.

        I agree that BN seems to have really opened a can of whoop-ass to take advantage of this very unusual time during the pandemic, though that’s happened largely through OTHER channels, like ZOOM, online Yoga, and the like – not the typical message boards that go silent after the discussions about erections and pubic hair play themselves out. The only exception I’ve seen is Vivre.nu – the French naturist forums. I’ve not been on lately, but at least up to a few years back, there was always a lot of vibrant banter about places to go, legislative policy, and organzing groups of people with similar interests. Of course, the wild card there is the per capita number of naturists there are in France, and the general sense of what naturism actually IS. AANR likes to spout off about the increasing number of nudists in the US, which is only a fraction of the number who claim to be naturist in France, but even within THAT cohort of Americans, the value systems are greatly varied. Some want naked hiking, some want crazy weekend parties, and others want something in between. AND… we’re spread out over a landmass 3000 miles wide, so finding people you’ll ever meet in person is quite a long shot, regardless.

        Complicated metrics. And even if I can figure out how to get them to come to MY place, we may determine in 3 minutes that we actually have nothing in common beside nudity. Naked, by itself, is not enough to sustain a friendship.

  10. … we’re spread out over a landmass 3000 miles wide, so finding people you’ll ever meet in person is quite a long shot, regardless….

    I’ve blogged about this exact issue. The population density of people (let alone naturists) is a lot lower in most of the U. S. than in European countries. I think that has quite a lot to do with the problem for naturism in the U. S. (On top of all the puritanical stuff.) The best solution to my mind is to have grassroots naturist organization for regions where there are relatively many naturists. As I’ve written on my blog, Florida seems to have been most successful, not only because of the climate, but because (as a result) there are simply more naturists per square kilometer – and places for them to go.

    California is much too large and spread out to have a single naturist organization where people have a good chance of meeting. More local organizations do exist currently, but they don’t seem to be very robust. We had one in the SF Bay Area, but activity in it has been dwindling for some time, and now, with Covid and the death of the main organizer last spring (not due to Covid), it seems to be in a coma.

    I think that the Meetup structure has a lot of promise. Meetup groups are supposed to cover a scale of around 100 miles. They can involve both in-person and online activities. I’m thinking of starting one… if I can find the time… and after Covid is a problem. Working with something like that could probably be more effective for promoting naturism than writing online to be read by a very small percentage of the population.

  11. This post obviously raises a lot of issues and has the potential to make us feel a little depressed, but we should look on the bright side.

    For my own sanity, I no longer try to get into the minds of people who get perverted pleasure from buying into ridiculous conspiracy theories; or worshipping populist so-called leaders; or like to be outraged by naked flesh when there are plenty more serious things to worry about. Frankly, I don’t think those people will ever be bright enough to understand the many joys of naturism, anyway, so let’s forget them.

    On the other hand, the rest must have noticed what a crazy world we now live in, and when you also take into account the pandemic, many are realising it is time to rethink priorities, put life into proper perspective, and enjoy it while you can. Everyone I know is rethinking how they will fill their time in the future, and it’s surely inevitable that some of them are thinking about trying naturism.

    It seems to me that many existing naturists feel they should be on a mission to identify and ‘convert’ these would-be naturists, but I believe it is not about us finding them, but rather them finding us.

    The most important thing is they have access to the information necessary to decide that naturism is at least worth a try, and it only takes seconds to find what you need on Google, including blogs like this one. If you build it, they will come! On the other hand, nudity on social media is only a gentle reminder that naturism is an option, and surely any intelligent person has already worked that out for themselves.

    I think we should also remember how far we have come, because I would never have enjoyed social naturism at all if the internet hadn’t come along. Before then it was completely in the shadows, unless you were brought up in a naturist environment. Now it’s easy.

    So although it’s a shame more people won’t be exposed to naturism on certain social media platforms, if you keep up the good work with blogs like this one, I am sure we will be welcoming more people into the naturist family just as soon as the pandemic becomes history.

  12. Here’s another proof that Facebooks censorship is hypocritical. A female nipple or naturist picture is not tolerated, but ads for guns are no problem. Though these ads are temporarily not allowed since last Monday, it is very likely that they will reappear quite soon. Their morality stops where money begins.

  13. I’ll try to be brief (contrary to usual). Before naturists can seriously begin to address the general public, they need to set up their own conversational channels. And not just a bunch of isolated Mastodons, or FB groups, etc. ONE central place. Guess what – that exists in Britain. It’s called British Naturism. They have active forums, with essentially no bad behavior, becuz it’s not tolerated. It’s not perfect, but it’s good. You don’t even have to live in Britain to join. I’m a member. Besides the forums, there are many online video events, chat rooms, etc.

    Years ago I proposed that AANR & TNS set up forums for their members. AANR tried, but that seemed to fizzle out… then I left AANR anyhow. TNS wouldn’t even touch the idea. Membership in both seems to be steadily declining. The U. S. presents big problems for naturists. People are just so spread out. And the messed-up attitudes towards nudity in the U. S. just make things worse. Online tools could turn this around – if we can only figure out how to get enough folks on the SAME page. It’s rather odd that so many people have been cooped up at home for months, but haven’t figured this out.

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