Friday, October 08, 2010

The dangerous child play of Facebook

For a long year now, I've wanted to post again to this blog. Yet, my lack of infrastructures--- the continual shift and unknowing of not having my own home for over 5 years, the viral attacks on three of my websites in the summer of '09 ( making them unusable in early '10 and still not repaired), a long-time house cleaning client I've needed to sue for both monies owed me and her sudden reckless attack on my ethics and character, and all the many other day to day family and work and health and money interruptions that each and every one of us faces in different degrees, that unsettle our ways--- have left me exhausted and often too hopeless and unconfident to bother to write, no matter the importance of the cause.

So, here, something as trivial as Facebook has me writing in the wee early hours of the morning. I posted this image from our book III (THREE): The Fantasy and Experience of Threesome Sex a few days ago to my Crystal Haidl Facebook profile, with a statement that this was one of the few images from our book that showed neither breast, nor derriere, nor private parts.

A book that had to be printed outside of the US because small US print shops told me they were afraid of their other clients, or their employees, being upset with the content.  A book that was censored by PayPal (reinstated after 4 years and a few hour long phone calls with their attorneys.) A book that had endured a 4 year battle with one of our own photographers, who lied to me, even in writing, but was able to navigate the legal system, forcing me into a settlement , or else, to endure the costs and time of an ongoing court battle.

[Note-- the image here is from one of our other wonderful photographers, who allowed us use rights to promote the book.  ] And this image is in the book that the Library of Congress accepted in its General Collections, just weeks before the annual American Library's Association's national Banned Books Week. Go check it out next time you're in DC.

Over the past few days,  about a half-dozen FB friends posted their approval of the above image on my wall.  No one was crude; a couple of  variations of "Wow"'  and one very foretelling comment referenced Bill Clinton's famous definition of "is,is" for what is sex and what is not.

Then, at 3:27 AM yesterday morning FB sent an email to me entitled "Facebook Warning. " Turns out, when I logged into my profile around 8 AM that what Facbook calls a Warning seems to be Facebook-speak for "Your account is disabled."

The email stated that I uploaded a photo that violates their terms of service, and this photo has been removed.  Facebook FAQ also states on their site that they can not give any identifying information about the image that was removed due to "security" issues. Was there a possible smart bomb code embedded in our photo? Oh, my!

FB goes on to say that "These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children who use the site."
SO, I ask you, let's assume there's a 98% chance that the photo above is the REMOVED image.  No other images, except for a RIP to my old truck and few of a garden were posted recently.(ahha, birds and bees do it with the garden, and all that sexual pollination... I know, I know. You should see the squirrels and their nuts and hear the sea gulls, too! )
But really, take another look at this picture    --->  

Pretend you are 6 years old. What would you, an innocent child imagine?
A white woman with long hair and a black man with a tattoo are hugging, and they aren't wearing any clothes. Oh, and a tall white man is busy taking a shower in the background, and he doesn't see them. So, a child might ask, why are they hugging in the bathroom? Why is the man holding the lady's leg up? Is she hurt? Is he helping her to use the potty? Is he crying on her shoulder?

Sex would not be the question.

Isn't it only a person who already understands the range of physical intimacies that humans have with each other who would be able to see the suggestion of the image? There is no anatomical body part that alludes to something forbidden. There is no facial expression showing orgiastic delight. The bodies are not in throws of passionate tension. Their pelvises are not in a bump and grind. They are relaxed. They are beginning an embrace, even slightly clumsily one could say; he is helping her and she is leaning on his suport.

My FB images protections had been set so that only friends and their friends could view them. And FB's rules disallow any child under the age of 13 to have a FB account. A 13 year old, hopefully knows about the basics of sexuality. Yes, he or she would know that the image was evoking a sensual moment. They'd  certainly be curious. And maybe bored.

If a youth truly wants to see sex this image is a poor choice. A click of the remote, a glimpse at the supermarket check out, or perusing a plethora of other online options would show them the get-down- and dirty in seconds. If Facebook was truly concerned about kids, it would create a Facebook Youth opt-in, a site for kids and their families with features specific for those families that want g-rated content.

It is the media and the religious charlatans, and our focused obsessions with titillation and the commericalization of sex, rather than seeing the beauty of its complexities, of its sensualities, which makes this type of image subject to Facebook's terms of removal. (Like hate and violence, that the word sex is often grouped with, sexuality and its perceptions are considered social network aka societal contraband.)

How potent your sex is!

Meanwhile, as Facebook shouts "Warning " when they really mean "Disabled," which is the more abusive to you?  A multi-billion dollar company that fails to be be clear with its words, that refuses to allow time-dated information or vague description of the image, so that the person can possibly defend what they posted,  or is it the offense of an image that shows the side views of two people, without clothes, in embrace?

Personally, I'd rather the children and young teens that I know, and my future grand children and extended relatives, live in a world where they know adults protect them with sexual guidance and an ethics of honesty, over corporate-faux moralistic protectionism that in reality continues the charade of society hiding truths.

What about you?