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?


Buddy Englett said...


I'm afraid though that Facebook has become so big and such a part of society that it has no other choice but to be driven by societal preponderance... the tail wags the dog.

crystal haidl said...

Thanks, Buddy. I took a look at your personal blog right now. I enjoyed your writing.

It's interesting that Peggy Noonan, whom I often do not agree with, said in regards to the recent suicide of the Rutgers student-- whose sexual acts had been taped and published online by his roommate-- that it is time The Grownups address the lack of kindness in society.

Maybe we Grownups, those who can see both sides of the fence, need to lovingly give that dog you mention some doggie education classes, so its tail wags with dog whisperer wisdom.

mdh said...

I saw your blog linked from the ASD facebook page. If you're interested in some hosting that is not beholden to the interests of a bunch of idiots (anything other than child porn is fine by me), please send me an email to with your contact details and I'll get back to you.

Anonymous said...

I don't think facebook is necessarily dangerous, nor trivial. With all due respect, if you don't like the rules, then don't play there. There are plenty of places to post your pics in a more private forum.
I've seen a lot of posts like this lately...people who like to post a lot of skin and then are greatly offended when everyone isn't in love with the image. Worse, they assume because someone is not interested in looking at these photos they are in some way prudish or less conscious. I don't understand the reason for posting them, actually. I think it's great that you had a wonderful experience, and I understand a desire to promote your book. But what drives the need in general to have others witness this on such a place as facebook? The need to prove it was "sacred"? to promote a personal recipe for enlightenment? Why are we so stuck on the body? Are you a better person, can you give a greater gift to humanity because of your experiences? This is what interests many people.

crystal haidl said...

Anonymous-- thanks for participating in this post. As the founder of America's Sexuality Day -- I absolutely believe that everyone's view points are needed to truly understand each other and ourselves. For the record, I do not deem people "prudish" because they don't want to see certain images. There are many images I don't prefer seeing, myself.

Everyone has the right, and I'll even say, responsibility to be honest to their own sexual character.. I respect that. BUT, someone voluntarily chose to venture onto my post and to infringe their beliefs over mine. Why? We don't know. Was it that it depicted a bi-racial coupling? Was it the threesome theme? Was it they just like to follow rules explicity, and decided to be a new age Mr Comstock, who busy-bodies themself into anything that they think might offend social mores?

So, Yes. I posted the image on facebook and on this blog because understanding each of our own sexual experiences and desires is the gift we each can give to each other's expansion of knowledge and to further societal communion. Sex is personal, but it is societal by the very merit of sex usually including and affecting more than one person ( families; sexual health and abuse on communities, for instance) and it is political because the powers that be have always tried to control our individual sex and gender, as it deems it should.

Facebook is a behometh that has woven itself into partnering with other sites and many of us have used it as our primary message and address book. The removal of one image = the removal of all the private messages and community visible comments a person places on other people's walls-- effectively severing ties with sometimes a few thousand people.

When a huge company like Facebook, that has no other like-sized competitor, censors free speech it censors the ability for adults to understand each other, it prevents adults to fully know how to responsibly guide their children.

I'll do a new post in the next week posing questions re the many conflicts against access to societal knowledge as seen between the Supreme Court's "community standards" effect on the 1st ammendment, and how huge corporate networks are too pervasively infused in our lives to be allowed "community standards" rights.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the comments you left on my blog ... it's a lovely surprise to be discovered, and appreciated by, someone from a different walk of life than my own. I hadn't seen my "journey" in the same light as you reflected to me, and I value your perspective and sharing part of yourself with me.

I've just had a chance to skim some of your blog and I'm impressed with you writing (and vocabulary)! While I may hold different views on sexuality (as I come from a more traditional-religious viewpoint), I think we both agree that sensuality and sexuality is a very important part of being human and a critical part of self-expression. I teach kids in the 12-14 age range and I wonder/worry about how they see and appreciate themselves in a world where sexuality seems to be made a commodity - cheapened, as i see it - instead of a vital and important part of who we are - worthy of being an extra dimension of our beings, instead of just a "whatever" that seems to be prsented.

Although I myself am not interested in the 3-some theme, I find the image of the embracing couple that you posted to be quite beautiful. When I see what kids are exposed to in magazines, music videos, lyrics etc. - I would see many examples more damaging there than this image. I see tenderness and appreciation for the other - strength and vulnerability.

I suppose each person sees their own interpretation. But to me this picture tells a story, and may lead to questions in kids old enough to ask, but I don't see it as offensive. Just my .02!


crystal haidl said...

Andie, Thanks so much for commenting and appreciating the issue about censoring art and sensuality. I think it says something important that many of us from different perspectives are honestly concerned about how our children are perceiving sexuality through the media. I believe we women, through the nature of our bodies, understand the naturalness of our sensuality over the culturally pervasive lustfulness=naughty/daring sense of sexuality more than most men do. (Having said that, there are a good number of men who appreciate the sensuality. We need their voices more!)

I'll definitely keep on reading surpriseofunfolding (love that "fun" spells into it!). I welcome any ideas you might have from a centrally-religious and/or teacher's perspective for our America's Sexuality Day 3/3/11's Theme "Are you sexually honest?".
Thanks again for the sharing and honesty in your blog.
Thoughtfully Unfolding is good!

Anonymous said...

It`s really interesting to reed. But all thk about other. Why so?