Lecture en cours
Tribune. Fury at the censorship of the net by Romy Alizée
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Le 24 novembre, le compte Instagram de Romy Alizée, photographe et travailleuse du sexe, était supprimé sans préavis. Dans un contexte où les grandes entreprises du Net durcissent leurs politiques concernant les contenus « adultes », l’idée d’écrire un texte dénonçant la censure sexiste d’Instagram se fait de plus en plus pressante, de plus en plus nécessaire.

Cet été la plateforme Patreon durcissait ses conditions à l’été 2018, et Manifesto publiait un article sur la précarisation de ses utilisateurices, artistes érotiques et travailleures du sexe. Les artistes ciblés queer, féministes alertaient déjà sur un tournant inquiétant. La question de la censure sur les plateformes digitales pose des questions culturelles et démocratiques qui vont bien au-delà de la simple représentation de la nudité et du désir. La rédaction de Manifesto XXI est fière d’avoir exposé le travail de Romy Alizée (ndlr interview ici) le 21 septembre 2018 à la Station. Avec la contribution d’Apolline Bazin, co-fondatrice de Manifesto, la tribune est publiée sur le site web de Libération le jeudi 13 décembre, et voici la conclusion :

Nous pourrions choisir de quitter Instagram. De nous tourner vers d’autres réseaux. Mais les alternatives se font rares : Tumblr vient d’annoncer la suppression de tous les «contenus adultes» de leur plateforme jusqu’ici «conciliante» (merci Apple). Patreon  a durci ses conditions à l’été 2018. Certain-e-s s’exilent, mais il y a un prix à payer, en tout cas pour les artistes. Nous pensons surtout que cette sortie ne devrait pas être la solution. La communauté dont parle Instagram, c’est nous aussi. L’injustice qui cible les femmes, les artistes féministes, les travailleuses du sexe, les personnes queer, les personnes trans, les personnes grosses et les personnes racisées n’est pas tolérable. Elle est en totale contradiction avec le combat pour l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes. Combat qui ne peut se passer de visibilité et de nouvelles représentations. Instagram, géants du net, si vous nous lisez, sachez que les textes comme celui-ci fleuriront, nous en sommes sûres. Il vous faudra répondre de cette discrimination genrée. L’injustice appelle la lutte, et nous, féministes ne baisseront jamais les bras.

Pour rejoindre la liste des signataires, vous pouvez écrire à apolline@manifesto-21.com

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©Romy Alizée

Signataires : Erika Lust réalisatrice de films érotiques, Emilie Hallard photographe et éditrice, Tess Raimbeau iconographe, Emilie Moutsis artiste plasticienne, Kali Sudhra artiste, activiste et travailleuse du sexe, Gilles Berquet photographe, Jean-Marc Sanchezfondateur de la Nue galerie, galeriste, Maïc Batmane artiste-illustratrice, Marie Savage Slit éditrice de la revue érotique Berlingot, Kay Garnellen artiste queer et travailleur du sexe, Festival du Film de Fesses, SMITH artiste, Rebecca Chaillon performeuse, Marianne Maric photographe, Emilie Jouvet réalisatrice et photographe, Jessica Rispal photographe et éditrice du Bateau magazineMisungui Bordelle performeuse, modèle, éducatrice sexuelle, Marianne Chargois performeuse et travailleuse du sexe, Maïa Izzo Foulquier porte-parole du Strass, Hildegarde performeur.se et musicien.ne, SubSpace, Axelle de Sade dominatrice professionnelle, Jeanne Ménétrier photographe plasticienne, Amar performeuse et travailleuse du sexe, Otto Zinsou photographe, Eva Vocz performeuse et travailleuse du sexe, Pierre Em ö acteur, Le Tag Parfait, Marie Rouge photographe, Elena Moaty peintre, Carmina réalisatrice et performeuse de films pornos, Daphné Huynh actrice et danseuse, Anoushka réalisatrice de films porno éthiques, Camille Emmanuelle journaliste et essayiste, Emmanuelle fondatrice de Paris Derrière, Bérangère Fromont photographe, Linda Trime photographe, Tan Polyvalence sex educatrix, Association Polychrome, Art Whore Connection, Collectif Prenez ce couteau, Patrick Cockpit photographe, Dwam Ipomée artiste et travailleuse du sexe, Marion Saurel photographe, Marie-Laure Dagoit écrivain et éditeur, Lily Hook artiste, Alex Huanfa Cheng artiste et photographe, Laure Giappiconi actrice, Miss L N I artiste, réalisatrice, hétaïre, Océane Feld photographe, Aphrodite Fur artiste, Anthony Ferreira photographe, Alizée Pichot auteure, Lobbiaz photographe, Nadège Piton performeuse, commissaire et coiffeuse, Vanda Spenglerphotographe, Laura Lafon photographe, Marguerite Bornhauser photographe, La Fille renne photographe, Dana Magazine, Féebrile photographe, Hana Bolkonski modèle et autrice, Anne Hautecoeur éditrice, Mara Haro photographe, Soisic Belin journaliste, Censored magazine, Collectif Lova Lova, Maïa Mazaurette chroniqueuse, Polysème magazine média féministe, Sarah Fisthole artiste, Cacti magazine revue féministe & culturelle, Lizzie Saint-septembre modèle, Maxime Barbier éditeur et graphiste, Diamantino Quintas tireur-filtreur, Wilfrid Estève directeur Hans Lucas, Antoine Doyen photographe, Vivian Allard musicien, Lucie Leclerc metteuse en scène, comédienne, activiste, Hélène Tchen Cardenas photographe, Virginie Merle photographe, Mélissa Fillon photographe, Raphaëla Icguane autrice, Sandra Fastre photographe, Dominique Secher photographe,Rasheeda Khobza poétesse, Valérie Evrard photographe, Justine Roquelaure photographe, Martin Bertrand photographe, Paul Roquecave photographe, Gael Michaud photographe, Tien Tran photographe, Théo Giacometti photographe, Idriss Bigou-Gilles photographe, Laurent Ferrière photographe, Ulysse Guttmann-Faure photographe, Nicolas Thomas photographe, Mathilde Lacombe étudiante et photographe, Alyson Bercuingt photographe, Isabelle Morison photographe, Isabelle Blanc photographe, Guillaume Mussau photographe, Laurent le Crabe photographe, Emmanuel Vivenot photographe, Chau-Cuong Lê photographe, Rodrigo Chellali photographe, Jimmy Beunardeau photographe, David Himbert photographe, Karine Pierre photographe, Elise Llinares photographe, Alban Grosdidier photographe, Yves Salaün photographe, Christophe de Barry photographe, Virginie Merle photographe, Élisa Monteil comédienne et créatrice sonore, Jacob Khirst photographe, Festival Eros Femina, Festival Comme nous brûlons, Leslie Barbara Butch DJ et activiste, Mikaël Demets éditeur, collectif Femmes Focales, Circé Deslandes autrice, Hélène Mastandréas réalisatrice, Moule graphiste et illustratrice, floZif performeuZ et programmation d’events queer, Maud Scandale attachée de presse, Citizen JiF photographe et réalisateur, Ma Gda musicienne et DJ, Florian Gaité chercheur en philosophie et critique et d’art, Emmanuelle Lefrançois photographe, Adrien Selbert réalisateur et photographe, Chloé Saffy écrivain, Christian Mamoun photographe, Stanislas Verjus-Lisfranc photographe, Charlotte Skurzak photographe, Lucie Rimey Meille photographe, Deborah Claire photographe, Jérôme Menasché galeriste, Eva Merlier photographe, Julia Palombe écrivaine et chanteuse, Carmen Abd Ali photographe, Rebecca Topakian photographe, Gaëlle Matata photographe, BOBY photographe, André Gonçalves artiste visuel, Tay Calenda photographe, Marion Soullier photographe, Elodie Petit poète, Julien Mignot photographe, Pascal Skapal photographe, Nicolas Vieira photographe, Mathilde Biron photographe, Zoé Bernardi photographe, Eleonora Strano photographe, Mathieu Mellec photographe, Ser Lait monteuse porn, Mistress Euryale dominatrice, Solène Ballesta photographe, Isaure Anska photographe, Mila Nijinsky photographe, Sarah de Vicomte vidéaste romantique, Vincent Bernard photographe, Estelle Marchi artiste, Lou Viguier chanteuse, Marion Lanciaux enseignante, Amélie escort, Clarence Edgard-Rosa auteure et journaliste, Ann Antidote artiste shibariste, Paloma Colombe réalisatrice et DJ, Hannah enseignante, Marc Quentin Bordenave éditeur, Emma Burlet photographe et directrice photo Spleen Factory, Lucile Boiron photographe, Aimé Pestel artiste, Florine Thiebaud photographe, Jules Cassignol musicien, Guillaume Blot photographe, Pia Ribstein photographe, Charlotte Mano photographe, Pierre Pascual plasticien, éditeur et réalisateur, Agathe Juguet étudiante en master d’histoire du féminisme et islam, Laure-Anne Tchen-Cardenas artiste, Chloé Sassi photographe, Marie Viard réalisatrice, Anne Vercasson comédienne, Amaury Grisel photographe, Ellande Jaureguiberry sculpteur, Jacques-Henri Heim photographe, Andy Picci artiste, Clémentine Negroni photographe, Laly Picon photographe, Manon Gallois photographe, Alice Dardun photographe, Jane Woolf photographe, Alice Pollet photographe, Clybee photographe, Marie Ployart photographe, Camille Ferré photographe, Méropée Honor photographe, Michel Grasso photographe, counter pressure modèle, Cyclique.

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©Romy Alizée

Translated version of the article, to share :

On November 24, 2018 at 10.00am, I connected to Instagram to share one of my latest images, a self-portrait with a friend, and a long double dildo. I had taken special care to select a photo without nudity. Not out of fear of having it reported, but simply out of artistic choice. This photo was my last publication before my account was deleted a few hours later, without receiving any explanatory emails. I was no stranger to censorship; Facebook, the Big Brother of surveillance, had done the exact same thing to me just three years before. 72 hours later, after I publicly called out and gently challenged Instagram about losing three
years of contacts, photos and message exchanges, I received an email from them. The moderation apologized for this error and invited me to reconnect and fully reinstated my account. Unfortunately, many others have never had this chance. They will never get their accounts back and will have to deal with the loss of all their work. In some cases, people’s account have been deleted multiple times after trying to  »start over again » with new accounts, leaving them feeling more defeated than before. This experience has alerted us to the insidious cultural totalitarianism that governs this censorship.

ARBITRARY TERMS OF USE

In the span of three days I exchanged messages with many people concerned by this censorship; artists, photo models and sex workers who are connected through their work with the body or eroticism. These are mostly feminist artists who censor their images before posting them by either blurring the photo, or adding an emoji to block the prohibited body part or area.
Owned by Facebook since 2012, Instagram imposes terms of use that have less to do with what the law sanctions (pornographic exposure to minors, hate speech…) than with arbitrary and reactionary decisions. While sexist, violent and hateful images, coupled with homophobic, misogynistic or racist comments, abound on Instagram’s global feed, they condemned me, a feminist photographer and sex worker, without warning. The visual productions of large companies such as Playboy do not seem to be concerned about these restrictive measures, so I deplore a difference in treatment that is sexist to say the least.

Facebook and Instagram are American companies, emblematic of a certain globalization. While they seduce users all over the world, the neutrality displayed by these media companies eventually unveils a neo-liberal and conservative reality. Therefore, in these spaces that operate on the self-representation of users, the control of bodies and ideas still prevail. Instagram’s lack of transparency is revealed when users report that their lingerie photos have never resulted in deletion, unlike images where their nudity is accompanied by political discourse. Is this the (actual) standard to be met? Is that why Playboy USA’s mainstream content is not being attacked? Or is it because the major image producers pay extra to distribute their content and are therefore customers of Facebook and Instagram?

FREE LABOR AND EXPLOITATION

One obvious observation emerges from the exchanges with various actors concerned by censorship: we are no longer on Instagram really by choice; we are there because it has become essential to communicate and disseminate our work.
We can create websites that will not suffer from censorship, but how can we promote them if Facebook and Instagram block access? In addition to censorship, these are obstacles to the professional development of artists offering so-called « problematic » content. These self-proclaimed social networks have a monopoly on online artistic distribution, so it seems
problematic that they can exercise such abuses of power, excluding certain artists from their platforms on the grounds that they do not respect their policies. And again, in regards to erotic content, what « problems » are we talking about here? What’s bothering them so much? We artists share our work for free, which Instagram directly makes money from.

Presented as a broadcasting service, the reality is that Instagram’s existence depends solely on our content. This content represents time and work that Instagram does not pay us for. In this sense, it is interesting to talk about free labour, and invisibility in the same way as domestic work, which has never made housewives financially self-sufficient. As good capitalist companies, Facebook and Instagram know how to take advantage of the involvement of our audience. What about the distribution of these profits? Since Facebook and Instagram are private mediation spaces, and not public spaces that care about cultural diversity, user interactions have a commercial value and the « user work » must also be qualified as such so that our public can understand that we are all concerned. Because why would they sanction content that is desired, in demand and supported by an active community, if not to send a message that the content is deviant, that we as artists and users are deviant? It is our imaginations, and their political power, that are at stake.

BE HOT AND SHUT UP

Finally, the discriminatory policy of Instagram and Facebook poses a problem in that it seems to target mainly women’s bodies or rather, some women’s bodies. In its new conditions of use, Facebook/Instagram prohibits nudity, scenes of sexual activity
even if they are not directly visible and reaffirms its puritanism by banishing everything that touches directly or indirectly on the notion of pleasure. The blur surrounding the banishment of nipple images is becoming clearer and once again it is women who are emerging vanquished from this exhausting war against the nipple. The female breast, responsible for all
ills, is only allowed if it is buried in a child’s mouth, in case of illness, or if it is linked to an act of protest. This new mention raises questions: to what extent will Facebook acknowledge that there is « protest »? Many of us use our bodies as political tools and fight gender discrimination through our work (including ethical and feminist pornography). However, we don’t need to go out and demonstrate topless with a flower wreath on our heads for our activism to be recognized and validated.

Voir Aussi

To date, no man has complained about the deletion of his account linked to topless images, however, photos of trans men whose trans identity is considered female by Instagram are regularly reported and deleted. Sexist, transphobic… and fatphobic. The hashtag #fatkini (a hashtag of fat women wearing bikinis) has caused a lot of images to be deleted, even though millions of images of women with thin bodies posing on the beach have remained online. Is an algorithm problem to blame? Instagram ultimately only tolerates women when they wear lingerie and close their mouths (and of course at the same time they must avoid showing the undesirable content of body hair or periods). Women’s empowerment at Facebook headquarters doesn’t seem to be on the agenda!

Instagram’s problem is that by censoring too much of it’s users’ content, it is setting a standard that is light years from what the world is in reality, and subsequently sending a distorted message to its millions of subscribers. Where the diversity of our cultures, lifestyles and thoughts could meet, instead a sanitized world emerges where everyone eats the same, travels to the same places, where girls spend their time in bathing suits and where violence -unmoderated words and excluding images – is perpetuated. To achieve this, the methods used by social networks to clean up their platforms deserve attention: a recent documentary alerted us to the working conditions of young and underpaid workers whose job is to watch every image or video that violates the rules imposed by Facebook and to remove them. Those images are often very violent and the employees are
forced to watch them entirely. A puritan American company employing people of color, putting them in a harsh and traumatizing work environment, this is their recipe for quick and effective censorship.

We could choose to leave Instagram, to turn to other networks. But alternatives are scarce: Tumblr has just announced the removal of all « adult content » from their « conciliatory » platform (thanks Apple). Patreon tightened its conditions in the summer of 2018. Some are going into exile, but there is a price to pay, at least for the artists, and above all, we think leaving is not the solution. We are also a part of the community that Instagram is talking about. The injustice that targets trans people, sex workers, people of colour, people with disabilities, queers, women and feminist artists is not tolerable. It is in total contradiction with a fight for equality between women and men. A fight that cannot be possible without inclusion and visibility.

Instagram, giants of the net, if you read this, know that texts like this one will flourish, we are sure of it, and then you will have to answer for this gender discrimination. Because injustice calls for struggle, and we feminists will never give up.

Romy Alizée, photographer and sex worker
With the contribution of Apolline Bazin, co-founder of ManifestoXXI
English Translation by Kali Sudhra, activist, artist and sex worker & Salma Chenguiti, translator.

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©Romy Alizée
Voir les commentaires (4)
  • Artiste (Le Délesteur) je suis banni et censuré par Google depuis 16 mars 2019 pour « SPAM AGRESSIF – Vous publiez du contenu vide de sens –
    Mon travail joue sur l’ambiguïté qu’un algorithme ne peut reconnaitre.
    Derriere un aspect technique que Google met en avant pour justifier un bannissement, se cache une machine effroyable de destruction massive de « points aberrants » et un lissage du web, que personne ne peut voir.
    12 années détruites, en un clin d’oeil, sans recours possibles, car pour entrer dans la case Google, je dois en fin de compte, arrêter mon travail et être lisse.
    Depuis, je le jeu du gendarme et du voleur s’est installé, je je recommence inlassablement à reconstruire en changeant d’identité et de site web, jusqu’à me faire de nouveau bannir.
    La censure n’existe donc pas seulement sur les réseaux sociaux mais aussi est pratiqué par les moteurs de recherche surtout Google.
    D’ailleurs je suis également censuré sur Facebook et Instagram, en revanche à la différence avec Google, c’est que vous savez exactement pourquoi vous l’êtes, contrairement à Google qui ne vous en donne pas la raison précise.
    Le Délesteur

  • Quand on montre son cul dilaté et que l’on provoque en se godant la vulve en public faut pas croire que tout se passera bien.

  • Faudrait donc démenager en direction de framasphere, diaspora – bien que ces sites ne soient pas trop fréquentées…

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