Slut-Shaming, Facebook, and Double Standards- Oh, My! **NSFW

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Slut-shaming is a form of social stigma applied to people, especially women and girls, who are perceived to violate certain traditional expectations for sexual behaviors. Some examples of circumstances where women face slut-shaming include violating dress code policies by dressing in perceived sexually provocative ways, requesting access to birth control, having premarital, casual, or promiscuous sex, engaging in prostitution, or when being victim blamed for being raped or otherwise sexually assaulted. Now, we can add posting a picture of their bodies on Facebook to that list.

slut shaming
Perverse sign of Babylon
slut shaming
Hairy nipple A-ok because… men

One week ago today, I posted a photo onto Facebook of our new First Lady Melania Trump. The photo was censored, meaning her nipples were blurred out to abide by the double standard which mandates women’s nipples be seen as sexual objects, while the male nipple is seen as useless. If you notice the photos to the left and right of this paragraph, one is allowed on Facebook based on it being attached to a male human, while the other is not, due to the fact it is seen as genitalia. From prudes who hate public breastfeeding to cowards who want to confine them to porn sites, society has a problem with women showing their bare breasts. This is known as the double standard, without which, slut-shaming would be impossible.

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slut-shaming
The post which caused me to be banned for a week

It made me angry to see people who would make one post to social media claiming to be feminists eager for the chance to see Hillary Clinton be the first woman in the White House, while following up with a post claiming Mrs. Trump is a whore for participating in nude photo spreads. For that reason, I made a post demanding of my friends to cease the attacks on the new FLOTUS-elect. I even posited Mrs. Trump could be our first ever body-positive, sexually liberated First Lady who could possibly bring to an end the days of prudish and false morals which have been used by men to subjugate women and force them into the role of sexual objects. I sparked a conversation on slut-shaming that was insightful, relevant, and even brought, for the first time since Nov. 8th, hope to my dark world. I was proud of myself for finding a ray of light in the shadow of a Trump presidency. My first moments of rising from the ashes of the election were soon brought to a screeching halt when the Facebook gods came at me saying I must sit in the corner thinking about what I have done.

Facebook's ApologyMy post was later restored, as it proved to indeed be censored and not in violation of Facebook Community Standards, however, my “privileges” were not returned until the full seven day punishment was received. Despite the fact I did nothing to warrant being banned from the site. As well, the post I made has somehow disappeared without a trace. I never removed it. Facebook claimed to have restored it, yet it was reported as “spam” and removed once again. The second removal stuck and the post is now gone forever.

I find it to be insane that we cannot show the female nipple, but can show the male version of the same body part. It bothers me that the mere thought of showing a part of the female body can be reason to treat us as children, grounding us from using a website. I also find it to be a huge testament to what those who work for Facebook see as violating the “sense of community” we have on Facebook. As a gay man, I have had numerous individuals on Facebook tell me to kill myself or to go get raped. As an agender person who is perceived as cisgender, I have endured horrific attacks from members of the Trans community for refusing their forced label of Cis. Not once have those people been banned after having been reported, but a censored pic of a woman’s breasts and the trusty Facebook moderators on it with a quickness.

It hasn’t been all bad, to be honest. I have enjoyed my vacation from social media. I didn’t sit wallowing over the fact I couldn’t share my opinion or react to certain posts. I have spent this week reconnecting with friends I “comment” with daily; we were able to have real conversations, in private, about life and family. I was able to really focus on my work at The Pacific Tribune and even conducted a few interviews for the first time as a journalist. I got caught up on some classes I needed to finish. I spent time with family and taught my sister’s granddaughter the purpose of peaceful protest and what it means to fight racial inequity in America. I needed this break, especially after having witnessed my country elect a man who ran his campaign with fear-mongering, bigotry, and Hitleresque nationalism.

That being said, this break should have been allowed naturally without having been forced by Mark Zuckerberg’s team of Nipple Police. The very concept of a team being in place to safeguard the public against seeing a breast is absurd. Breasts are beautiful and life-giving parts of the female anatomy by which women are not defined. They are not genitals and should not be treated as such. No woman should be made to feel ashamed for showing her breasts either when feeding their child or simply living in a moment of freedom and liberation. There is no place in modern society for slut-shaming.

Jeff B. White
Jeff White is a News Editor and contributor for The Pacific Tribune. Jeff is a gay man who was born and raised in Mississippi; he has lived all over the country, but will always consider the South to be his home. Mr. White's passion for the truth and empathy for those less fortunate are driving forces in all that he does.