This month, we got our works deleted on Instagram for the third time. We weren’t too shocked on the first strike, as it was showing a full-frontal buttocks shot. Then, we cropped it half and re-posted it again. It got deleted in a couple of hours. On our third post, we posted an image of our model, Charlie, skinny dipping in a pool and we did some censorship on the nipples. Still, it got taken down. Last year, we were also not surprised when O Channel blurred out some pages on our book “Close”, featuring an image of Salvita taking a shower, when it was aired on local TV. In reality, all of us are used to the fact that images of uncovered women are seen as unacceptable by the society.
Ironically, we’re used to seeing images objectifying the “covered” female body on Instagram. Seeing women being sexually-harassed, degraded, and slut-shamed have sadly been the acceptable norm. Not gonna lie, most of us got introduced to a sexual definition through porn and nude girls. One time, we found one of our self-portraits in a bikini got posted on this sex oriented account, which consists of a gallery of Indonesian girls in swimsuits with inappropriate hashtags that clearly shows it was posted without their full consent. Those types of accounts still remain until now.
Earlier this month, we were truly honored to be invited as one of the participants for Girl Effect workshop, where we are challenged to create a new normal with and for girls. So here on our blog, this might be one of the available mediums where we are able to freely share artworks that Instagram has banned before. We don’t want to be used to this. We don’t want to normalize the fact that images of female body forms are seen as sexual and offensive to the society, especially here with our biggest readership in Indonesia. As artists, of course there are very real pressures to express our works we face everyday that can turn into literal censorship. What we want to show is that women’s naked bodies and sexuality are not mutually exclusive. As women, we should be able to demonstrate and celebrate our bodies and sexuality without being accused of demeaning ourselves. To be wonderfully female means we have zero intention to please a man’s desire.
Photography by Sally Ann & Emily May