Facebook has become Flankbook for naturists who brave its censorship vagaries. I haven’t even tried to accommodate the Nude Scribe site or its message to Facebook, but many intrepid naturists and naturist allies do attempt to yoke the massively popular site to their message of body acceptance and nude freedom. Some of them are actually quite successful, but also, almost all of them get censored by Facebook at one point or another, and punished with no images for a week, or even exile for a month. I do not support Facebook’s policy on images of nudity. Facebook censors already have been widely criticized for their Draconian reaction to photos of breastfeeding.
But so what do I mean by “Flank”book? (I’m not referring to a real site called Flankbook – something about ponies.) Here’s an excellent example of “Flank”book that I culled from one of the Facebook sites I support, “Live Life Leafless”:
|Flankin’ on FB
This is a fine image–beautiful, even–nothing wrong with it by itself. The subject does indeed appear to be nude, and not only that, but she appears to have been photographed in a lovely natural location. But because the subject has been photographed from the side and with her arms crossed over her chest, it demonstrates the censorship I’m talking about: if it’s a flank or a haunch or a side, then it’s Facebook safe. So what that means is that ideas on Facebook related to how nudity can be experienced and what naturism can be – at least as expressed in images – must always be illustrated obliquely, at a slant, on the sly, from the side. The effect of all this is only slightly better than pixelization or black censorship bars, because once again the viewer is only allowed to tiptoe up to the fence and peep though the slats, denied access to a full understanding of naturism and body-positive nudity. It’s not called “full-frontal” for nothing. If the nude in nature can only be documented–on Facebook–as a nude always having to cover herself or himself, or pose stiffly from the side, then it is not a natural nude at all.
I support Live Life Leafless, who also posts excellent dietary information, and I support the immense wealth of naturist, nude-friendly, and body-positive material posted on Facebook by Steve White. I just wish we didn’t have to continue playing peek-a-boo(k). Facebook / Flankbook–directly or indirectly, who knows–continues to fetishize and commoditize breasts, genitals, and buttocks by banishing them from its online empire and thus forcing the association of mere nudity with pornography.