Another day, another instance of Facebook and Instagram deleting photos and suspending accounts that feature moms' postpartum bodies.
Alberta sisters-in-law Aimee and Jenna Hobbs say they've recently come under fire from both social media platforms, after posting pictures from their annual project, A Mother's Beauty.
The project captures women and their children posing, playing, and occasionally breastfeeding. Sometimes the subjects are in their underwear; sometimes they decide to doff their clothes altogether.
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Which is all too much for social media, apparently.
Over the weekend, Instagram deleted several of the project photos from the Hobbs Photography page, and Facebook imposed a three-day ban on both sisters' personal and professional Facebook pages, the pair told HuffPost Canada in a phone interview.
It's something that happens to them often. Not one year has gone by where photos don't get removed and accounts temporarily locked, they said.
One of the offending photos removed from Instagram (and pictured below) features a mom in her bra and underwear holding up her naked toddler.
Another photo, featuring a woman wearing "granny panties" and turned away from the camera but looking back over her shoulder, was also deleted — something the sisters describe as "confusing."
Instagram's community guidelines state:
"...We don't allow nudity on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. It includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed.
People like to share photos or videos of their children. For safety reasons, there are times when we may remove images that show nude or partially-nude children."
More from HuffPost Canada:
"Sure, the kid is naked, but it's not even like you can see his bum or anything. And the one of the mom in her granny panties, you couldn't see anything," Jenna said, adding that a recently posted photo of a naked, pregnant mom went untouched by Instagram's censors.
"There's no rhyme or reason for the photos that we've seen deleted," Aimee said.
Aimee admits Instagram and Facebook have made strides in recent years — both are more tolerant of (Warning: images in these links are NSFW) breastfeeding and childbirth photos. However, she says it's baffling why photos showcasing the reality of motherhood are still deemed so offensive.
"We're kind of walking on eggshells and trying to work around their rules, even though those rules are very inconsistent and we don't really know what they are," she said.
The sisters say they aren't sure whether it's individuals or an algorithm that's flagging their content to censors, but both agree there's a "terrible" double standard in what is deemed appropriate for social media.
"This is all a pretty tough pill to swallow when social media flaunts endless accounts focusing on the hypersexualization, objectification and degradation of women," they wrote in a blog post on their website.
Each and every year without fail, when we share the pictures of the brave mothers who trust us with themselves and their words, we face pushback. This year, with the incredible work done by the humans behind @empoweredbirthproject, we were so, so hopeful this might be the year. The year where social media accepts that women are more than sexual objects, that a bare bummed two year old in his mother's arms is not pornographic content, and that being a mother doesn't seem to be so horrifying to the "community guidelines". This year was not that year. Once again, we had multiple pictures removed from our feed and our stories, had hands slapped with warnings and threats to have our account disabled or deleted and are currently in the midst of a Facebook ban. This is all a pretty tough pill to swallow when social media flaunts endless accounts focusing on the hyper sexualization, objectification and degradation of women. A platform, run by men, where a close up photo of a female's thong crammed ass is a-ok, but a confident woman in her "granny panties" is not. So, we will say a big ol' fuck you Facebook and Instagram. Thank you for showing us we're on the right track and have much, much more work to do. Maybe you can surprise us and get your shit together for this time next year, but if not, we look forward to knowing we're still doing our best to make a difference. If you've read this far, we would LOVE for you to show these incredible women your support. You can read their stories in the full length post on our blog. The link is in our profile. Much love, Aimee & Jenna . #motherhood #motherhoodrising #honestmotherhood #selflove #amothersbeauty #takebackpostpartum #motheringwithoutfear #yeg #yegmoms
"It's just reenforcing what society is so good at telling others — if a woman doesn't bounce back after they give birth, they're somehow broken," said Aimee.
"It's so enraging."
The Hobbs sisters aren't the first to ask why content related to a woman's motherhood experience are is offensive to the higher powers of social media.