Today is Facebook Nudity Day. Were you not aware of this glorious holiday? Well, it’s not too late to embrace its magic.
Art historian Kathy Schnapper and artists Stephen Pusey and Grace Graupe-Pillard are responsible for dubbing Jan. 14, 2015, the day that social media users would fight back against the censorship powers that be. They’re nonplussed about the “continuing censorship of artists, curators and critics who have been censored for posting art and images that depict the nude human body” on Facebook. And now they’re doing something about it.
In protest of what some deem the seemingly arbitrary nature of Facebook’s nudity policy, Schnapper et al are encouraging people to flood the platform with naked paintings, photos, drawings, and sculptures galore, accompanied by the hashtag #FBNudityDay. Egon Schiele, Robert Mapplethorpe, Gustave Courbet, Francesca Woodman, Paul Cezanne — the gang’s all here!
In the past, Facebook has not looked kindly on the posting of works such as Gustave Courbet’s “L’Origine du Monde,” despite claiming in statements that “photos of paintings, sculptures and other art that depicts nude figures are [fine].” Last year, well-known art critic Jerry Saltz wrote a piece titled “I Got Kicked Off of Facebook for Posting Images of Medieval Art.” In it, he recounted the various times he’s been wrist-slapped by Facebook for featuring naked contemporary art.
Facebook Nudity Day organizers are keeping track of the day’s happenings by asking people who experience censorship — i.e. Facebook pulling your nude art post — to report it. You can message Schnapper, Graupe-Pillard and Pusey, of course, on Facebook. With the results, they are hoping to compile clearer information on the platform’s policies. (According to Hyperallergic, Electronic Frontier Foundation has also recently launched a website for reporting instances of censorship.)
Look upon some examples of the nude art finding its way to Facebook here, which consist, more often than not, of naked women. Suggestion: if you’re going to partake, try to equal the playing field and post some salacious male nudes. Either way, remember: Artists have been depicting the naked body for quite some time. So maybe today is as good a day as any to figure out how we’re supposed to talk about the unclothed human body in art.