Activist, artist and Coco de Mer founder Sam Roddick has been banned from Instagram for life. Her account was deleted from the site on Tuesday without explanation, conversation or justification from the Facebok-owned company in an act that screams of censorship and the social media giant’s increasing tendency to control what material reaches its audience.
Roddick – who currently has a show at Michael Hoppen Gallery, Hidden Within, which explores themes of voyeurism and the male gaze – had been posting pictures of the furnishings and fittings in her home, many of which were recently featured in the Sunday Times Style supplement. Essentially, Instagram appeared mortally offended by a cornice in Roddick’s home that was designed to resemble a vagina.
This is but the latest in a series of Instagram censorships which include removing images of pregnancy stretch marks, banning mothers who post images of themselves breastfeeding and the removal of images posted by photographer Rupi Kaur because they showed her menstrual blood. Petra Collins was also banned for showing an unshaven bikini line.
These exclusive comments are Sam Roddick’s first since the incident and come with great clarity in light of a suppression of free and artistic speech that is fast becoming a routine practice for social media platforms.
“To be clear, I loved my account and I feel violated by Instagram that my collection of images has gone into their visual graveyard. I loved seeing the images posted by the carefully curated people that I followed and the interaction I had with those who followed me; they were smart creative people who were funny and deep. So I am pissed off and hurt – I want my original account back! Instagram permitted no dialogue, which is offensive. Their curation of images is misogynistic. They said I couldn’t appeal but they gave me no explanation of why.
One of the brilliant aspects of social media is that it was a democratic platform for creativity. The digital instruments demand nothing more than one eye and a button which makes it available to everyone – the problem is it is only a true democracy if it is uncurated.
Instagram are now becoming curators of sexual content and their curational eye is being revealed as immature and violently misogynistic. The Film Board have a much more intellectual and emotionally intelligent logic to what they find permissible and to what age category they place film content in. However, Instagram say they do not permit nudity or sexual suggestion but a huge percentage of what is posted on Instagram is sexualised imagery and are in fact nudes. The issue is that this hypocrisy is dangerous and the images they are censoring versus what they are permitting is normalising the worst of sexual imagery while banning artistic emotionally layered commentary. I imagine the majority are who are making these decisions are young men who are not equipped to make the choice and therefore turning Instagram into an offensive infantile misogynistic channel.”
The gallery below is a selection of the images which Instagram took exception too. The cornice was the “final straw”