Are social media stigmatizing those who advocate or practice certain sexual activities?
In Feb. Fetlife had deleted groups, photos and posts:
[Fetlife] was tightening community guidelines to ban depictions or discussion of edgier kinks, including blood, non-consent, alcohol, cutting, and the vaguely defined “obscenity.” [it] deleted thousands of photographs, groups and fetish categories without warning.
Fetlife joins other social media such as Youtube, Blogger/Blogspot, Google+, Tumblr, Facebook that I and others have documented in previous posts. They claim that credit card companies will delete their merchant accounts if they don’t censor.
This action is endemic of a kind of Sexual prejudice, a sexual stigma to what is deviant to the heteronormative culture.
Dr. Herrick describes this
as being descriptive, free of presumptions about motivations, and lacking value judgments as to the irrationality or immorality of those so labeled.
Those in the #bdsm community are particularly removed from any resistance to the stigma because the APA still wants to define the activity as a type of mental illness (paraphilia) :
Due to societal shift on what is defined as sexually deviant the use of ‘paraphilic’ has significantly changed over time, and within cultures, and thus strict definitions of a paraphilia are problematic…
[instead, they propose to define paraphilia as]
any powerful and persistent sexual interest other than sexual interest in copulatory or pre-copulatory behaviour with phenotypically normal, consenting adult human partners”
In laymen’s language, the shrinks prefer to think of #bdsm practices as a treatable illness. As long as they do, the social media and their conservative financial backers will continue to censor anything they consider objectionable.
I wish I could think of a “call for action” in these politically conservative times. At best, we can hope to educate the public that:
- sex work between consenting adults is a legitimate line of work and should not be criminalized.
- bdsm practices between consenting adults is not an illness and should not be criminalized.
After Same-Sex Marriage was finally upheld by SCOTUS, we now have to continue the fight for sexual freedom.
How can you help? Check out EFF’s review of censorship in 2016. And report abuse (and $upport) onlinecensorship.org
Thank you for shedding light on this. I had no idea it was happening and will do some research!
It will be interesting to see what you come up with. After thinking about the issue I realized that social media doesn’t deliberately stigmatize what they consider “deviant behavior”. The media simply acts out of the social foundations (a.k.a “conventional wisdom”) that are in place. Herrick compares this to the attitudes of 50 years ago when what we now call “homophobia” were acceptable. Stigmatizing gays was considered acceptable possibly because many in the medical profession thought “gay” behavior was curable. While gay men have made great strides in making their behavior acceptable, there are still many other sexual stigmas (such as consensual bdsm) that are not.
In light of this and the increase in conservative social views, I believe we cannot rest on our past accomplishments. It may require eventual legal victories at the highest courts (SCOTUS) to break down the barriers put in place by social media, financial and many government institutions.
I’ve learned that in countries where consensual bdsm practiced in private spaces is legal, people have accepted it as a sort of “therapy” similar to massage. Maybe there is hope.