Carolina Are has written extensively about the use of social media, in particular that of Instagram, in the dissemination of content by sex-positive, sex-work and sex-work adjacent creators. According to Are ‘…women’s bodies and their performance of specific activities can both be a form of expression and a source of income’ (2019).
She highlights that sharing content on Instagram that contains ‘suggestive’ poses or partially nude forms (particularly those which may be female) can result in shadowbanning or the content being made invisible. In some cases, it can lead to the removal of content and even account deletion. She goes on to write that ‘Instagram’s understanding of sexually suggestive elements has been notoriously opaque, inconsistent, arbitrary, and puritan’. This can make conditions confusing for content creators who deal with themes that may be sexual or sensual in nature (2023).
This censorship by Instagram is not only problematic from a feminist point of view, it also creates obstacles in disseminating content. Therefore, impacting opportunities for earning and visibility (2021).
These restrictive policies are already impacting the dissemination of my current work dance practice, with content regularly shadowbanned and in some cases deleted. It may pose problems when it comes to sharing Fine Art performance work that deals with the themes of exploring the feminine subjectivity, as well as the implications of objectification through autobiographical experience as a pole dancer.
Are, C. (2021) The Shadowban Cycle: an autoethnography of pole dancing, nudity and censorship on Instagram, Feminist Media Studies, 19 May 2021, available: Taylor & Francis [accessed: 31 March 2023]
Are, C. and Briggs, P. (2023) The emotional and financial impact of de-platforming on creators at the margins. Social Media + Society, 9(1), p.20563051231155103.