The Womanizer Instagram has been reinstated after a devastating ban, just the latest in the worrying trend of Instagram penalizing accounts promoting sexual health and empowerment. This worrying trend of censorship can be seen across Facebook, Insta and other social media platforms, with Womanizer the latest sex positive company struggling with increasingly puritanical and reactionary censorship laws. Under Instagram’s current policy, a tasteful, high quality sex toy brand comes under the same category of “sexualized content” as hardcore pornography and sex work services. Banning that more extreme sexual content is a problem in itself – though a deeper conversation for another article – but just what exactly does Instagram think is going to happen if people have access to the kind of pro-sex, pro-women, pro-self-love content that Womanizer promote? Let’s take a look at the situation.
Why is Womanizer Important?
Womanizer is a global sex toy brand, the originator of the incredible Pleasure Air Technology, the patented clitoral stimulation method that has thrilled millions of satisfied customers the world over. While sex toys may not be a topic of conversation over dinner with your grandmother (no shade to the super cool grandmas and older people who embrace sexual discussion) they are a vital part of self-love, self-care, sexual exploration and pleasure seeking.
Womanizer offers variety, encouraging users to find out what feels good for them. You can enjoy their bestselling clitoral stimulation model Womanizer CLASSIC or experience the intense blended orgasms from dual stimulation toy Womanizer DUO, developing your self-love repertoire or spicing up play with a partner by introducing one of these toys into your bedroom antics.
However, Womanizer not only sells top-notch sex toys – they promote frank and open discussion about sexual health and wellness, loving the body you’re in and taking the time to treat yourself with compassion and care. What about that could Instagram possibly think is harmful?
The Womanizer Instagram page uses tasteful language and imagery when promoting their toys, with the vibe of a chic fashion or advice page and a pleasing aesthetic. There’s no graphic anatomical images, no coarse language, no sexual aggression or vulgarity. The question is – even if you think that sexual vulgarity needs to be censored, how is Womanizer’s account in any way vulgar? We need answers, Instagram!
Is Censorship Ever a Good Thing?
This is a pretty deep philosophical question, but a common sense approach seems to dictate that a little censorship in certain contexts can be helpful. Nobody wants to see hate groups, neo-Nazis or homophobes run rampant and unchecked to spread their message of violence and bigotry. Instagram has a feature that asks users to confirm that they want to view images that may be upsetting, such as gory images of accidents, surgery or conflict. This seems sensible, especially for younger viewers or those of a nervous disposition. It also makes sense to make sure that users don’t accidentally click on pictures of, say, sexual violence or extreme BDSM while they’re just scrolling through Insta for some inspo on jazzing up their new conservatory. But beyond these obviously full-on examples, is there ever any sense in censoring sexual discussion?
Sex is not just a dirty thing, it ties into so many other issues: health, self-love, sexual and gender identity, social justice and more. By censoring sex as a topic as a whole, Instagram is limiting public access to not just open sexual discussion, but so much more. This has the nasty taste of the (sadly still ongoing) debate about whether schools should be able to discuss homosexuality, or whether queer characters have a place in children’s cartoons. Like sex in general, queerness has long-standing, old-fashioned notions perpetuated by the media of being something dirty, something shameful, something that should be kept away from children, and even adults. Does Instagram really think that frank, open sexual discussion is going to warp our fragile little minds? Do we need what we’re allowed to see decided by a bunch of rich men who own social media platforms? Call me crazy, but I don’t care what Mark Zuckerberg has to say about my sexual tastes, interests and issues. It’s time things change.
What Can We Do In The Future?
Although Womanizer were lucky to have enough fabulous supporters rallying for the cause, many other smaller accounts with less clout are still suffering. Womanizer continue to fighting back against the banning trend – and you can help. If you see an account being banned when it’s doing nothing wrong, just follow these steps to support content creators:
- Go to Instagram ‘Settings’
- Click on ‘Help’
- Click on ‘Report a problem’
- Select ‘General Feedback’ from the options menu
- Place the following and press send: “Please reactivate @account on Instagram”
Womanizer’s campaign #UnmutePleasure continues to fight the good fight and take action against puritanical social media restrictions. You can read more on Womanizer’s mission in this awesome write-up from ADWEEK.