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Breast cancer survivors’ body painting art censored by Facebook

Breast cancer survivors’ body painting art censored by Facebook


Facebook continues its moral crusade against the human nipple. Ukrainian top-free feminists FEMEN (who have faced their share of Facebook bannination) made me aware of the latest administrator crackdown on an art and advocacy project called the Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project (BCABPP).

Calling themselves “An all Breast Cancer Survivor project for awareness, fundraising, inspiration and healing worldwide” they use nude body painting and photography to help survivors express how they feel about what the disease has done to their bodies. But while Facebook generally gives an exception to nudity (which in America means exposed female nipples, bums and/or genitals) in paintings and other “art”, it does not except non-sexual nudity that has been painted.

“It has come to our attention,” states the petition against the social media network, “that Facebook is now censoring images being posted for this project. I have used social media long enough to know that they censor who and want they want. I see pornographic material on there daily. I see women, men, children using their bodies to elicit business in their avatar usage. What I want to know is HOW can they censor a project that uses the human canvas and creates ART – when they allow nude paintings and other photos to be shown? I am positive that our children see more T & A while surfing through Facebook (and other online venues), as well as just turning on the television, opening a magazine or going to a beach!”

Facebook is, as always, within its rights to censor based on its user Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. The problem artists and activists are having is that it simply prohibits “nudity” without stating details or exceptions and that enforcement is based on user reporting. So it is basically in the hands of the most prudish visitor to decide what is “pornography”, and Facebook admins usually follow a guilty-until-proven-innocent deletion policy. In the past, artists have been reinstated after causing PR headaches for the network. But they continue to pander to a very Middle American standard of decency.


The project is by Florida photographer Michael D. Colanero and body painter Keegan Hitchcock, along with an army of survivor volunteers.

You can see some of their work after the break.




For more of the work, visit their Facebook page, on Flikr,  or in person at UNCOMMON Gallery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project (BCABPP)
FEMEN (FB page)

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more