My entire account was deleted from facebook this morning. If you know my history at all, you know that I've had photos removed numerous times from facebook, because of perceived indecency. My photos thus far were all art related, because I feel inspired by motherhood, nursing, and the human figure. I love breastfeeding art; I think it's a wonderful female perspective on figurative art, and I continued posting it despite repeated warnings. You might also remember that I was featured by a few different media sources concerning these early removals of my paintings. Here is my interview with Sheila Coles on CBC, "The Story from Here", (just go to "listen, part two.) Here is also the article written in the Toronto Star on the subject of my facebook deletions.
This morning I heard more details on the fact that fellow breastfeeding advocate Emma Kwasnica had her account deleted, and I felt so angry. I also felt ashamed- because, although I have posted many breastfeeding paintings, and although I am a huge advocate for breastfeeding, I had never had the courage to post a photo of myself breastfeeding. I've always been a little shy about my own body. This is a fact that may surprise you, since I've painted a few nude self portraits, and since I used to pose for life drawing classes, but I never felt very brave about posting breastfeeding photos of myself. This morning I felt ashamed. I looked at Emma's photo, and remembered ALL her smiling, gorgeous photos, remembered her humour and thoughtful advice... and I thought I have been SUCH a chicken. I felt ashamed for never posting a breastfeeding photo of myself.
SO, I posted this photo as my profile picture. I was just in the process of discussing it with some friends when I was asked to re-log in. I tried to and failed. My account was deleted, and with it many contacts and friends that I am now trying to get back in touch with. It happened so fast I couldn't believe it. I feel more upset than I thought I would. I feel like I've lost a limb. I've lost a lot of people with my facebook account, many people I knew from childhood and have NO idea how to get back in touch with. So friends- my first request (if you haven't already,) please get in touch with me through this webpage.
Thanks to talented artist Amy Swagman there is a group on Facebook to get my account re-instated. Please join this group, "Bring Kate Hansen Back." If you're familiar with art on facebook you might notice that there are many beautiful nude artworks by many many artists. Why are breastfeeding portraits being targeted for removal? I think there is some sexism involved in these removals. I believe that the female perspective is being denied and marginalized by these actions. The breastfeeding mother is a very specifically female perspective on the breast, since it doesn't involve men at all. Perhaps some hatered of breastfeeding women stems from the fact that (some) men feel visually excluded from the nursing dyad; the woman in question is not exposing her breasts for male pleasure, in fact she seems oblivious to the male gaze.
Another photo I uploaded which led to my recent deletion was this one. It's a piece by lesbian artist Catherine Opie, titled "Self Portrait/Nursing." This photograph was almost immediately removed from my fansite and I received the usual letter from Facebook, saying it was "Hateful, Threatening and/or Obscene." In a recent article by popular the popular Blacktating blog, Elita stated that the same photo was removed when a friend of hers posted it on her page. I venture to guess that more than nudity prompted this removal. This woman, a lesbian mother and not petite, is not the typical nude which facebook is willing to promote. She falls outside of the heterosexual male dominated paradigm that we're accustomed to seeing, and facebook is intolerant of that.
Finally I want to thank all the friends who have joined in the campaign against my removal. Amy Swagman has been incredibly helpful to me by creating and managing the group I mentioned. Krista Cornish Scott has been phoning me, talking to me and supporting me, so many mothers and women on twitter have expressed their outrage and support. My mother Molly Barber has been incredibly helpful, even looking after my kids today while I write this. I feel so loved and supported by all of you, and I'm incredibly grateful for that.
A blog on art, roller derby and life.
I'm an artist and mother of two in Courtenay, BC. I've completed a project called the "Madonna and Child Project," and I'm now working on a series of roller derby inspired drawings. In my spare time I play roller derby with the Brick House Betties.