The Warwick Rowers are famous for their annual semi-naked calendar which raises money for the anti-homophobia Sports Allies campaign. After the repeated removal of their posts by Facebook and Instagram, the rowers are accusing the social media platforms of hypocrisy, homophobia, and misogyny.
We post content featuring implied male nudity on our Warwick Rowers Facebook and Instagram accounts regularly. And equally regularly, our posts are taken down on the vague grounds that we have “breached community guidelines”. Let’s be clear here. We take every precaution to observe guidelines, even anticipating possible objections where the rules are ambiguous. There is simply nothing offensive or sexual about our imagery. But we just cannot win. A post goes up and within a few minutes, it’s been taken back down. This contrasts hugely with other accounts on Instagram and Facebook that we have reviewed. Accounts that feature similar levels of female nudity, often presented in a far more sexualized and exploitative manner than the images featuring the Warwick Rowers, are left alone to post whatever they like.
Academic research shows that female actors in Hollywood films are three times as likely to be asked to perform nude as male actors, alongside receiving consistently less pay for their trouble. Here we see exactly the same cultural bias at work, and not just in the people who report our images. The staff at the platforms are failing to counteract this bias. They need to be supported to become more objective. — The Warwick Rowers