Recently, Victorian Women’s Trust came under Facebook’s scrutiny for reasons that they believe are incorrect.

They have been banned by Facebook from advertising a tote bag for sale as part of a fundraising drive. The bag features a picture of two nude women dancing and was created by the Melbourne artist Frances Cannon. She uses  her work to promote self-esteem, positive body image and self-love.

The depiction of two nude woman dancing was considered against the advertisement policy and therefore the promotion of the bag was taken down by Facebook.

The Trust was started in 1985, as an independent body with a mandate to improve conditions for women in practical and lasting ways.

?Happy International Day of the Girl! ?May all girls flourish, kick butt + aim high. It makes us so happy to share this @frances_cannon x @vicwomenstrust collab on such an auspicious day! We worked with Melb artist @frances_cannon to create a limited edition ethical tote bag that celebrates the beauty + power of friendship, while raising much needed funds for women + girls. Available in black or white, it's the ultimate everyday tote and the perfect match for your feminist agenda. Get it while you can! ✨ Link in the bio ✨

A post shared by Victorian Women's Trust (@vicwomenstrust) on


The official Facebook page of the organization had posted the picture of the product with a caption, “This spring, we’ve collaborated with Melbourne based artist Frances Cannon to create a limited edition ethical tote bag that celebrates the beauty + power of friendship.”

✨? Frances Cannon x VWT collab is here! ?✨

This spring, we’ve collaborated with Frances Cannon Artist to create a…

Posted by Victorian Women’s Trust on Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Guardian, quoted the trust’s manager of strategic communications, Allyson Oliver-Perham, said “This bag was in no way meant to be controversial”. “Our work is centred around research and advocacy and in order to do that work we are dependent on donations and need to reach new audiences. This project was targeted towards younger women, who we are trying to inform about the work we do. I’m just dumbfounded by Facebook’s response to this. The artwork is supposed to be really nice and positive, it depicts a celebration of women supporting each other, dancing and coming together. It fits in with the work of the artist, Frances Cannon, whose work promotes body positivity.”

Facebook responded that their ad was not approved because it violated a number of Facebook’s ad policies.

They specified that they don’t allow adverts that depict nudity, even if it isn’t sexual in nature. This includes the use of nudity for artistic or educational purposes. Adverts like these are sensitive in nature and hence are not allowed. Oliver-Perham adhered to Facebook’s policy by using strategically placed emojis to cover up the nudity in the artwork. But Facebook did not accept the changes because the location of the emojis “imply nudity”.

Later the organization posted the link for the website on their Facebook page from where one could purchase the bags, which was sold to raise funds to carry out its work but worries that it will now lose money after it was banned from promoting the ad on Facebook and Instagram.

With all due respect to Facebook’s policy, It’s imperative to comprehend the reason as to why it has been used and then take a just stand.

Even though the picture did not follow conventional style it does not mean it was promoting anything otherwise. There is as such no problem with the picture. The objective of the picture would be easily grasped if we could devote a minute to understand its creation.

Moreover, the artist associated with this project is someone who primarily worked towards promoting body positivity. The bag is a symbol of loving one’s body against “body-shaming” practice. The idea is to disseminate the importance of embracing one’s body. This picture depicts underarm hair, leg hair and a round body shape which are all usually scorned off by the society. Also, this picture talks about sisterhood and the beauty of women dancing together embracing how they are.

Just because it depicts nudity does not mean it should be banned but rather the reason behind it should be analysed and then come to a conclusion.

So, what do you all think about it? Comment below and let us know!

Also Read: Hindu College’s Sexist Poster receives backlash

Reshma Ganeshbabu is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed in this column are author’s own.

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