Facebook censored a calendar picture uploaded by Hivos South America

February 7, 2014

One of the thirteen pictures that make up “The one I am”, the 2014 calendar produced by Hivos’ regional office in South America, was censored by Facebook in late January. The calendar presents underwater images of Bolivian women taken by photographer Wara Vargas. The women, suspended, moving or gesturing, transform their corporeality through the lens to reclaim the female body as the subject of their own desires and pleasures.

A diverse range of identities are reflected in this calendar: the woman artist, the Andean woman, the transgender woman, the Afro-Bolivian woman, the mother, the woman who refuses to obey rules imposed by others on the female body. They run counter to the daily practices that trivialize, objectify and condemn women to represent beauty standards set by male desires and consumption.

On January 23, the Hivos regional office in South America Facebook page was penalized by the administrators of Facebook because of a picture from the calendar that had been uploaded the day before. “We have removed something that has been published on your site because it violates our Community rules”, said the message sent by the administrators. Immediately, followers of the page started to share the picture in their personal walls. Some of them were penalized as well.

Undeterred, the regional office went on to host numerous presentations of the calendar in cities such as Santa Cruz and Cochabamba which were well attended from the local press.

Each image captured in “The one I am” was part of a process that required the twelve women portrayed to make a personal and collective exploration of the autonomy of their own bodies, their pleasures and desires. Their discoveries are reinforced in the texts that accompany each image, written by each of them.

The 2014 calendar is an initiative of the Hivos ‘Rights & Citizenship’ program that invests in civil society initiatives for democratic change, LGBT rights, women’s rights and HIV/AIDS.

Hivos works with frontrunners of change and social justice to further women’s rights and lobby for new laws protecting women against discrimination and sexual and domestic violence.