Warwick Women's Rowing Team Photos Removed From Facebook, Angering Feminists Everywhere
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard of the Warwick men's rowing team and their nude calendars for charity. Each year, the UK team releases a calendar full of images that showcase them frolicking through fields and posing on docks in their birthday suits, with the proceeds going to Sports Allies, a charity that fights homophobia and bullying. Last year, the Warwick women's rowing team jumped on the naked bandwagon in order to donate to a cancer charity. However, in a move that smells suspiciously of sexism, this week Facebook removed the team's page due to "explicitly sexual content."
The calendar, which includes pictures of 17 members of the rowing team, features team members running naked through meadows and sitting in boats in the River Avon, grinning and holding lifesavers over their bodies. As with their male compatriots' efforts, none of the images features full-frontal nudity. So far the team has made £3,400, or $5,809, for Macmillan Cancer Support, a group that provides medical aid to those suffering from cancer. But for whatever reason, Facebook decided that the calendar images they posted on Facebook violated their "strict policy against the sharing of pornographic content”.
Hmmm. That strikes me as odd, Facebook, since you've allowed the men's page to post very similar images. So this isn't pornographic content...
But this is...?
Team member Sophie Bell, who organized the calendar, said that Facebook occasionally complained about specific photos. The team always complied by removing them, but Facebook changed its mind and removed the page entirely.
"We always made the amendments and took the pictures down - even though they were no racier than the others - but a few days ago they emailed and said the page was being completely removed," Bell said to the Daily Mail. "They say it is because of nudity but we are not violating any of their terms and all the pictures we post are not indecent images or inappropriate."
Bell went on to say that because they are college students, they don't have much money for marketing, and so social media remains a valuable tool in their arsenal.
Thankfully, the page was reinstated early Friday morning. Since it appears that plenty of other naked calendar pages are able to keep their nude or scantily-clad photos on the site — check out the University of Bristol Netball Club and the Newcastle University Boat Club — Facebook should apply the same standards to each group. To me, at least, it seems like the Warwick Women's Rowing Team has served as the scapegoat for a phenomenon that many pages are perpetrating. Just like in the case of Samm Newman and her Instagram page (which was banned because of pictures in which she wore boy shorts and a bra), social media platforms will find themselves in well-deserved hot water if they bear down on certain groups or individuals. In addition, the photos hardly seem pornographic — they're not overtly sexual, so saying that they are just fetishizes the female form even more than it already has been (like we need any more of that in our lives).
You can look at the group's reinstated page (and judge for yourself) here.