I’m Norma Sepenuk, an artist @mother.make.me.
I found EveryBODYVisible while my account was deactivated, and seeing the immense response across the entire platform gave me such hope and made me realize that there are SO many people who see the injustices of IG.
I came to Instagram in the spring of 2017, to launch my art project, @mother.make.me. Since then I have found a community of artists and makers and supporters of body positivity that brings deeper meaning to my life, and to the creation of my art.
I make primarily fantastical genitalia out of clay and resin, and I also release seasonal campaigns that reflect the themes I’m going for in my collections. My message is simple: whether one has been through sexual trauma, infertility, abortion, insecurity, or body image issues, they are absolutely beautiful and empowered in that beauty.
About a month ago, I applied for a verified check mark on IG. This flagged my account and after three days, with no word or warning, my page was deactivated. It was terrifying – I literally fell to the floor and nearly passed out. This seems silly to most, but as an artist, my main source of income, comes from the people I’ve connected with on here. In just moments I lost my 15.5k follower page. I tried everything. Over 70 friends reported, I sent the appeal form a dozen times. I researched how to get it back; I even paid for Facebook ads on my new account so I could gain access to their live support chat room (which is FB/IG only way to connect with a human being and break out of the sea of useless reports).
Soon after, my friend Lauren of @earthsdnajewelry sent me two articles- one about @everybodyvisible, and another about a group of artists who met with IG to discuss their censorship guidelines and what should be changed. This brought me to Joanne Leah, an artist who is a liaison between the erotic arts community and IG. And with her help, my page was restored.
This experience made me realize that the erotic art community is being unfairly persecuted on this platform, with no direct and efficient recourse, and how completely biased the platform is. They’re increasingly making it harder for our community to have a voice, and it is absolutely outrageous. It makes people walk on eggshells with what they post, and even more – it takes the freedom of choice for the masses and puts complete control into the hands of the social media platforms. Now it’s not what we want to produce, it’s what they deem appropriate that is seen and supported. It is a violation and one that I’m happy to fight against. Though to be perfectly honest, I am now way more wary of what I post and how often.
“…the erotic art community is being unfairly persecuted on this platform”
I wish there was a better (and as popular) platform to be on, but I have yet to find it. One thing I think would maybe work in our favor (though I doubt it would be a popular belief) is that if Instagram becomes a paid service (like $1 a month) they would HAVE to have a better customer service. I realized with the Facebook ads that they only took me seriously once they saw me spending money with them, and I think a major reason their customer support is total garbage is because we technically don’t pay into it as a service. This is not to say they don’t benefit from us (because they harvest our data and have access to all our content for free) but it would give people a leg to stand on.’
Norma Sepenuk @mother.make.me