BATTLING: Musician Ilona Harker  PHOTO: Bill Mills Photo Contributed
BATTLING: Musician Ilona Harker PHOTO: Bill Mills Photo Contributed Contributed

Feminist songstress axed from Facebook over birth photo

FEMINISTS and activists are the main victims of misogynistic Facebook standards according to Northern Rivers songstress Ilona Harker, who yesterday had her Facebook account deactivated entirely.

It was a photo depicting a woman, nude, giving birth in water, with the subject 'Do you want to see my pussy do something amazing?' that triggered the deletion of her account. Her precious memories and associated support pages deleted with the push of a Facebook moderator's button.

Ironically, the water birth post was Ms Harker's response to the barrage of unsolicited messages from men requesting nude photos of the ukulele-playing beauty.

"I would respond to their requests for nudes with a picture depicting a woman giving birth with her midwife and partner ready to catch the baby, which I found via a Google image search.

Ms Harker's shared this tongue-in-cheek strategy for dealing with her sleazy suitors on her newsfeed.

"I thought it was a great technique," she said.

20 minutes later she was informed her account was suspended.

When Facebook was unhappy with Ilona's response, it deactivated her account entirely. Her initial appeal was rejected. After scores of friends wrote to Facebook outraged with the decision, Facebook informed Ms Harker that her account was under review.

Initially, Facebook told Ms Harker that the image was 'sexually explicit'. When Ms Harker argued there was nothing sexual about a woman giving birth, Facebook, instead, pinned her for breaching nudity standards.

Ms Harker pointed to the double standards upheld by staff of Facebook's outsourced content moderation sweatshops in Malaysian and the Philippines.

"These moderators are generally male and Muslim and they get to decide what is suitable. So while you can watch a woman being stoned to death, a picture of female nudity is not acceptable," she said.

"The truth is Facebook is part of a wider misogynistic culture. When you have humans judging what is acceptable in our culture who are predominately male and religious then what you have is women, particularly those with a high profile, being silenced," she said.

"Strong females are targeted. As are activists," she said.

Ms Harker said her account had been suspended twice before. Once for a photo in which she wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the popular anti-CSG motto 'FRACK OFF'.

Her online support group for female singers 'Sisterhood of Songstresses', linked to her account, was also deactivated.

"Part of my identity is gone. It's my social connection. For me it was a strong way of keeping in contact. It was a way of telling my family and friends that I was safe during my outback tours.

"It's basically such a strong medium. I feel that my expression as an artist is now repressed. A part of me feels that it only highlights community standards. Another part of me feels that I don't ever want to make agreements with a company that has such regressive ideas.

"I'm more than happy to move to other social media [such as Instagram] .

"At the the moment I want to keep my memories but I don't know whether I want to re-engage.

"Facebook hasn't kept up with community standards.

"I think I'm breaking up with Facebook," Ms Harker said.

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