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Algorithmic Bias / Sex Work / Social Media
Selfie of Jenn sticking out her tongue. Her skin is tinted green and her tongue is edited so it's extra long. She has blue, green, and pink hair and her left hand is up by her shoulder.

Instagram Erased Me and My Whole Hoe Life

All of my hard work was fully disabled and deleted. This is blatant censorship and harassment, and nobody at Instagram gives a shit.

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Written by Jenn Scott.

Art courtesy of the author.

There have long been tense debates over what is considered art and what is considered pornographic. Marble sculptures of nude women continue to be “art,” but pictures of scantily

clad women online are “porn.” Naked pin-up girls are “classy,” and naked cam girls are “trashy.”

Honestly, all of this debate can suck my ass. If it isn’t threatening or hurting anyone, everyone should be allowed to express themselves and use their body to do so. Take me: I’m anti-shame, pro women’s rights, and very loud. I work as a stand up comedian and professional art slut. I’m out here trying to thirst trap men into respecting women. I sell lewd photos sets of myself online and I use Instagram to promote and drive business. I’m very clear about my needs; my Instagram handle is @jennscottneedsattention—or, it was, until they banned my ass.

Instagram is no longer just a place to post pictures of your dog. It’s a place of trade and commerce. People sell products and art of all kinds; everything from long Furbys to personalized porn. The products and content are monetizing a form of self-expression and, at many times, sexuality. The internet has created an ability for people to freely express themselves without the strict censorship laws that rule over sexual expression in the mainstream. But after Tumblr decided to Thanos itself of all “NSFW” content, it seems Instagram is following the trend. This allows a deeply sexist type of censorship to take hold. Sex workers are being erased from the internet. Before the slut police came to take me and my twerking ass away, business was good. We’re losing our incomes, and being stripped of our basic rights. I need to bring attention to this, being the loud bitch that I am.

If it isn’t threatening or hurting anyone, everyone should be allowed to express themselves and use their body to do so.

I love posting sexy and silly lewd pictures. (Like I said, I need attention.) However, when I used to post my sexy pics, I was constantly getting harassed for more. I thought to myself, How can I make this a positive interaction for everyone involved? So, I started selling photos. I followed lewd accounts, making friends with girls and artists in the sex worker community. It put me in touch with like-minded women all over the world. Everyone was so supportive. I was finally able to make money for myself, with an outlet that was fun for me. I was proud of myself. My account was growing, I was getting attention, and I had more time to pursue my actual career as a comedian. I was so proud that people could see me as more than one thing.

Then, my account stopped letting me post to Instagram. Photos began getting removed, and eventually my account said, “Error—Your account has been disabled for violating our terms.” This was a halt to not only my income, but also my career. Years of friends and connections, just gone. It was infuriating. It became obvious someone was reporting everything I was doing. Not to mention, I was not violating terms of services, like Instagram claimed I had for this post that got removed:

jenn with in bed with red shirt, underwear, and turkey hat on

The world can’t handle my turkey hat? Do they hate me for mocking…Thanksgiving? Fuck Thanksgiving.

This experience was so defeating. I cried a lot. All of my hard work was fully disabled and deleted. This is blatant censorship and harassment, and nobody at Instagram gives a shit. They have a so-called appeals process that I applied to endlessly, but to no avail. I made new accounts that were immediately removed. I went through six accounts. SIX ACCOUNTS. I was even being targeted and harassed by people who knew my real first and last name.

I learned that this is all too common. Sex workers and like-minded women are getting harassed and deleted into oblivion. Alison Stevenson, one of the creators of ThiccStrip (a body positive strip show, the account for which was removed twice), said it well when we spoke about it: “It’s hurting women and other marginalized people the most, under the guise of protection, which is total bullshit.”

Instagram has affected our careers and lives by silencing us, censoring us, and not listening to a damn thing we say.

We are losing our livelihood to a lack of customer service and bad algorithms—not to mention the insulting reality that Instagram is inconsistent as fuck. Some accounts come back while most people drown in the flawed reporting system. And the reporting trolls who think they have ownership over our bodies are as much of the problem as Instagram not doing anything about it. A popular cosplayer, @bee_farmer_ , said to me, “Instagram lets people slide who literally bully and harass people because their report system is super broken.”

We are being targeted, harassed, and silenced, but we haven’t done anything wrong. The fact that such important women’s voices are getting censored means that Instagram will continue to criticize us and prevent us from our right to free speech. (Meanwhile, Instagram allows sexism and violence to fly freely on their platform.) Deleting us opens us to emotional, professional, and financial harm—people lose their entire source of income by having their Instagram identities erased, and I have talked to people who have been victims of sexist, slut-shaming bullying that no one at Instagram gives a flying fuck about. People can’t find me online because I used to use my real name, which is now flagged and reported by either Instagram or trolls. I’ve lost memories of my actual life. I have art that nobody can see. Instagram has affected our careers and lives by silencing us, censoring us, and not listening to a damn thing we say.

But I’m not going to roll over and let Instagram fuck us like that. I am turning the filter of shame on you, Instagram. Bring back all the deleted accounts of independent women. Stop the cycle of shaming women’s bodies. End erasing female voices.


About the Author

Jenn Scott is a comedian, writer, live personality, and lewd queen in Los Angeles. Jenn is your new friend, she wants to go to the mall with you and look at accessories in Hot Topic. Book her on stand up comedy shows. Have her host your event. Take her picture. You can find her streaming online on twitch channel @TheShowHouse. Follow her on Instagram. Scream at Instagram for her. Please give her money and attention. Worship her.

Follow on IG: @jennlmnop


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