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Dear Pinterest…

Art by Stefano Bonazzi that I pinned recently

I have posted about Pinterest on here before. I’ve been a fan for a long time and have always liked what they do with the site. It is definitely getting bigger and more popular, although that may only be noticeable to those of us who have been on there for years.

I think the most obvious thing is that there is now a wider variety of images being shown. And the clothes are getting much uglier. If I never see another bright coloured shiny prom dress I will be a very happy person. On the plus side a lot more people I know are now on there (they all have wonderful taste in clothing, by the way!) which makes it much more social rather than pinning into the void.

Pinterest articles have been popping up around the internet the past month or so – and we are back to politics for a moment. Bandwagon or Boomerang effect? As always the answer is probably a little of both. I have no problem with Pinterest being used for business, I used to before I stopped selling craft and art and some of my products are still up there. In time I intend on putting some images and banners from the new business online.

All well and good, yes? Mostly.

I woke up to an email yesterday saying that one of my pins had been deleted, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. This has happened before because I have pinned or repined something from a website and the owner of the image doesn’t want it on Pinterest. I’ve always encouraged people to Pin my pictures, I like sharing and I think it makes good business sense to be seen as far as possible. This was not a copyright problem. I broke the ‘no nudity’ policy. Want to know the best bit? This was the pin:

Yeah, nudity…
I can see that making light of addiction is not something that everyone would like to see but this is a matter of taste, and I don’t think can fall under a nudity clause.
Here’s the clause in full, taken from the email that the lovely Pinterest team sent me:

Photographic images that contain full-frontal nudity or fully exposed breasts/buttocks are not allowed on Pinterest. This does not apply to illustrations, paintings, or sculptures.

Now I do honestly adore the Pinterest team, they have always been great to users and I think it is much more likely that someone clicked the ‘Report Pin’ button by my pin than one of the admin staff found it and thought ‘Oh yes, that’s showing too much skin’!

There have always been a wide range of people on Pinterest and you can’t possibly agree with everyone. The people, and the pins therefore are varied and I expect to see pins like this:

Which is based on a very funny idea with the same image just saying ‘Stop following me!’ The last bit however, to me, isn’t funny.
For a long time there have been pins circulated with requests to stop pinning lingerie, or pictures of couples kissing or anything with swear words in. I find none of these things offensive but there is a lot of hypocrisy when people are complaining. One of the things I personally really hate looking at is pregnancy, it makes me queasy, but there are many pictures of pregnant women nude on Pinterest, these never seem to be taken down. I’d rather not see them but there’s not a chance in hell I’ll report them because someone obviously likes the image enough to post it, that’s their choice and just because it is not to my taste I’m not going to complain.

I find beauty in the differences of taste and opinion that make the world interesting – I am not going to close myself off from other people because that is when you start to close your mind, stop questioning, stop exploring and a life without curiousity makes for a very poor person indeed.

One thing I will say to Pinterest (and did in my email reply) is this: why are illustrations, paintings and sculptures okay but photographs are not? Photography is art and by sticking to this policy we are either saying that photography is NOT art or that we do not find true representations of the human bodies to be art.

How is this not beautiful, not art?

This is what I wrote to Pinterest on the issue:

While emailing you I would like to state, for the record, that I find your policy a little worrying. That photography is not considered art in the same way that illustrations, paintings, or sculptures are seen as artistic bothers me. We hear so much about trying to help people (of both sexes) accept their bodies as they are; yet nude photography, inherently realistic is considered a bad or shameful thing while illustrations which can be easily distorted are acceptable. I understand the problems you must have in policing such a large, and ever growing, website but I would ask that if you do re-write your policy that you rethink the clause about photography. As we have seen in the past few days with the World Press Photo of the Year award, photography is a very important art form and encourages truth.

I know that the policy is unlikely to change but this is my opinion.

In short the message seems to be this: if you want to see naked people, use Tumblr.

Vick.

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