What You'll Find Here

I post daily (photos of my journal pages, things that inspire me and personal bits and pieces) to inspire and encourage others. I have always believed that if I can do it, so can you.

You'll find resources (my favorite supplies, books, slideshows of my art journal pages, favorite bloggers, etc...) listed along the right hand side of my blog.

I've been teaching both in person and online workshops for more than twenty years. You can find out more about my classes by scrolling down along the right hand side of my blog. I strive to make classes accessible to everyone (both beginner to advanced).

I love teaching and truly believe that deep down inside everyone is an artist, capable of creating something. There is power and knowledge in the act of creating something with your own hands, made from your own heart and head.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at EGorey99@sbcglobal.net

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, March 01, 2014

Instagram, Censorship and The Female Form

Last night I posted the above photo of a work in progress page to Instagram. I often post photos of my artwork that is unfinished and in progress to the site. It allows me to document, process and share the work with others. A few hours later I received an email from Instagram saying:


We’ve removed something you posted on Instagram for violating our Community Guidelines.

Please review our Guidelines and remove any other content on your profile that may be in violation. Additional violations may result in your account being blocked or disabled:

Please remember:

-Don't share posts that aren't yours
-Don't share photos that show nudity or mature content
-Don't share photos of illegal content
-Don't share photos that attack an individual or group, or violate our Terms of Use

Thanks for helping us keep Instagram a safe and fun place for everyone.
The Instagram Team


In other words, someone flagged my photo as being inappropriate and Instagram removed it and has threatened to block or disable my account if I post any more "inappropriate photos."
"What Is Censorship? Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons -- individuals, groups or government officials -- find objectionable or dangerous. It is no more complicated than someone saying, "Don't let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it!" Censors try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, on everyone else. Censors pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove from public access information they judge inappropriate or dangerous, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it. The censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone." (found via Culture Shock on PBS)

I'm a collage artist. I cut and paste images together to create pieces of art that speak for me and to me. The image on the page above is something that I found in a book. I often collect images of women that I can use on my journal pages to represent me. In other words, these images speak for me and are meant to actually represent me. 

So the idea that someone found the above image to be offensive is appalling to me. It's the female form from behind. It's not pornographic or lewd. It's beautiful and simple. Yet someone reported it and instagram removed it.

Perhaps Instagram needs to change its policy to something along the lines of what Blogger has:
"Additionally, we are aware that there may be content on Blogger that is personal in nature or feels invasive. Please note that Blogger is a provider of content creation tools, not a mediator of that content. We allow our users to create blogs, but we don't make any claims about the content of these pages. We strongly believe in freedom of expression, even if a blog contains unappealing or distasteful content or presents unpopular viewpoints. We realize this may be frustrating, and we regret any inconvenience this may cause you. In cases where contact information for the author is listed on the page, we recommend that you work directly with this person to have the content in question removed or changed."

I was teaching recently and a student told me (as she flipped through my journal) that I was brave. She pointed to a page in one of my journals of a woman with part of her breast exposed and said that while she could relate she could never put an image with "that" in her journal. Do you see anything vulgar, pornographic or upsetting here:

I have seen photos on Instagram and other sites of both adult men and women that are definitely offensive. Have I ever reported them? No.

The human body should be celebrated and appreciated. Not censored and labeled offensive. If you don't like what I post, don't follow me.

I'm 39 years old and it's taken me a hell of a long time to get to where I am. I went through hell and back growing up and being constantly told that I was ugly, fat or basically worthless by those around me (especially during my school years.) Now I'm taking my voice back and I'm not putting up with this kind of behavior any longer. 

It's 2014 and it's about time we all grow up. 

Read More Here:
Why Instagram Censored My Body
Instagram Fears the Nipple


Kathy, PaperPumpkin said...

I"m so stunned and disgusted that i am on the verge of being speechless. Really? Really? I keep shaking my head over here, kelly. I agree with your tab: Stupid People. Why do so many people take the selfish attack method, instead of the LOVE way? People judge and hate, rather than respect, love, and tolerate differences. When will humans learn??

Anonymous said...

I'm really sorry this happened to you and I appreciate what you wrote and also the thoughtful articles you linked to.

I don't think what you posted was in the least inappropriate.

That said, I'm not sure what Instagram should do. I can see why they'd rather not have people post gross stuff that other people can run across accidentally. I know that I've accidentally seen disgusting images (usually in movies or on TV) that I wish I'd never seen since I still can't them get out of my head even in some cases after many years.

I read that over 50 million pictures are posted every day on Instagram which is way, way beyond the capability of a few humans to check out so they have no practical choice but to rely on user complaints. Given the large number of daily posts, the chances that some random person noticed your post must be very small; in other words, it seems to me that it is more likely to have been one of your followers. I find that more sad than any thing else about this.
Best wishes, PeggySu

Kitten said...

Amen, Sister!!!

Laure Janus ~ Little Joys Studio said...

Amen, Kelly. I wish we actually knew each other (as opposed to internet knowing) because I think we'd be great friends. I can't think of anything else to say without writing a volume so amen will have to suffice. Amen and amen again!

Anonymous said...


Cheryl said...


You are indeed brave, but not for daring to show nudity. For being truthful to yourself and not kowtowing to oppressive peoples. I applaud you and stand behind you one hundred percent.

Dlee said...

It makes me glad I'm not an instagramer. Narrow-minded people seem to think they can take away other peoples freedom to express themselves. If it was truly offensive it would be one thing, but really that 's offensive. The same people think nothing of violence, but the human body should never be seen.

Anonymous said...

Is it because the photographs you use aren't yours?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post. You are brave and you are correct. Neither image is lewd or pornographic... When I think of the works of art that must be blocked from Instagram - Venus de Milo, the Kiss by Rodin, Judith by Klimt and on and on and on.... Thank you for sharing your beautiful art. peace

Seth said...

Hard to believe...especially considering that you are likely to find similar images just about everywhere these days. I admire your willingness to express what you feel, stand your ground and make the statement you have done here.

Tammy Shapiro said...

Unfortunately, our culture still propagates the belief that women are less. We are paid less, frequently objectified, and largely taught that all women MUST have babies above careers.

It follows that the female form is viewed by some as something unnatural when, in fact, it is as beautiful and natural as the trees, the water, and the mountains that adorn this earth.

It breaks my heart to see this type of censorship and I so appreciate your thoughtful and brave response Kelly. I agree with Cheryl, your bravery lies in your response.

I applaud Blogger for their approach and can only hope Instagram would do the same.


Tricia said...

You've come a long way baby! Continue to keep speakin your truth its what makes you brave!(regardless what they say).

emily cline said...

You go, Kelly! I loved what you wrote and the fact that you wrote it, instead of just letting it go by. Let's love respect our bodies. Pass it on. Thank you for being such a strong voice!

Anonymous said...

Kelly, I am really sorry that you have had your page censored, I am also sorry about the difficult time you had growing up and the comments that were made about your appearance, that in itself is a form of censorship of you and the way nature made you. I think you have a beautiful heart and I am glad you do not censor yourself now.
Much love Karen
PS I wish you I could get to know you in person, and talk to you face to face, it would be really interesting.

Kelly Kilmer said...

@Anon-"Is it because the photographs you use aren't yours?"

That has nothing to do with it.

big mamabird said...

Right on! I am always surprised when people comment on my art with'wow, what big boobs she has' in a shocked way, like I am out for the shock factor which I'm not, I just paint my own world and that world includes women with boobs! This happens whether the boobs are naked or not...

donnaj said...

people post selfies worse than anything you could put in your journals. someone needs to get a life~ unbelievable.