Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
So I hear there's been a rash of deletions of erotic images here on deviantART lately (it's too bad there's no equivalent to the Adult Flickr Members group here on dA, to keep track of everything going on), and I've finally been hit. My initial reaction was righteous indignation, of course, but I'm going to approach this rationally instead of emotionally. I don't know what the cause of this "sting" is - most people suspect new staff members or an army of TOS violation reporters (who have no doubt taken a tip from Communist Russia - keep an eye on your neighbors!) - but the most plausible explanation I've heard is utilization of a new image recognition program (the future is here!). This is actually more terrifying than the other possibilities, because now our freedom of expression is subject to the whims of an unmerciful, inhuman program. Now this is just a rumor (I wish I could find the comment I read that suggested this - these kinds of things disappear surprisingly well on deviantART), but the most salient detail of all these deletions is just how arbitrary and inconsistent they are. A human being (whether staff or upset user) could easily find worse images to single out.

Anyway, I should consider myself fortunate that out of hundreds of nude and erotic images I've posted to this site, only three (so far, at least) were flagged for deletion (and not necessarily the worst, crudest, or most suggestive ones). You win some and you lose some. But it's worth considering which images stuck out, in comparison to all the ones that have not tripped any wires. (Especially if this is an AI we're dealing with, so we can reverse engineer its algorithm, learn what its triggers are, and begin to predict what will set it off). There's just one problem with that. Although the notifications I got in my inbox for the deletions name (and shame) the allegedly policy-violating images, the links to them are broken because they've already been deleted! How am I supposed to learn what a policy violation looks like if I can't see which of my images violated the policy?

Policyviolation by zharth

Luckily, I keep meticulous records, and I've been able to - with fairly good confidence - track down the three images that have been deleted, by cross-referencing the posting dates with my original files. All three images were reportedly removed for the inclusion of "a penis which is considered to be 'erect'", despite the fact that I have deliberately filtered all images with erections out of the pool from which I choose to upload deviations to this site. So it would appear that this is another case of the age old question, how erect is erect? (And the answer would seem to be: not very).

Which begs the question, how erect am I in these three pictures? I will concede that we're wading into murky waters here, but allow me to make my case. By my own definition, I would not describe any of these pictures as including an erection, although there may be some partial engorgement involved (as happens naturally for a male, especially in the course of a nude photo shoot). Still, there is no rigidity, and the penis (where it hangs freely) curves towards the floor. I would argue that the defining quality of an erection is the way it sticks out, and stands at attention. To judge an erection based sheerly on length or girth is to discriminate against the well-endowed. To whatever extent it may be considered that erections pose a viewing "hazard" (to minors or prudes or whatever), it should be the erectness of the penis and not its size that is considered. Or are we saying that big penises are more sexual than small ones? That to be well-endowed in a nudist or artistic environment should be considered a sex act?

My position - however logical I think it is - would be easy enough to refute. You could write me off as a pervert (I plead guilty) trying to circumvent the rules (to that I'd have to mount a defense). But listen. The penis is a highly mutable organ. It fluctuates constantly, adjusting to environmental stimuli - such as heat and pressure. It has functions beyond the sexual. Sometimes it's larger and sometimes it's smaller - the same way the scrotum rises and falls and undulates, or the way that nipples harden. It's largest when it's erect, but not all growth indicates sexual stimulation. Sometimes my penis shrivels up like a frightened turtle. Other times it sticks its head out proudly, like a rocket on a launchpad. Most of the times it's somewhere in between.

I suppose I'm at a disadvantage because I've taken lots of pictures of erections, and know what they look like.* An erection is not ambiguous, by its very nature. A penis that hangs down, curving towards the floor, not protruding exceptionally far from the body, cannot be described as an "erection". I think it's only fair that anyone (man or machine) whose duty it is to censor erections should be mandated to view images of actual erections, regularly. So they know what they're looking for. Because when erections are banned (as they have been on this site for as long as I've been a member), and nobody sees any erections any more, then people will look at the penises they can see, and start to judge those that are slightly longer or thicker or more protruding than the rest as erections. And after those penises are banned, what happens next? Only men with pencil dicks will be allowed to pose for art? This is the very definition of a slippery slope.

We put so much effort into controlling the exchange of information, propping up in our minds this illusion of the harm that an exposure to human sexuality allegedly causes (when the reverse is probably true - making sex a taboo rots the brain). To what ultimate end? The sanitization of people's minds? (Not that that even works - we're still quite filthy, in spite of any attempts to prevent this). But, it's probably useless to try to rationalize what, I suspect, will ultimately turn out to be a completely arbitrary and inconsistent application of the rules of this site, in the never-ending war of the forces of hatred and darkness against anything that could perceivably give someone else joy of an erotic nature (oh, the horror!). As long as I can keep posting some images of my naked body that will surely get audiences hot and bothered, then my goal is fulfilled. And if, in the future, posting rules become so tight as to be stifling, or if deviantART correctly identifies me as a "deviant artist" - and therefore unfit for this website - then I assure you there will always be other ways to access my work.

*Perhaps the strongest argument in my defense is a piece of evidence that, as I have lamented before, is inadmissible in court - an actual picture of an erection for comparison. I put together a personalized response to deviantART on this matter. I can't show you here for obvious reasons, but if you navigate to my erotic photography blog, Truth & Beauty, look for an image at the top of the sidebar on the right.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconeyewatcher2010:
Eyewatcher2010 Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2018
Well said ^^
Reply
:iconkassemir:
kassemir Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2018
Sorry to hear you're having struggles with this. And, good luck on contacting the dA team. Though, sadly, I fear not much will come of exchanges with them. It rarely does, when dealing with big hosting sites, like dA.
As for the minors argument. Well, isn't that why they got an age-restriction? I know it can easily be circumvented. Kids are tech-savy, often more than their parents. I mean, as long as people tag their content appropriately wold'nt that be enough?
I know it's besides the point. But, if people, who are not of age, want to see porn. There's plenty of it, and they can get to it. It's just one click away.

I don't know. Sorry to hear this. Hope things work out. Perverts need a space online too, damnit! ;)
Reply
:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2018  Professional Photographer
Yeah, I don't know what use it would be to contact dA - it seems like their decision is already made, and I'd just as soon not draw any more attention to myself. The deletions happened over the weekend while I was out of town, so I think I may have missed my window of opportunity for dispute (which I guess staff took as a guilty plea). Oh well. It's just three images out of hundreds (and not even three of my best or raunchiest images - which is the funny thing). Certainly, if this sort of thing keeps up, it may become an issue, but for now, I consider it water off a duck's back. Doesn't hamper my ability to keep sharing erotic works with you all, nor your ability to enjoy them!

But, thanks for your support!

P.S. It's an interesting thing about "the minors argument", as you put it. Although they have an age filter on this site (the "strict" filter), they don't technically allow anything that would be illegal for minors to view, so it's completely optional (staff even confirms this fact). In the interest of exercising my maximum liberties (and because I believe what kids see is the responsibility of themselves and their parents, not the government or the rest of society), I voluntarily opt out of using it, and only ever use the less severe "moderate" tag (when necessary).
Reply
:iconkassemir:
kassemir Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2018
Okay. Well, let's hope it doesn't become a regular thing then :)
And, you're right. Writing the staff could backfire and get them to pay more attention - which could put you in a worse position than the one you're already in.

Totally. Though, the government didn't play a part here. I agree. Porn is out there. If you wish to shield your kid from it, that takes effort on your part. Anything else is just lazy.
(Though, I personally think they'll find it anyway, when they hit that age where they get curious. Actually, the best thing to is probably to be open about it with your children. Explain what porn is, and how it's different from a healthy sexual relationship. Shame is only gonna make things worse).
Reply
:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2018  Professional Photographer
Obviously, the government doesn't control what deviantART does, but what I mean is that the law puts pressure on companies to behave in certain ways, just as society does. I don't think anyone behind deviantART seriously cares about "protecting" the morals of its users - the thing they're concerned with is covering their asses from lawsuits and public backlash. All their rules and administrative actions should be viewed from that perspective.
Reply
:iconkassemir:
kassemir Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2018
True. That goes for any social media sharing platform though. They're all working from this perspective.
Reply
:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2018  Professional Photographer
Yeah. Some are better than others, but they're basically all corrupted by the capitalist perspective.
Reply
:iconkassemir:
kassemir Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2018
Yep. True. In a capitalist system, it only makes sense.
Reply
:iconbrayonhopper:
BrayonHopper Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Since I've been a member here, every once in a while, some Militant Male-Hating Femanazi will go on a reporting spree. Of course, they won't report the female that has her vagina spread open, and a handheld showerhead turned on and shoved up into it. A clear violation of the rules.
Reply
:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2018  Professional Photographer
I don't think it's fair to make this an issue between the sexes, because although I have no doubt that you are right, no matter which side of the aisle you visit, there are people complaining about either male or female nudes being targeted. Indeed, the first I heard about these recent deletions was the controversy over established and respected photographer of female nudes ArtofdanPhotography's gallery. Prudishness is simply not a gendered issue.

Banned worksDear friends
The current development and approach is sad and questionable. Last night, I was surprised to find that an administrator deleted 7 pictures from my portfolio! All pictures which I show here correspond to the existing regulations of DA and are marked accordingly with nudity. None of my pictures violates any of DA's rules and yet they have been deleted.
This is an absolute impudence and the behavior is shameful and a foothold against photographers who implement erotic art and against the viewers who like this art.
For the time being I will take a break with the further upload on DA. Further information will follow.
Dan
Reply
:iconmalachymedi:
MalachyMedi Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2018  Hobbyist Filmographer
To hell with them.  It's probably Trump trickledown.  What you do is fantastic art, very freeing and very uniquely YOU.  I hope this doesn't get worse and I certainly hope you keep on creating.  
Reply
:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2018  Professional Photographer
Thank you. Nothing will stop me from creating. It's been over ten years now that I've been shooting erotic photography, and it's in my blood. It's how I communicate with the world. I'm willing to be a rebel if that's what it takes.
Reply
:iconmalachymedi:
MalachyMedi Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2018  Hobbyist Filmographer
You're a true original and I can't want to see what lies ahead for you.  :)
Reply
:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2018  Professional Photographer
Thanks! I pride myself on my ability to stand out from the crowd, so that means a lot to me.
Reply
:iconunexpectednudity66:
unexpectednudity66 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2018
Trump trickledown, the man is doing a fantastic job! 

As for the blocking and removing of art  it’s a violation of freedom of expression ! 
And I personally would like to slap the shit out of some bitches! 

I have ave been hit as well. A  Hardy fuck you to censorship . 

Well 
I feel a bit better. 
Reply
:iconquasar1967:
quasar1967 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2018
its a damn shame we have to contend with so much censorship in the world today, i get so much pleasure from the photos you post, and dare i say that i find them extremely sensual and erotic? i,m sure you consider that a compliment, as you should. i will continue to look at, enjoy and comment on your lovely erotic and sexy work on here for as long as you are able. if indeed you ever take your work elsewhere, i will follow you there no question
Reply
:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2018  Professional Photographer
Thank you for your support. It could be said that what I do is narcissistic, but I see it as anything but. It's therapeutic and a public service, and if I didn't have so much support from my fans, I never would have come this far. I know what people like (because I like similar things), and I want to give it to them, to the extent that I feel comfortable doing so (which is to say, more than your average citizen). So to hell with the people who don't like what I do - they're free to look the other way!
Reply
:iconquasar1967:
quasar1967 Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2018
agreed 100%, and i don,t see what you do as narcissistic, you are simply not ashamed of showing your body or exploring your sexual feelings, nothing wrong with that, too many prudes today
Reply
:iconzharth:
zharth Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2018  Professional Photographer
"too many prudes today"

No kidding! I don't care if not everybody is as comfortable with their bodies or their sexuality as we are, I don't understand why they insist on spoiling our fun. Oh well, I'll never stop fighting back.
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

:iconzharth: More from zharth


More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
August 28
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
598 (1 today)
Favourites
0
Comments
19