I’ve seen it happen to a lot of people and now it has happened to me. It will happen to you too if you’re not careful. It’s censorship. INSTAGRAM HAS DISABLED MY ACCOUNT of 31.3k followers. While this might sound trivial, the implications are real. This is a part of my job, whether I like it or not. I wish there was another way and that I didn’t have to feed the beast, but I do. This is a part of my voice. I’m not just a body. I use this platform to showcase my art while trying to adhere to the rules. I use it to communicate with my fans. I use it to network, because it seems no one uses business cards anymore. I use it to promote my business. I’ve worked hard to gain a following and I’m still trying to crack the code on how to reach more people, but it turns out that is folly.
Because I am a woman who showcases my body, I am downgraded and deprioritized on social media. It’s harder to see my posts. I get pushed down in searches if I use the wrong hashtag. The shadow ban affects me and all of my friends. I have blurred my nipples and cropped my photos in order to protect the innocent. I have played by the rules and have tried to play the game. The thing is, is that the game has changed and so have the rules. To even suggest sexuality now, is terms for removal. Sexuality is suggested all of the time for things as innocuous as laundry detergent, potato chips, and peanut butter cups! Sexuality is the life force of our society. We all want it but we do our best to run from it. How exhausting. What a world it would be if we could all embrace our sexuality and celebrate it, instead of pushing it into dark corners and acting out in harmful ways.
This is a part of my expression. THIS IS MY VOICE AND IT’S BEING SILENCED. It is demoralizing. It is frustrating and infuriating. There’s no recourse. No one to talk to. Who is making these decisions? Who is arbitrarily deciding what is and isn’t moral? All of this censorship is enveloped in the claim that this is meant to keep our women and children safe, but I don’t believe it. I believe that it’s another way to keep women in their place. We are getting strong. We are believing in our power. We are fighting back after centuries of abuse and no longer believing the lies that we have been told.
The Handmaid’s Tale is not fiction. It is a cautionary tale. We cannot allow this. I can’t help but think of the line in Jurassic Park where Goldblum says ‘Life will find a way’. We will find a way! We will figure out how to be sexual and intelligent beings that are respected in this society. We will figure out how to work the system. It will take some time but we will get there. I have to believe that. It is my foundation for everything that I do.
In a way, this is a testament to the strength and power of women. Our power is so great and other people (mostly the men in charge) know it. So, because they know of our greatness, we have been manipulated and told that we are ‘less than’. What’s worse, is that we believe it. The very people we give birth to, tell us that we don’t have worth. AND WE HAVE BELIEVED THEM! This is yet another way to hold us down. We’ve broken so many barriers, but cracking the boundary of sexuality, confidence, intelligence and morals existing in a complete package has yet to be fully realized. This is why we fight. This is why I will continue to do what I do.
In my attempt to ‘find a way’, I started a Patreon account. I wanted a place to share my photos and videos that have no place on social media. But, even Patreon has to censor me because you can’t search for me there. The only way you can find me is if you have the exact address: www.patreon.com/michellelamour. They innact this rule because they work with PayPal, and PayPal will not allow salacious content. PayPal (as well as most other American banks) can decide if you make your money morally or not. The lines are blurry and vague. They can freeze your account if they deem you inappropriate. Banks won’t allow you to open an account if they don’t approve of what you do. This is scary stuff! I understand that FOSTA-SESTA was put in place with good intentions but it is ruining a lot of lives. While sex trafficking needs to end, sex work, and ajacent occupations need to have a place in this world. We are healers, artists, and performers. I can’t help that this is the art I want to create! I’ve been doing this for over 16 years and I can’t imagine changing course because I’m being silenced!
Until I can figure out some other way, you can help by going to your settings on your instagram profile and click on ‘help’. Then click on ‘report a problem’. From there, you can send feedback or report a problem. You can type in ‘I’m trying to access @michellelamour and I cannot see her account. I have been following her for years. Please reinstate this account’
For now, that’s all I have. If this doesn’t work, I will try to create another account and wear nothing but turtlenecks. If you have other ideas on how to help, let me know.