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Censorship and Sensibility: Part Two

Censorship and Sensibility: Part Two
On Thursday January 26, 2023, Shopify and its "banking partners" removed the restrictions on Homobilia. We can once again use their payment gateway to accept credit cards. Do I hear a feeble "woo-who?"

I feel like a collaborator. Guess I am. But after three months of declining sales it was either accept their absurd conditions or shut down the site. The latter course seems like "cutting off your nose to spite your face" and while I have been know to do that, I've learned it's not a smart response.

So after 22 emails (no phone calls-- Shopify won't allow their "Trust and Safety" staff to [double]speak with customers); after finding one person there who seemed to actually care; after deleting not just all photos that show even a hint of male genitals but drawings by Tom of Finland and an 1894 academic collotype, we are now in compliance.

As an aside, a few thoughts about Shopify's Orwellian language. "Trust and Safety?" The "Dicks and Nips Dept" would be more accurate. Are we supposed to trust them? And who exactly are they keeping safe? Who is being harmed by an image of a naked human being? Fifty percent of the population have only to look in a mirror or glance down to see a penis (can I say the word "penis" or am I violating more terms and conditions?).

And about nipples: Why is it acceptable to view male nipples but female nipples are verboten? Why can you show breasts in the most blatant sexual manner as long as you don't reveal nipples? Who makes up these fucking idiotic rules, the "banking partners" or Lauren Boobert?

More to the point, why, you might ask, don't you simply use another platform to host Homobilia? There are, after all, options like eBay, Etsy, or god-forbid, Go Daddy. 

We've been selling Homobilia on eBay for years. Their policy would leave Einstein befuddled. The best I can tell, no one understands it, no one can explain it, and it's applied in a totally random fashion.
One Homobilia customer who also sells on eBay recently told me his all-too-familiar story.

"I bought several gay pulp novels on eBay and decided to resell them. eBay deleted my listings because they violated their policy. I called and asked the representative (who could barely speak English) how was it acceptable to buy the books but not sell them? Short answer: they didn't know." That pretty much sums up eBay.

eBay policy:  
We want to make adult items available to those who wish to purchase them and can do so legally, while preventing those who do not wish to view or purchase these items from easily accessing them. 
Why would you need to prevent them from seeing items they didn't wish to see? Isn't that the function of site search?
It's as if an innocent victim searching for "blow dryers" is going to be forced to look at a vintage Tom of Finland Kake magazine. If that sort of thing actually happens, eBay engineers have bigger problems than genitalia.
Here's a simpler policy:
If you do not wish to view an item which contains male nudity do not use the following Search terms on eBay: male nude, naked men, beefcake boys, men with big dicks, men with big cocks, big men with big cocks, trucker's load, etc. Because if you do, eBay will prevent you from seeing it. They will accomplish this by preventing everyone from seeing it.
See? Much simpler.
On Etsy, the story is similar. They can and will remove your store if they choose to. No warning or notice. 
And then there's Go Daddy. The guys who gave us the artistic, sophisticated and not-in-the-least sexualized Go Daddy Girl. 
I couldn't find Seller Terms on their website so I called and spoke with Jeff in Texas. I explained that I wanted to read their Terms so I'd know what was allowed. When he asked me what I sold, I replied "photographs." "Well... are they weird?" he asked. I later came across this:
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time and without notice if we, at our sole discretion, consider any content to be objectionable. 
That's a good one: Go Daddy deciding what's objectionable!

It's all so incredibly stupid and frustrating to those of us who display, buy or sell nudes online. But we'll figure out a way. We always do.

Have a story of your own to share? Get in touch.
  • Post author
    barry harrison

Comments on this post (1)

  • Sep 29, 2023

    I feel for you, it’s totally absurd. I’ve been through this repeatedly with FB and IG. I just gave up after a while and deleted my accounts. They were labelling my posts as “selling sexual services” which was just another way to be blatantly homophobic, and deleting my posts. The internet of today, entirely controlled by huge corporations, is no friend to queer people or queer businesses.

    — Anonymous

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