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MY GREATEST PERIOD EVER What the f#%k is Facebook doing?

Facebook’s community standards are utterly farcical, as evidenced once again by local performer Lucy Peach being censored from advertising for her latest groundbreaking and acclaimed Fringe World show. Her award winning My Greatest Period Ever (awarded the prestigious Martin Simms Award “recognising the best new Western Australian work in the Festival that is destined to succeed on the world’s stage” by Fringe in 2017) and her new all ages show, How to Period Like a Unicorn, happening Feb 12-25 at Fringe World, have been shut down by Facebook advertising. NATALIE GILES investigates.

Welcome to 2018. Apparently using the word “period” is unacceptable, and the use of a piece of fruit deems Lucy Peach non-compliant on Facebook.

Do you believe in the power of free speech? In being able to discuss such inane, everyday occurrences as menstruation? The banning of Peach’s advertising, and the subsequent suspension of her advertising account, are utterly nonsensical, and we urge our readers to share her events in an act of rebellion against Facebook’s outdated, misogynistic and conservative views.

There have been a growing number of women reporting being silenced by Facebook community standards and their reporting procedures in recent times. These procedures rely solely on numbers. They’re ruled by an algorithm, so if an individual has beef with someone, all they need to do is either recruit their friends to report a post, an account, a page, or an advertisement, do so multiple times and it will automatically be disabled. It’s a numbers game, and there is little to no human interaction if one wishes to battle the ruling. Sometimes a particularly upset individual will even resort to creating multiple fake accounts in order to report something enough times to play this number game, and they will ultimately win the game. Facebook will then have either little interaction with the person affected, and appeals are ultimately pointless.

These same community guidelines have now claimed another casualty in Australian performer Lucy Peach, who will be performing her empowering, acclaimed show My Greatest Period Ever alongside an all ages, educational piece entitled How to Period Like a Unicorn at Fringe World 2018. Lucy was banned from advertising on Facebook for the simple act of utilising the word “period” and an artistically stylised photograph of a grapefruit to represent the vulva.

In Lucy’s words, “the ad was deemed non-compliant with Facebook community guidelines – for one of three reasons and it is my belief that they have deemed it sexually suggestive because of the grapefruit photograph”.

According to Facebook, ads must not contain adult content. This includes nudity, depictions of people in explicit or suggestive positions, or activities that are overly suggestive or sexually provocative. How a photograph of a grapefruit and the use of the word “period” contravene any of these rules is utterly baffling.

Really, Facebook? How is this offensive? How is our menstruation offensive? How can periods be so repulsive when in the US alone, your statistics lean towards the norm of the world’s population – 52% women vs 48% men? That means most of us bleed. Some women don’t. Some do. Wouldn’t a progressive platform and society support us in discussing our periods and all the fresh hell that can be inherent with the monthly celebration of our womanhood? You need to encourage us as we embrace autonomy from luxury taxes by undertaking the freedom that is the menstrual cup. We bleed. Deal with it. We do it, for most of our lives, and we are mostly silent about it.

“These guidelines are archaic and I prefer to think they are shortsightedly conservative,” Peach told X-Press. “Times are changing though, it’s exciting how many people are keen to engage and support this work in menstrual cycle awareness – especially so many amazing men.”

Unless you are close to us, you’re going to be unaware of the physical pain in cramping, or the emotional labour required to get through PMS when our hormones dictate that we should be a crying mess, hiding away from others but instead going to work and behaving like everything is fine.

You need to hear us. Hear us as we plead with you to lean into being less misogynistic in your policies and guidelines. Hear us as we need to have a voice. Time’s up, Facebook. This is your time to shine or to be shamed. Your platform is broken for women. We do not have a voice, and are too readily silenced.

In 2018 there are a multitude voices crying out for recognition of our bodies, our autonomy, our sexual assaults, our abuse, our daily struggles as a woman in this world, and social media platforms continue to mute us. Policies and utilisation of community standards are misogynistic and outdated. Try replacing your algorithms with actual humans examining reports.

Facebook’s system is inherently flawed, overly conservative and outdated. In this age of #metoo and #timesup, there is no room for shutting women down. Silencing women from having a voice is misogyny, in its most simplistic form.

In the name of positivity and community, we implore you to share the heck out of Lucy’s shows, and yes, to attend them. Embracing our menstrual cycles and discussing them openly are apparently acts of rebellion, and we encourage all of you to support the women in your lives by participating in this small act. Make your Fringe experience count, and stay tuned for more updates.

Fringemas is nearly upon us!

How To Period Like A Unicorn takes place February 22 – February 25 for Fringe World. The show is all ages. My Greatest Period Ever is from February 12 to February 17. Support and share Lucy Peach’s shows HERE and HERE.

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