The Black Dot of Shame


The email from Etsy "Marketplace Integrity" read, in part, "I’m reaching out to let you know that we’ve deactivated one or more of your listings in accordance with our mature content policy."


At issue was really nothing to do with "integrity." It was all about sex and body shaming. Though Etsy positions itself as friendly to adult content, it seems that, even to them, tagging products as "mature" is not enough. On the primary images in product listings, you also need to blur, cover or crop genitalia or any other "sexual" content.


People who browse products on the Etsy platform are able to adjust their settings to omit all "mature" content. Apparently, that is not even good enough. You have to tag it and cover it with something I like to call "the Black Dot of Shame."


The Etsy email continued, "Mature content must be entirely removed, censored, or cropped so that it is not visible in the thumbnails of your first photos. Subsequent images may show the content uncensored."


Translation: Parts of the human body are so shameful that we must tag them so that some people have no chance of seeing them. Then, for those who choose to see them, we still must cover them. And, the ironic thing is that Etsy actual *is* one of the more "adult content" friendly selling platforms on the Internet. To me, this is a clear sign of how sick and twisted our attitudes about our bodies are. Genitalia are not bad. They are not shameful. They are natural parts of who we are and the notion that we need to hide them behind Black Dots of Shame seems really childish and absurd.


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