Where to begin… last year my life completely changed. I shot my first set of nude self portraits in my friend’s bedroom and posted them online for the world to see. After receiving more likes, comments and shares then I had ever gotten on a photograph before I felt uplifted, inspired, liberated and confident. It had taken me all day to work up the courage to hit post but man was it worth it. Little did I know this was right where I was supposed to be. Baring it all to the world. Showing my soul to others to help them grow. In June I had a session go viral and my followers tripled. Since then I have become a target. Everytime I try to express myself and bare all to the world with a nude self portrait someone reports me. I take the extra time to censor all my images. I am not violating any of Facebook’s Community Standards and yet it still keeps happening. One day I posted a photo with my hands over my breasts, I was entirely nude but standing in a giant patch of thorns, my legs appropriately placed. I darkened my lower half so that you couldn’t see anything at all even if you zoomed in on your phone. I loved this photo. I felt like me in it. I felt strong and beautiful. I was so delighted to have gotten one good image from my self portrait session and was so excited to share it with all of my followers but within 10 minutes of me posting it someone reported me. I could no longer sign into my account and Facebook informed me I was banned for 7 days due to inappropriate content and that I was to review my page to make sure there wasn’t anything else that violated their terms or would offend other people.
This created a storm inside of me. Outraged that this photo had been banned for violating NOTHING. I had traveled to Nelson, B.C to do shoots with clients I had only been corresponding with via Facebook. I now could not talk with them. I had other clients who were in the middle of talking with me who thought I had unproffesionaly blocked them. I was helpless. I couldn’t fight it. I couldn’t find out who did it and I couldn’t tell anyone why I had vanished. How can a photo I post of me covering my “bits” get reported when there are naked men dancing on buses going viral on my newsfeed. Someone posted porn on my personal account over the summer as a joke while I was away from wifi and it was on there for days! Wasn’t reported until I got back online and saw it and reported it myself! There is cyber bullying, blurred out censoring where you can clearly still see everything that’s underneath. There are sexual drawings and suggested images all over high traffic pages. But my self portrait with my hands over my breasts was too much.
Facebook, I’m sorry but this is bullshit! If you are going to have Community Standards they need to be for everyone or you need to be able to fight them and at least have the courtesy to write an automatic reply to all the people who are messaging me that I have been banned and when I will be back. Who ever is reporting my images. Move on! Get a life! If you don’t like what I am doing scroll past it, or unlike my page. Get over yourself! This is my art, my expression. But who ever you are. Thank you, because without you I would have never been this angry and inspired.
Sitting there starring at my newsfeed that I was unable to be a part of I thought of an idea, I decided I wanted to come back hard when my ban was off. I wanted to say FUCK YOU to the haters. So I posted about three women posing nude for me covered in Censor Tape. Well, three turned into 32 and 2 babies!
We stood together tall and proud. United as one. 32 women came together as strangers and left as friends. I watched as they helped tape each other, they encouraged one another and complimented each other’s beauty. Not one of them did not have a smile on their face. Not one of them left with hunched shoulders. Each and every woman was proud of baring it all. It felt good. It felt empowering and I am so proud of all of them. Thank you for having my back. Thank you for being beautiful and strong and saying FUCK YOU to the haters with me.
This is what these women had to say:
“So yesterday I decided to join a group of incredible women to strip down and bare it all, everyone there had their own reasons to do it. Mine was to finally face my own insecurities. My body. I went from a size 9 to a size 18 in the course of a year after having my daughter. My body changed and I hated it. I hated myself. I hated mirrors and I hid myself in layers of clothing. Yesterday, against my own insecurities, I stripped out of those layers and I bared it all. Standing amongst a group of incredible, strong and beautiful women, I felt loved and accepted and beautiful myself. This morning I woke up to find this picture from the shoot and I panicked. There I am, my biggest insecurities laid out before my eyes. My body, my stomach. But then I looked and I’m smiling in that photo. I’m happy in that photo, and I’m standing beside a gorgeous, incredible women, who I just met and we are strong. We are united. We are beautiful. We are love. So here it is. Bared all. Perfectly imperfect, scars and insecurities and standing proud, absolutely happy and stunning. Thank you so much Trina Cary for encouraging us all. For showing our beauty and love. I am not perfect. But I am beautiful and I am happy.” -Paige
“Yesterday I did something terrifying but amazing. I think that unfortunately most of us aren’t happy with our bodies and I’ve been there I think I could lose some weight, have my clothes fit a little better but how I look on the outside says nothing about who I am on the inside. The other day my 6 year old daughter stepped on the scale and said “yay I lost weight” and then said that she wanted to lose weight and she felt she needed to. We obviously told her she didn’t need to and that she is healthy and smart and the kindest little girl you will ever meet and that that is what is important and not what the scale says or what size pants she wears or how much makeup she puts on. None of that matters, what matters is how you treat others, how caring and thoughtful you are to not only the people you love but everyone around you. That is what beauty is. And sometimes losing weight and being “skinny” can be unhealthy and having a little more to you means your very healthy. 2 years ago I weighed about 30 pounds less but I was so unhealthy i was sick all the time had constant ear and sinus infections, bronchitis and so worn down. I actually developed myocarditis ( inflammation of the middle layer of your heart) which is terrifying. I was told to gain some weight, slow down in the gym and I started to get better. But for a year I still had constant infections and issues but I’m now feeling so much better and healthy and happy. I’m happy with who I am and I feel confident with myself. I’m smart. I’m kind. And I am beautiful no matter what my size is. So please don’t report these pictures, share them so maybe someone else can learn to love themselves ️” -Megan
“This weekend I got to be part of a pretty incredible project. We as women are so frequently told our bodies are dirty, or need to be hidden, or that there is something wrong if we don’t meet certain standards. This is about owning and loving ourselves. And about not being complacent when people want to censor us. Thank you Trina Cary for your bold vision, for your ability to get art like this out in the world. May we raise our daughters to be warriors!” -HR Starr
“Today I did something COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone. I stripped down in front of other women and stood bare with them in front of the lens. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this, because of the questions I would get. I feel we all choose to do this for different reasons but here are the reasons why I did this and what it meant to me: I love art and expression, and I shouldn’t feel restricted by others ideals, preference or fear of offending. I look at other women who do shoots like this and wish I could be like them. So I decided since I have the opportunity I am going to be the women I always looked at as brave, comfortable, confident and strong. I’m hoping I can inspire other woman, especially those who are judged for their size & ‘imperfections’ Yes I was terrified, yes I was nervous. But I overcame and feel so liberated and confident. ” -Jessica
Photos and Words by Trina Cary