I have yet to hear from you in response to my last email concerning the removal of my account. It’s been over a week now, and I have done a lot of thinking. I would like to share some of my thoughts with you.
Growing up, I was told I was free to be and do what I wanted, that I was free to love who and how I wanted, that I could choose for myself and be respected in my choices. My parents, who participated in the social revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s, raised me in the belief that I was inheriting the freedoms they had fought for. I believed them, believed myself to be free, until my own life struggles started to hint at the fact that my personal freedom was not as granted as I thought it was. I have been exploring this subject for a long time, but no other situation has exposed it more than the one I find myself in right now.
Undeniably, we now live in a world of online sharing. You know that, as you’ve made it your business. The internet has revolutionized traditional media to a point that we have yet to fully comprehend. There are no more clear lines between entertainment, news, instruction, and everything else. Want to know what’s going on? Want to participate in what’s happening? Want to know how to do something? It seems that no matter what the question is, the answer is somewhere online. So how could sexuality, a subject so immensely essential, escape this new reality? Life doesn’t exist without sexuality, so how could the internet, as a reflection of human life, exist without it?
In our previous correspondence, you’ve mentioned that Vimeo doesn’t allow explicit sexuality but that there are plenty of other places online for this kind of work. It is true that pornography sites are plentiful, some would even argue that they are plaguing the internet. But what about places for educative and explorative and artistic works created by people like me, who are looking for freedom of expression? Well, to the best of my knowledge, such a place does not exist. It’s a completely segregated situation: you either make non-explicit work that can be shared anywhere, or you make explicit work that can only be shared on pornography platforms. Either or. Which brings me to the question, how can we in good conscience leave commercial pornographers solely in charge of sexual imagery? Is that not actually irresponsible?
That being said, I have come to the conclusion that Vimeo cannot be expected to be the agent of change in this matter. I don’t know exactly who’s responsibility it should be to create safe spaces where sexuality can be expressed, discussed and healed, but it isn’t Vimeo’s. Sexually explicit videos are currently almost exclusively pornographic and are seen as abusive and disruptive to the creative community Vimeo is building. I get that.
When my account was first restored by you in July, some explicit videos where removed but some weren’t. So I have tried to align myself with what I perceived was still acceptable to upload. The censorship became a motivation to explore what these lines meant as part of my project. This phase was an important one for me but I realize now that it was probably to the detriment of my relationship with Vimeo. I am ultimately not interested in the dynamics of challenging the authority of an entity that is not the actual cause of the problems I am facing. Changing Vimeo is only possible and meaningful through changing our entire society’s relationship to sexuality.
I very much value Vimeo, for being community oriented, for being a space dedicated to creation, and for being less commercial than other platforms. So I am again asking you to consider re-instating my account. This time though, I would like to remove all videos containing nudity and I pledge to not “interpret” what can still be allowed within the artistic clause of your guidelines and never again upload videos containing nudity. I will continue to create this kind of work, as I feel called to do so, but I will persist in my search for a more appropriate space to share it.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I wanted to be upfront about the fact that I am posting this letter on my blog, which I started after my first account removal. I have been discussing the issues that sharing my work publicly have brought to the surface and it has become an essential part of my project and my self-expression. This is not meant to put pressure on you and I will respect whatever decision you feel is best for Vimeo. I am letting you know because at this point you may not be convinced of my honesty and integrity and yet those are extremely important things for me.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration, I very much hope to hear from you soon.