What Facebook Says to a Naked Lady

According to a report on Gawker, a French user of Facebook is suing the company because his profile was deleted after he changed his profile picture. The new picture was actually a painting of a naked woman’s nether regions. Gustave Courbet created the work, titled The Origin of the World, in 1886, and it hangs in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.

This Frenchman’s account was deleted right before his birthday, according to the Gawker report, so he wasn’t able to get birthday wishes from his 800-or-so friends. Awww.

A couple of other Europeans became so outraged that they switched up their profile pics to the Courbet painting. Then they got madder because Facebook deleted their profiles, too.


I haven’t researched this story; I have read only the Gawker report, and I have some questions:

  • Is anyone else on Facebook allowed to have a close-up of genitalia (photo or artistic depiction) as his/her profile picture? I would imagine that it’s against the terms of service, but does Facebook have someone looking at all images posted or did image analysis software pick it out or did someone report it as offensive?
  • What are the privacy settings for these three men? Are their profiles only visible to their own friends or are their profile pictures likely to appear on anyone’s wall – including people who didn’t expect to see exposed genitalia (fine art or not) appearing on their feeds.
  • Why is no one pointing to the biggest pussy on Facebook – the “unnamed Frenchman.” He is so outraged that he cannot place any image he chooses on a public forum, and yet he is unwilling to reveal his name. What’s up with that? Dork.


A Facebook profile is not a basic human right or a God-given privilege. It’s a fancy bulletin board where anything and everything you post could potentially be seen by any of the service’s nearly 600 million users. About a quarter of the users are between the ages of 13 and 19. That means probably 10-15% are minors. About 300 million Facebook users are outside the United States. Some of those people come from countries or cultures with different sensibilities. We’re not talking about a handful of conservative Midwesterners; we’re talking about potentially hundreds of thousands of people who, because of their cultural mores or religious beliefs or personal hang-ups, don’t want to log onto Facebook and find themselves face-to-face with exposed genitalia. Fine art or not.

I don’t know art, but I know what I like, and in my opinion, Mr. Courbet’s painting may be exquisitely rendered, perfectly detailed – in short, brilliant – but I don’t want it to appear on my Facebook wall. 


If you disagree with Facebook’s Terms of Service, don’t issue tirades against them, sue them, or send nasty emails to Mark Zuckerberg. Just cancel your account. The world won’t end if you’re not on Facebook.

I do have a Facebook profile. Almost everything in my profile is visible to friends only, and my photos are visible to friends of friends. Why?  I created the profile to enter sweepstakes. I had a few friends, but didn’t use it a whole lot. Then I won a big prize in a contest, and some sore losers found out that I’d won, and they started trolling around the internet looking for information about me. They went back to their sore loser club forum and made really nasty and in some cases, threatening comments, in which they referenced the photos on my Facebook and MySpace pages. That’s when I set about making everything really private. I only kept the account because I wanted to keep entering sweepstakes.


That was in 2007. Since then, I began using Social Media at work, for public relations and marketing. I added a lot of friends. I have visited the Facebook and Twitter accounts of businesses and posted comments (praise, questions, and complaints) on those corporate pages. I have interacted with some of my favorite authors via social media. I reconnected with one of my best friends, who I’d lost track of. Social Media has its benefits.

More recently, every company in the world seems to be jumping on the Facebook bandwagon, and I’m getting really irritated about sweepstakes and contests that require you to like someone’s Facebook page, and even worse – the ones that want unrestricted access to my account before I can enter. 

Sorry, I’m not comfortable with that.

So please, if you’re furious with Facebook because you can’t do whatever you want to with your account, or because some closet art lover got his feelings hurt, close your account. Shut it down. Delete Find another social media outlet or just use email. Or pick up the phone. Whatever. Take some of the steam out of Mark Zuckerberg’s “evil empire.” That’ll carry a lot more weight than a petty and frivolous lawsuit.

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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1 Response to What Facebook Says to a Naked Lady

  1. >Nudity in art is a grand tradition. I guess you have to draw the line somewhere, but its no more than kids would see at a museum. If I was on facebook I'd totally protest.

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