January 30, 2020

Why, in this ever more visible world of social media, are women still being hidden and erased?

Ashley Smith, 34

As a pole dancer and performer I am surrounded by a community that promotes body confidence, positivity and empowerment and yet over the last year I have witnessed this inspirational populace be deliberately deleted, muted and removed from social media platforms. They are becoming unsearchable, unfindable, in short, invisible. This process is known as ‘shadowbanning’. It relies on an algorithm to block content which it deems inappropriate and has been unfairly bias against female and femme-presenting bodies. It censors images and removes hashtags associated with the sport and has resulted in female pole dancers using the hashtag #malefitness and changing their profile gender to male to increase engagement and visibility. Shadowbanning aims to block a user and their content, largely without their knowledge, until such a time where they give up and leave the platform. This made me consider in what other aspects of life does this continue to happen to women, where else are we still censored and shamed until we don’t see the point in remaining? What would that Instagram story be? The result is this piece of theatre.

Shadowbanned, 2020Script