On Friday, 15th November 2019, a group of women made up of breast cancer survivors, permanent makeup artists and supporters joined me to protest outside Facebook’s London headquarters with a giant boob!
As you can see this protest made the mainstream news in the UK, but it was also seen all over the world!
Why the Protest?
I instigated this demonstration because I have been blocked by Facebook hundreds of times from showing the before and after areola tattoos that I’ve completed on the brave women who have survived cancer. Not only that, but the survivors themselves have been banned too! Facebook and Instagram have stopped these photos being shared even in private groups because it classes them as pornography.
Art Not Porn!!
I started this campaign to get Facebook to see these photos as art not porn, so that they would change their policy. I feel women deserve the very best artwork and support after the end of a long journey. I give them a beautiful areola and work on developing their resilience as well. Medical tattooists like me are the last stop in their fight against this terrible disease, and I feel it’s my duty to share on social media what’s possible because every woman deserves to look complete and feel stronger for the journey they are on.
(The photos below are from my recent session with the wonderful Secondary Sisters, who have been diagnosed with stage four cancer and are determined to stay positive and be a beacon of light and hope for others who have been diagnosed with secondary cancer. Follow them on Instagram @secondary.sisters
A Brick Wall!
I have tried countless times to speak to someone at Facebook, but no one ever responds and it’s so frustrating. Especially when you know a woman who is finally ready to complete her journey might be trying to reach out to you.
After years of putting up with being shut down I decided enough was enough, so I spent £3,500 of my own money to commission a 20ft inflatable boob with my areola artwork printed on it and organised for a coach load of us to go directly to Facebook. I just wanted someone from the company to come out and talk to me.
On the day of the protest we were told we weren’t allowed to inflate the boob directly outside Facebook, (which turned out to be a lie), so we had to put it up on the street outside.
This actually worked in our favour as we got more attention from the people in the offices opposite who shared about what was going on too, with photos like this one!
Outside Facebook we were joined by the Tuneless Choir and all of us sang songs of joy, hope and power. Eventually, I decided it was time to go in to try and talk to someone.
Despite being polite, professional and reasonable, no-one from Facebook was prepared to come and speak to me and they even barred me from going into the building, (bar stewards!).
Although I didn’t get to speak to anyone from Facebook that day, the story was picked up by media all over the world and the BBC video was the second most watched one globally that day!
That put pressure on Mark Zuckerberg and since 15th November 2019 not one of my own posts has been banned, (on Facebook…Instagram is another story!). The trouble is that my fellow artists in the permanent make up industry and cancer survivors are still being blocked and that is why I won’t give up this fight!
I’ve got lots planned in the pipeline to keep challenging Facebook and keeping attention on this cause. If you want to find out what I’m up to and maybe join me in the next adventure keep checking my Facebook page, (I know…ironic right!), @Vicky Martin and I’ll let you know the details.
In the meantime, check out the full video of the boob protest below!
BBC NEWS CLIP: