They sang the lyrics “nudo con i brividi” on the Sanremo stage. And now Italy’s Eurovision 2022 stars Mahmood and Blanco are brining their lyrics to life with a cover photo shoot for the March edition of Vanity Fair Italia. The risqué image has set pulses racing, including those at Instagram HQ. The social media giant apparently censored Mahmood after he tried to share the magazine cover to his story.
Mahmood and Blanco on the Vanity Fair cover
In an Instagram post promoting the feature, Vanity Fair Italia writes: “How is it possible that two guys so different, so out of the box, so untraditional conquer all but all of Italy?”. The director Simone Marchetti asks this in the editorial of the new issue of Vanity Fair on newsstands from tomorrow Wednesday 23 February, which has Mahmood and Blanco on the cover. And the answer is thus: ‘The “real country” has fallen in love with Blanco and Mahmood and their freedom. And the thing is so surprising that by focusing on the two, you don’t even see the battles needed to achieve respect for differences. Looking at these two guys you can see what happens after winning the battle. And it is beautiful “.
Mahmood and Blanco also shared the magazine cover. They simply captioned it with two doves, referencing the birds perched on their shoulders.
The photo was taken by Luigi & Iango, two internationally renowned photographers. Vanity Fair descibes the cover as having “all the iconic power of a poster destined to last: Blanco and Mahmood naked, with two doves on their shoulders and their gaze fixed on the reader”. Marchetti says “We portrayed them like this because their stories are like a blank page, full of tattoos and dreams, of youth, something strong enough to shake us all”.
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Instagram censors Mahmood over photoshoot
However, while Mahmood was able to share the image to his grid without an issue, Instagram apparently had other ideas when it came to his story. In a second post, this time with a large “censored” sticker slapped across both men, Vanity Fair Italia writes:
“Those who work with social media are well aware that Instagram has its own rules to enforce what our grandparents would have called “public morality”: no nipples in plain sight as well as genitals, but green light for the lower back and other strips of uncovered skin not better identified. What the Instagram algorithm ignores, however, is that the nude is not only a vulgar expression of the body, but also a means capable of conveying an important message such as, in the case of our cover with Mahmood and Blanco, winners of the Festival di Sanremo, candidates for Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 and icons for millions of young people, the freedom to strip off labels and live free, refreshed, satisfied.
A concept that, however, the mechanical codes of a social network do not grasp, given that the Story shared by Mahmood on his Instagram profile with the Vanity Fair cover imprinted on it has been removed because, we quote literally, “violates our guidelines on the subject. of sexual acts “. Leaving aside the fact that we do not see what the obscenity is, given that Mahmood and Blanco are immortalized by Luigi & Iango, who in their career have photographed iconic characters such as Madonna and Penélope Cruz, in a plastic pose that seems to follow the canons of Praxiteles, we would like to remember how much the artistic nude has been the spokesperson for battles and conquests, such as Demi Moore’s baby bump who, in 1991, managed to make it clear that pregnant women want to continue to be desirable regardless of mother status. Or like, more recently, the thanks of Vanessa Incontrada who, for the first time, chose to be immortalized without veils by Max Vadukul for our newspaper to demonstrate that she has made peace with the criticisms that have always made her suffer.
In this, fortunately, artistic expressions manage to be ahead of algorithms, but there is still a long way to go before the guidelines of a social network reach the same degree of action as human sensitivity, the one that goes beyond the rigid barriers imposed by a code and which understands the right value to assign to an image. By Mario Manca”
“A cover exploded like a grenade, capable of gathering thousands of consents, complete with chats clogged with comments teeming with hormonal tensions, but also the most absurd criticisms: those who think that hands are not natural in keeping modesty; who complains that they have the same height; who wonders why Blanco “crushes” Mahmood’s foot (I swear, they wrote it seriously), and in the middle there is also Instagram that censors the cover in the Stories because it would be an obscene act to be deleted while not infringing any of the guidelines of the same Instagram on the so-called “social good practice”, leaving out all the millions of profiles with the backs in plain sight that remain in their place.
The thing that often escapes most is that newspapers do their job when they offer a means to discuss and analyze, to stir and arouse interest: Simone Marchetti has given Vanity Fair a precise direction, devoted to launching fundamental messages – for whom had not understood it, Mahmood and Blanco are unveiled because they represent better than others a freedom freed from labels and preconceptions, blank canvases on which it is possible to paint the present and imagine the future – and to the enhancement of talents who have something to teach us independently how mainstream they have been. The result is that the cover has gone viral almost everywhere, making us understand that the newspaper has fulfilled its mission once again in the face of those who point the finger regardless and on a whim, under the illusion of denouncing a system that, not too much secretly, it fascinates them too”.
Update: It appears that Instagram may have backtracked on its initial takedown of Mahmood’s story. As of 11:40 CET, the magazine cover is visibile to see on his stories. The image comes before his message about being censored.
Do you think Instagram is censoring the Italian duo? Or is the platform simply protecting public morals? Let us know down below.