Banned For Being Female

Image by Marco Mézquita from Pixabay

If you’ve never heard of Ablo before, let this be a brief introduction. Ablo works on the premise of formulating international friendships by connecting you with a stranger and automatically translating your conversation into their own spoken language as you chat. To give it some credit, you can also click and read the translation yourself, helping you learn a bit of a foreign language along the way. Ablo is quite cool in that regard.

Ablo also has some basic rules for behaviour on the app, like not flirting without consent, not pushing one another to send photos and not behaving in a sexual manner. All rules that I was happy to follow, until now.

Last night, I paired with a young Indian man called Shedab. Shedab and I talked about most things for about half an hour and he asked to see a better photo of me, one where the sun wasn’t in my eyes. No harm done, I sent him the same photo as I have featured on my blog home page. What Shedab sent me back completely knocked my confidence momentarily.

“I feel like such a peasant up to you!” I laughed. Shedab was wearing a suit, and there was me, in jeans and a t-shirt. I have a naturally unconscious thing. If you can afford a well-fitted suit, you’re undoubtedly in a far better position in life than what I am.

“I don’t always wear suits dear” Shedab told me. To clarify his point, Shedab sent me three more photos. one in jeans and t-shirt, one in a jacket and scarf, and one topless. I was taken aback by his topless photo and it seemed that Shedab was, too, but I accepted it. A topless man, right? That happens, it’s allowed. It’s not sexual.

The hardest part in the moment was knowing what to say to someone you’re not physically attracted to, or see only as a friend, a partially-naked friend. I mean.. what do you say? “You look nice?” No, he might get the wrong idea. “Okay”? He might think there was something wrong with him. In the end, I settled for “you have nice shoulders”, which is still kind of a compliment, isn’t it? Booya! I win that round.

“Do you have any more photos of you?” Shedab urged.

“Not that I can share here” I replied. I have one, just one, one so nice that I was even given special permission to share it on the Facebook-for-perverts site, Fetlife. It features one of my beautiful butterfly nipple clamps, and I’m proud. They’re pretty enough that they should be shared. It sits on the utmost edges of my relationship with Wolfie, the absolute maximum of what I am permitted to share online.

“It’s okay dear, I want to see it” Shedab replied. I’d told him that I kind of write about more than mental health and I hesitated for a moment, but then decided. I was proud of the image and proud of my body, and if he wanted to see it, who was I to deny him? It’d been up there for months on Fetlife for any other man to look at and with my husband’s permission, what harm would one more do?

So I took a deep breath and with my shoulders back, I sent it.

I should say here that I am 100% nipple positive. As a woman who was once a naturist and is a proud exhibitionist, I have absolutely zero shame about my body. I think the human body can be both hideously ugly and so effing beautiful, simultaneously. I firmly believe that the more you embrace your natural form, the far more confident and happy you can become.

When it comes to my nipples. I see them as both natural and sexual. They are natural for me as the teat from which to feed my would-be young, and they are sexual because.. well.. they are just fun to play with and mine are incredibly sensitive and responsive to touch. I recounted in this post how I used to tease men at a naturist swim and I still enjoy pacing around my home, partially or fully naked. These days, it has nothing to do with teasing and everything to do with confidence and a lack of shame in my body. If a man wants to appreciate my housewifely body and still finds me attractive, then that to me is both a compliment and a confidence boost. Far from feeling embarrassed, I feel attractive and empowered. Instead of concealing myself, I sit taller round him. I actually want to be seen!

Shedab and I talked for a few more moments and he told me how he appreciated my form. I had confidence and beauty he told me, and I thanked him. But then it happened:

My screen turned purply pink and an automated message appeared on my screen,

Helen, enough is enough, it began.

Due to your behaviour, we have been forced to remove your account from Ablo. Have a nice life!

I stared that the screen for a moment is disbelief. The man that I was talking to (who I hold nothing against, by the way) had sent me a shirtless photo, he had invited me to send the photo and even, in a way, insisted that I’d sent it. On all of those occasions, the Ablo bots could have detected something awry and removed him from the system, yet still, nothing happened. Shedab had even been permitted to show me a photograph of himself without a shirt on, which Ablo blurred and warned me may contain ‘graphic content’, but ultimately accepted and allowed him to continue our conversation. Almost as soon as I’d sent my photo though, Ablo kicked me out.

I could come to but one conclusion: Ablo is all for nipple shaming women.

In the 24 hours that I was back on the app, I didn’t pair with one woman. I was asked six times if I was single, and twice I was asked if I would like to swap to Whatsapp. I’ve been told that my face is like the moon (I’m assuming he meant round and white), a conversation which I eventually aborted because I found him far too much. Ablo permits men to flirt with women and send shirtless photos. It allows men to pressure women into sending photos or handing over personal information, but heaven forbid a woman reveals the same portion of her body as some of the men on the app? She’s straight out through the door.

After that incident, Ablo was of no use to me and I thusly deleted it. A lot of recent reviews mention the app being extremely costly and so I had no qualms in further chewing out Ablo with my own two-star review:

Meant for international friendships but I was always paired with single men. Ablo has a non-sexual communication rule yet shirtless photos sent by men looking for love on the app are censored but approved, and a racy photo of the same body part got me banned, even in spite of me being repeatedly encouraged to send it by my male chat partner and without any interference at all from Ablo – what a shame! It’s cool, I don’t want any part in an app that censors the female body anyway. Bye bye, Ablo! 👋

Have you used Ablo before? How did you find it? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!

Have an awesome Sunday lovelies.

Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Beautiful,

Helen xx