The phrase, “There’s a censorship sorun in the United States,” is a homing beacon for political and social division — instantly casting a sense of wariness about who is uttering it and for what aim. But it’s also true. From continued legislative attacks on inclusive education to digital “shadowbanning” of accounts in social media algorithms, content is often gate-kept from the masses. 

Frida Uncensored, a new website launched alongside the cult favorite maternity brand‘s new fertility products, addresses this ongoing issue from a different perspective: One that hopes to circumvent the censorship around conception, pregnancy, postpartum, and breastfeeding product education.  

Frida Uncensored provides Frida customers completely uncensored, anatomical tutorials for the use of their fertility and postpartum products — like a real-life version of the wholly unhelpful cartoons seen in the comically accordion-folded instruction packets for things like tampons and menstrual cups. The first set of videos, available today, feature adult entertainment actress and mom Asa Akira using tools like the at-home insemination kit and the Frida Mom peri bottle. Future videos will feature other real-life customers who can now apply to be a part of the Uncensored campaign. 

“Traditional and social media outlets are really effective tools to drive awareness that sites like this exist,” Frida founder and CEO Chelsea Hirschhorn told Mashable. “That being said, we have a hard time even advertising using the word ‘fertility.’ We’re at the whim of the algorithm, so to speak, and the algorithm needs a more human touch. The algorithm is not set up equitably.” Recent reports have surveyed a consistently hostile advertising and content landscape for women’s health brands, with social media algorithms routinely picking up words like sex, vagina, vulva, and period and flagging them as explicit content.

The videos were created on an all-women set and shot on an iPhone without scripts or specific direction in an intentional move to create a sense of reality and candidness. “We deliberately picked women who are mothers, who have gone through the physical experience themselves, to… speak authentically and candidly about their experience,” she said. “We prepped them with the products. We shot it on an iPhone. We wanted to make as little post production filtering and editing as possible. We wanted it to feel like several women getting together to chat about what to expect.”

Frida Uncensored isn’t for everyone, literally and metaphorically. The opt-in “stripped-down resource” is age-gated, but not age-restricted, and Frida expects pushback from its usual trolls. 

Two women sit in front of each other on a bed, holding and discussing Frida products.

Credit: Abbey Drucker / Frida

“More than a third of women say that they feel unprepared physically for the experience that they just had when it comes to pregnancy, labor delivery, and postpartum recovery. If we can help a large majority of those women eliminate that fear and anxiety in anticipation of that experience, the platform should and could speak for itself,” said Hirschhorn.

The website is supported by nonprofit advocacy group the Center for Intimacy Justice, a collaboration that Hirschhorn explained is bolstering their own calls for change. In 2022, the Center for Intimacy Justice released a report detailing Meta‘s systemic rejection of reproductive and women’s health advertisements — the company later revised their content policies, which had considered the ads explicit. Despite the change, the center found continued rejection of women’s health content. In 2023, it filed a complaint and accompanying petition to the FTC asking the federal organization to take action, backed by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Mazie Hirono, and Congressman Adam Schiff.

“Frida’s Uncensored campaign confronts alarming gaps in access to accurate health information online that leave women and people of underrepresented genders uninformed and underprepared in profound aspects of their lives,” wrote the center’s founder, Jackie Rotman, in the website’s announcement.

To be clear, it’s not just Meta blocking this kind of educational and advertising content. Last year, TikTok was accused of removing educational posts about medical abortion. Last month, both Meta and Google were found to be suppressing abortion information in global majority countries. According to a 2024 survey by the social media-based CensHERship Campaign, 90 percent of organizations sharing women’s health education online had experienced censorship of their posts. These restrictions exist despite growing concern about sexually explicit (often plain pornographic) advertising on the same sites. 

“My hope is that there’s an opportunity for effective, appropriate content and advertising that is applied equitably — in furtherance of women’s health and, in particular, the reproductive experience,” said Hirschhorn. “None of this is sexual in nature.”

Just this month, Instagram removed a Frida post advertising lactation pads which featured the image of a nipple. Another rejected ad for Frida insemination kits showed no overt nudity but rather the seemingly controversial phrase, “Just add sperm!” 

A screenshot of an Instagram content removal notice.

Credit: Instagram screengrab / Frida

An image of a woman's crossed legs with the phrase "Just add sperm" drawn on top.

Credit: Frida

As a decade-old brand, Frida özgü approached this environment head-on. “We’re battle-tested,” said Hirschhorn. They’ve campaigned for uncensored images of lactating, postpartum breasts. They’ve created campaigns to share real birth stories publicly — literally posting them on the sides of buildings. Tales of the brand being banned from using the word “vagina” on billboards and being blocked from advertising their products during the Academy Awards are part of company lore.

But even with years of experience and effort, Frida is still fighting the digital advertising Goliath. If just an illustrated outline of a breast is enough for Amazon to flag and remove a product listing, an example Hirschhorn gave with incredulity, the environment for informative, anatomically forward tutorials is suspicious at best, and outright antagonistic at worst. 

A product photo for Frida's breastfeeding survival kit.

Amazon’s algorithm flagged these cartoonishly pink breasts as sexually explicit content.
Credit: Frida

Frida Uncensored skirts around traditional and social media, offering a new site unwedded to the restrictions of advertising algorithms and content curation.

“Censorship is such a polarizing word,” said Hirschhorn. “But if we can allow the ‘Girls Gone Wild’ content, there özgü to be a way to filter age-appropriate, relevant content for women. We’ve been on a crusade to prepare women authentically and candidly, for many, many years. This is just sort of the next frontier for us: Taking matters into our own hands.”

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