Model Mayhem Image Rules


This article is intended to address the most common questions and concerns regarding the image rules Model Mayhem receives. However, this was also written to advise you that if you upload, display, submit, or set as avatar any image that falls in to the Grey Areas defined below, that image is subject to moderation at the discretion of the moderation team, even if there are other, similar, images on Model Mayhem that bear striking resemblances to your own image.

What Is the Grey Area?

As each image is unique and different from the next image, each image has to be judged independently based on the content of that particular image. The Grey Area is essentially where images fall in-between what is clearly an image rule violation and not an image rule violation.

Keep in Mind: The image rules on Model Mayhem are not arbitrary. Not only are there minors on Model Mayhem who view portfolios, but Model Mayhem also has to answer to advertisers who help keep Model Mayhem a free website.

Please review the graphic below. We’ve included a brief summary of the change from the light-side of the spectrum to the dark-side. Model Mayhem has a staunch policy against images on the dark-side.


      • Represents completely work-safe images and avatars
      • Images are typically G-rated and do not show any elements considered Mature (M)
      • These images can be used as avatars and posted to profile pages

Slightly more grey:

      • Represents images that are acceptable for portfolios, but not acceptable for avatars or profile pages
      • Images are typically PG-13 to R rated and probably show elements considered Mature
      • Mature elements are not completely work-safe and should be marked “M” in portfolios
      • These images are not allowed to be posted to the forums
      • If in doubt, mark it “M”!


      • Represents images that are not clearly acceptable, but not clearly prohibited
      • Most images here will be scrutinized by the moderator team for rule violations
      • Images in this area can either be removed or allowed to stay
      • Images of a similar nature may stay while others may be removed


      • Represents images that are never allowed on Model Mayhem
      • These images will be removed without hesitation by the moderation team
      • Uploading these images might result in the removal of your profile
      • Be safe – just don’t upload them!

This Grey Area principle can be applied to other things on Model Mayhem as well, from forum posts and threads to photo comments, lists, etc.

Image Elements, Explained

Images are judged based on visible elements presented in the photo. If an image contains any bit of what is listed as a Mature elements, it must therefore be marked Mature and may not be used in any public spaces, such as an avatar or on a profile page.

The elements provided below are not allowed in spaces considered “Public” on Model Mayhem, such as in the avatar space, on a profile page or in the forums. Any elements not listed here are permitted to be used in a public space.

    • Pubic area
      • Also known as the bikini area, covered by average swimming bottoms, from the pubic bone down and from thigh to thigh
      • Any area that would normally be covered by pubic hair
      • On men, some iliac furrow or “V muscle” is permitted to be shown
    • Genitals
      • All visible external sex organs
    • Female nipples or areola
      • Any area that is visibly areola is not permitted
    • Implied sexual activity
    • Close-ups of bare buttocks
    • Blood, guts, gore, or violent situations
    • Bondage situations of any kind
    • Watermarks that are links to pornographic or sexual websites
    • Any transparent or semi-transparent clothing or body paint that shows any of the above

Note: Images that utilize “stars or stripes” to block or bar the above Mature elements to make them Worksafe are permitted, provided that:

  • Color of stars and stripes are noticeably different than the model’s skin tone
  • Used to completely obscure the Mature element
  • Ensures the image does not appear as though a Mature element is still visible

The elements provided below are never allowed to be posted or shared on Model Mayhem in any form. Using Model Mayhem to network for these types of images is also prohibited.

  • Any images showing persons that appear to be under the age of 18
  • Bodily fluids, excluding blood, sweat, tears, and non-sexual saliva or nose-snot
  • Erections, of any level
  • Manipulation of genitals or buttocks to “spread” them
  • Genital or anal penetration of any kind
  • Explicit sexual content of any kind
  • Intimate photographer/subject or “Point of View” content of any kind
  • Sexual contact of any kind that appears to be between the photographer and model(s)
  • Emphasis on the genitals or anus, such as images that are specifically of the genitals, comprised mostly of genitals, or appear to be focused on the genitals.
    • Images where genitals are the focus of the shot
    • Images where the shot is visibly entirely genitals, even covered
    • Images that appear to have a high ratio of genitals-to-image

Grey Area and Image Moderation

We are not singling you out, and we are not picking on you. We receive reports from other members, and the moderation team also scans portfolios, avatars, and contest entries for rule violations daily. This is the job of the moderation team. If you follow the site and image rules, you will find that the moderation team won’t contact you about your images.

Moderators are human, and there is some subjectivity with how an image is viewed by them. However, moderators are trained to know what a rule violation looks like and see possibly hundreds of rule violations each day.

Occasionally, mistakes might be made, but this is a rare occurrence, as the moderation team discusses images that fall in the Grey Area – avatars, portfolio images, contest entries – before removing anything. If your image has been removed then it was more than likely discussed by the team first.

We will review any objections to check to see if a rare mistake might have been made, but if we determine that the image was rightfully removed we will not overturn the decision, and we will not argue with you about the image’s removal.

Finally, there are no loopholes in the moderation of an image. The rules are quite clear about this. You will have to find a way to live with the decision and move on with your networking and creating wonderful art.

Tips to Avoid Image Moderation

  • Don’t use Model Mayhem to network for images we don’t allow
  • Avoid uploading or displaying images that violate the rules
  • When in doubt, ask! Moderators will be glad to help you figure out if your image is acceptable

Additional Notes

Fairness and Consistency

You will probably see lots of images that are violations of the rules as you navigate the site. You may think to yourself, “Gee, how come these things get to stay up?” While it might seem like the moderators are playing favorites, the chances are that the mod team simply hasn’t seen the violation yet. Report it (the report link is above every image in a portfolio) and a moderator will review it!

Please keep in mind: If the moderation team reviews an image and determines that the image is OK and can stay, do not message asking why the image has not been removed and do not argue that it should have been removed, as the team has already discussed the image.

We do try our best to be fair and consistent, however, do remember that moderators are people. There are millions of pictures on Model Mayhem – it would take dozens of moderators every day pouring over every portfolio to find all the violations.

Here are some of the subjective variables, or differences moderators are on the lookout for:

      • Poses
      • Composition
      • Light and shadows
      • The way monitors display light and shadows (Yes, it can alter how we see an image!)
      • Human anatomy

As you can hopefully see, it’s virtually impossible to be 100% consistent in image rulings. As noted previously, every image is unique!

While we understand why an image removal may seem unfair to you, we ask that you keep in mind that what’s allowed on the site and what you want in your portfolio are not always going to be compatible. To quote some famous people, “Who said life is fair?”

Consideration of “Art”

We do not see artistic merit when looking at a photo. We only judge images based on what your image is showing. This means your image is only being judged and decided by the elements outlined in our Mature or Prohibited section.

We are happy that you feel your image is a work of art, and if we were an art gallery who curated your work we might agree with you. However, your work is being hosted on Model Mayhem and as such must follow the rules. There are no exceptions.

If you feel that Model Mayhem is stifling your artistic expression because we keep removing images of crotches, bums, boners, and explicit sex acts, or we keep overwriting your avatar for not being clearly worksafe, then it’s likely that Model Mayhem isn’t the right website for you.

Image Age

Even if an image has been on Model Mayhem since 2006, if it violates the site rules it will be removed or censored accordingly. Any older image that violates the rules still visible on the site simply means a moderator has not yet seen the image to take action on it.


Model Mayhem believes in diversity, and we embrace it! Image moderation has nothing to do with who you are, what you believe in, or anything else about you as an individual. Image moderation is about the image itself. If you feel you are being discriminated against because your images have been moderated, please take a moment and rethink your claim. Your images are really all we care about!


If you feel like you’re being censored, that’s because you are, and this is no different than having rules for guests who come to your home. When someone violates your house rules, you kick them out at your discretion. The same applies to Model Mayhem.

As a privately owned website, Model Mayhem has the right to determine what is and is not allowed to be displayed on any page on its domain. What is and is not allowed is outlined by the Terms of Use, Site Rules, and Image Rules. By using the site, you agree to these conditions, as well as the condition that Model Mayhem may decide to remove some of the content you upload.

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MM Edu brings you tips, advice, and knowledge in modeling, photography, post-production, style/makeup, and Using MM. The expertise comes from our beautiful and brilliant members!

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One Response to “Model Mayhem Image Rules”

  1. March 21, 2018 at 8:22 am, JohnC said:

    After reading the Image rules it appears to me you could have saved yourself some time and just said we will do whatever we want to whoever we want so shut up and don’t bother us.


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