The skinny on Instagram banning #curvy

17 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Instagram Bans #Curvy From its Search Terms.

I’m restricting myself to Facebook and Twitter at the moment, but I don’t think that’s the only reason I’m baffled by the photo-sharing site’s decision to block the hashtag #curvy on grounds of taste and decency.

Instagram told BuzzFeed that these terms have been used to share videos and pictures that ‘violated Instagram’s community guidelines around nudity’. Users were left puzzled by the decision, saying that the body-positive term, curvy, was harmless when compared to the banned hashtag #thinspo, which glorified pro-anorexia sites. There is a precedent here – also banned the aubergine emoji on the grounds that it was being used as a code to identify material posted in contravention of the photo-sharing network’s terms and conditions. Of course, notwithstanding the fact that searching using the hashtag “curvy” seems like rather a roundabout way of laying your hands on salacious pictures of naked women, there’s still an issue here. Inconsistencies with the site’s censorship was highlighted by artist Sam Roddick, who was banned from the site for her photo of a cornice shaped like a vagina.

There are numerous other terms like #fatpig and #fatf**** used to post similar material and predominantly, let’s face it, to shame women – and that are still allowed through. While they allow bitch, fat slag, hookers, thin — this is not a safe platform for women and especially young girls (as we all know Instagram is populated with nude images of young women effectively selling themselves sexually). And though this move will surely rub many people the wrong way, it’s unlikely to change — Instagram has thus far stood firm on all of its policies, despite any public outcry.

A few months ago, they took down an image posted by the poet Rupi Kaur showing what happened when her period leaked onto her pyjama bottoms and sheets. It might have seemed a bit much to some – but for many others it was a pretty innocuous image, and more to the point, simply reflected a monthly fact of life for women. As soon as we were made aware of this error, we restored the content.” As Kaur herself commented, the picture is of a “fully clothed” woman that is “nothing but acceptable”.

And Instagram to its credit reversed its decision and allowed the photo, though images of other natural facets of female life like breast feeding and stretch marks are still thought to be de trop. But while the site continues to allow sexually-explicit terms, often used as verbal weapons against women, there’s a whole community of Instagram users who think it shouldn’t be banning words like “curvy,” which embrace a woman’s natural, healthy beauty. Failing that, I’m sure users sharing their photos will find all sorts of ways to reclaim the word, by appending it to others, to get round the censors.

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