Note: The following article contains content that may be considered NSFW.
For women, Instagram can get a bit like an overprotective parent, begging you to cover up or be punished.
The past year has been especially harsh, with several women receiving Instagram time-outs for "inappropriate content." These women have had their images — and bodies — policed by the social media platform and its usage guidelines. And they are not having it.
The platform's nudity guidelines have sparked outrage over banned pictures and accounts, prompting activism across the social network and beyond. The latest example is Chrissy Teigen, who challenged Instagramto take down her post of a topless W Magazine shot. (It did.)
Instagram’s guidelines for what is permissible when it comes to bodies, especially those of women, are complicated. “Female nipples” aren’t allowed, unless they're being used to breastfeed or a photo shows post-mastectomy scarring — and that's where things get tricky. These caveats put some images in murky territory, leaving policy a bit confusing for users.
But some women, like Teigen, choose to violate these guidelines with purpose and intention. The guidelines, to them, are sexist — period.
With movements like #FreeTheNipple gaining some of their inspiration and momentum from the platform’s censorship, Instagram is a new virtual battleground for women's bodies.
Check out these eight Instagrammers who were censored by the app, and were up for a fight.
At the end of June, model Chrissy Teigen uploaded an image taken at a recent W Magazine photoshoot. The picture, in which Teigen’s nipple is visible, was determined to violate Instagram’s usage guidelines, which forbid nipples on a case-by-case basis. The image was removed, but Teigen’s account stayed active.
In March 2015, poet Rupi Kaur had her photo, depicting a woman lying in bed with a period stain on her clothing and sheets, deleted twice by Instagram. The photo was eventually allowed back on the platform after Kaur’s Facebook post about the incident went viral.
In a statement to Mashable, Instagram later apologized for the "inconvenience" of the photo’s removal.
Early this year, Australian online magazine Sticks and Stones had its Instagram account terminated after posting this photo of two women with pubic hair peeking out of their swimsuits. The account was eventuallyrestored in mid-January, about three weeks after it was originally deleted, with Instagram issuing a statement to apologize.
This wasn't the first situation concerning pubic hair; artist Petra Collins had her photo deleted in 2013 for the same reason.
Chelsea Handler famously took on Instagram’s nudity policy with a series of posts in late 2014. Her first image, a picture of her mimicking a shirtless photo of Russian president Vladimir Putin, was taken down in October 2014. Handler called the move sexist, saying, “If a man posts a photo of his nipples, it's OK, but not a woman? Are we in 1825?” Handler’s account was not deactivated.
In November, after Kim Kardashian’s #BreakTheInternet Paper magazine shoot, Handler posted a photo mimicking Kardashian’s pose. Though this image was allowed to stay on the site, another image showing Handler’s original topless photo next to the Paper magazine cover was taken down for a second time. Since the incident, Handler has pushed back time andtime again.
In July 2014, Instagram user Samm Newman posted a picture in her underwear to celebrate her plus-size figure. And then Instagram removed it.
Newman’s account was eventually restored, but the original banned image was not.
Vogue’s creative director, Grace Coddington, had her Instagram account suspended in May 2014 for posting a simple portrait of herself topless. The sketch was Coddington’s first post to the platform.
Instagram quickly reinstated her account after the censoring received Twitter criticism, and issued a statement stating the photo’s removal was a mistake.
Rihanna had a months-long spat with Instagram after a topless photo from her shoot with French magazine Lui was banned from the site in May 2014. Though her account wasn’t disabled entirely, Rihanna left the site for six months after the falling out.
She came back to Instagram in November 2014, but her banned photo still has not been restored to her account.
In May 2014, blogger Meghan Tonjes posted a picture of her butt to Instagram with a body-positive message. Her post was taken down soon after because it was flagged as inappropriate content. Tonjes believes the picture was flagged due to her size.
Instagram later sent Tonjes an apology, saying, "Our guidelines put limitations on nudity and mature content, but we recognize that we don't always get it right. In this case, we made a mistake and have since restored the content."
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