30 March 2015

Instagram Removes Photo Of Fully-Clothed Woman On Period, Sparks Public Outcry

Photo sharing social media site Instagram has been embroiled in a controversy the past few days.

Artist Rupi Kaur posted the above photo to her Instagram and it got deleted by the service. She then reposted the image, only to have it removed yet again by Instagram, both times citing that the image doesn’t adhere to its “Community Guidelines”.

Kaur decided to write to Instagram: “Thank you @Instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. You deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. The girl is fully clothed. The photo is mine. It is not attacking a certain group. Nor is it spam. And because it does not break those guidelines I will repost it again.”

“I will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of (a) misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak, when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified, ‘pornified’, and treated less than human. Thank you.”

“This image is a part of my photo series project for my visual rhetoric course. You can view the full series at rupikaur.com.”

“I bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. My womb is home to the divine, a source of life for our species, whether I choose to create or not. But very few times it is seen that way. In older civilizations this blood was considered holy. In some it still is. But a majority of people, societies, and communities shun this natural process.”

“Some are more comfortable with the ‘pornification’ of women, the sexualization of women, the violence and degradation of women than this. They cannot be bothered to express their disgust about all that, but will be angered and bothered by this. We menstruate and they see it as dirty, attention seeking, sick, a burden. As if this process is less natural than breathing, as if it is not a bridge between this universe and the last, as if this process is not love, labor, life—selfless and strikingly beautiful.”

She also wrote another commentary on Tumblr about the issue.

The public outcry caused by the controversial removal was so great that Instagram restored the photos and emailed an apology to Kaur, stating that the photo was removed by accident.

Kaur is not convinced, she told Washington Post, “I truly don’t believe it was a mistake. A mistake once maybe, but twice?”

You might want to view her entire series of works on her website.

[via PetaPixel, images via Rupi Kaur]