Instagram takes heat for censoring photo of models with pubic hair - Your Community

[View the story "Instagram takes heat for censoring photo of models with pubic hair" on Storify]

Storified by CBC News Community· Thu, Jan 22 2015 01:02:06


@freethenipplelives #freethenipplecaradelevingne

Driven in large part by the celebrity-backed #FreeTheNipple movement, much of the conversation about Instagram's nudity policy has been focused on the censorship of womens' bodies in recent months — and cries of gender-based double standards just keep on accumulating.

This week, critics are once again accusing Instagram of sexism after it was reported that an Australian fashion agency's account had been banned for posting a photo of two women with visible pubic hair.

The photo in question, seen below, features two female models wearing bathing suits outdoors. The models are not nude, nor are their poses overtly sexual. In fact, the image is quite tame in comparison to almost anything on Instagram's infamous #ThirstTrap hashtag (which is almost always NSFW. You've been warned.)


"Unfortunately Instagram has ruled out natural hair that appears on all bodies of women that don't trim their bikini lines," said the director of Sticks and Stones agency , Ainsley Hutchence, to Mic. "This hair occasionally does spill out of the sides of swimwear as it does on men in their underwear. But Instagram seem to be ok with man pubes."

Hutchence, who had racked up hundreds of thousands of followers on her company's Instagram account before it was deleted, believes that the account wouldn't have been censored if the models were male.

"Clearly this is absolutely sexist," she said. "Instagram believes that women should wax or get off their platform."

Stylite's Hannah Ongley backs her up by pointing out the many reproductions of Justin Bieber's recent Calvin Klein ad that still appear on Instagram despite the presence of hair poking out from Bieber's underwear (hey, it may be fake hair, but it's still hair.)

This is just the start of the year #mycalvins #beallyoucanbe #learnfromyourfaults #risetosuccess #dontbeashamedredeem #thebestisyet2comejustinbieber

As many have pointed out today, this isn't the first time Instagram and pubic hair have made headlines together.

In 2013, celebrated Canadian photographer and fashion designer Petra Collins had her entire Instagram account deleted over a cropped photo of her lower body in a bathing suit with an unshaven bikini line.

Wow @instagram thanks for making it clear that an unshaven bikini line NEEDS censoring. collins

"Recently, I had my Instagram account deleted. I did nothing that violated the terms of use. No nudity, violence, pornography, unlawful, hateful or infringing imagery. What I did have was an image of MY body that didn't meet society's standard of 'femininity,'" wrote Collins in a powerful essay that appeared on The Huffington Post, Oyster Mag, and her own Facebook page among other places.

"I know having a social media profile removed is a 21st century privileged problem -- but it is the way a lot of us live," Collins wrote later in the piece. "These profiles mimic our physical selves and a lot of the time are even more important. They are ways to connect with an audience, to start discussion, and to create change. Through this removal, I really felt how strong of a distrust and hate we have towards female bodies. The deletion of my account felt like a physical act, like the public coming at me with a razor, sticking their finger down my throat, forcing me to cover up, forcing me to succumb to society's image of beauty. That these very real pressures we face everyday can turn into literal censorship."

Petra Collins - just posting this again so its loud and... | Facebookjust posting this again so its loud and clear - sans image - "I wasn't shocked at the reaction I received from my t-shirt. I'm used to being told by society that I must regulate my body to fit the norm. I'm used to the fact that images of unaltered women are seen as unacceptable.

Reactions to Collins' story were passionate and prolific, as are reactions this week to the banning of Sticks and Stones' Instagram account over pubic hair.

#Instagram needs to stop being so sexist, tumblr allows nipples of women to be shown & their pubic hair. Stop being so stupid #freethefemaleSkye Reearna

What kind of puritanical perv runs Instagram? Hint of a woman's pubes are now considered the work of the Devil?!!! S

This image was banned from Instagram. Struggling to find the 'problem' with it? Me too. #doublestandard #yesallwomen | Lunar Look

It's really ridiculous how sexist instagram really is, #noequality #wimloyno

@feministabulous crazy double standards. Is #freethebush the new #FreeTheNipple?Caroline MT

Share your own thoughts on, and experiences with, Instagram's content policies in the comments section below.