Social networking giant Instagram has offered an apology to a user after banning her for a photos she proudly displayed of her body.
Nineteen-year-old Ohio college student Samm Newman said her account was zapped by Instagram when she posted a picture of herself in a bra and boy shorts. In an interview with NBC 4, Newman said she dealt with bullying over her weight during her younger years that was so severe she resorted to self harm. But she found strength in the body positivity movement online and soon was proudly posting pictures of herself. This is exactly what the Internet should be doing for young people. Except, no, Instagram had to jump in and be a total buzzkill:
Four months ago, she met a group of ladies using hash tags like #bodylove and #pizzasister4lyfe. They followed each other, posted pictures and compliments.
"My Instagram, it was my safe place because when I was there, I could share anything," Newman said.
The photo that was removed just hours before her account was rendered useless was one of her in her favorite polka dot boy shorts and a white bra.
"I didn't find them or the bra at all inappropriate," Newman said. "They covered me entirely and I've seen pictures like that all over Instagram."
[Instagram] said she violated their community guidelines. While they warn against sharing photos that show nudity or mature content, Newman said there is a double standard.
So before everyone starts jumping up and down to say this isn't any form of discrimination, consider how many pictures of young, thin women in bikinis and bras and underwear there are on Instagram right now. Here's a good roundup of women wearing similar outfits as Newman (even skimpier ones) who haven't had their accounts banned, in case you want to make that dumb BUT INDECENT JESUS MODESTY PORNOGRAPHY WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN SOMETHING SOMETHING argument. But hey, at least she's in good company. (Pouring out a glass of chardonnay for Rihanna's dearly departed Instagram account right now.)
Instagram released a statement after her account was reinstated, which they only did after NBC aired Newman's story:
When our team processes reports from other members of the Instagram community, we occasionally make a mistake. In this case, we wrongly removed content and worked to rectify the error as soon as we were notified. We apologize for any inconvenience.
They "occasionally make a mistake." They seem to conveniently "occasionally make a mistake" when it has to do with shaming women or young girls about their bodies. This is where I offer an obligatory reminder that Instagram is owned by Facebook, the same Facebook which had no problem for ages deleting and banning women who were sharing pictures of their bodies post mastectomy yet didn't seem to find anything wrong with an actual page advertising prostitution that featured photographs of graphic sexual acts. But OK, let's chalk this up to the "occasional" mistake and not a routine pattern of singling out women who don't fit a specific image the company is going for in their branding. And before people start computer-splaining about how these companies use an automated system to deal with reports, you can hold your breath. We already know. That system is fucked up. If companies like Facebook can manage to come up with software that knows to spam you with ads for baby clothes right at the time you "liked" your old roommate's post announcing she was pregnant, they sure as shit should be able to come up with a system that doesn't arbitrarily discriminate on who gets deleted and who stays. But thanks for the IT lesson anyway.
As that sassy little cat would say "fuck this, that and the other thing," because Newman is back on Instagram, giving exactly zero fucks about all the whole thing, which is awesome. "Fat is not a bad word," Newman told NBC. "How confident can you be if you keep censoring yourself because people don't want to look at you?" You do you, Newman.
Image via Samm Newman Instagram.