Last week an image from the Instagram Rupi Kaur, a Sikh poet studying at the University of Waterloo, Canada, went viral. What made the image and it’s story go viral wasn’t necessarily the content of the picture but rather the response the moderators of Instagram had to the picture.
The photo Kaur posted, although slightly shocking, was clearly innocent enough. There was no nudity nor any other offensive content. It simply depicted a problem that females around the world are all too familiar with; leaked period blood had managed to sneak past the woman’s sanitary pads and stained her pants. In defiance Kaur reposted the same image with the following caption
“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 re-post it. 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 of whom are underage) are objectified, pornified, and treated less than human.”
Clearly Kaur was not the only one who felt that there was a huge problem with what had happened to her because within a week, the image drew over 740,000 shares on the Internet. It is disappointing to see such a major social media company holding such backwards morals where a fully clothed woman is not allowed share a very natural and common woe while images of overtly sexualized women flow freely with no repercussions. Hopefully the influx of negative press that Instagram receives will at the very least cause them to reconsider their actions and in the future not let the same mistakes happen again.