It feels like there’s a new plus-sized person shamed by the media every other week.
This past May, Facebook had to publicly apologize to a plus-sized model whose photo they took down after deeming it ‘undesirable’. And in March, a body-positive commercial from Lane Bryant was rejected from TV networks for being ‘indecent’.
Unfortunately, we can add Instagram to the list of body-shaming outlets as it has taken down a plus-size woman’s bikini pic because it “violates” Instagram’s community guidelines.
Blogger Aarti Olivia Dubey, the Singaporean-Indian founder of Curves Become Her, recently became the first plus-size person to write an article in a fashion magazine in Singapore. The post was for Cleo Magazine, and with it came a swimsuit shoot featuring Dubey and two other women.
When the issue came out, Dubey posted a behind-the-scenes shot of herself and the other women featured in the shoot on Instagram, only to have it taken down the following morning for “violating community standards” after it was repeatedly flagged by other users.
@instagram THIS is the image that was reported by fat shamers and trolls, and YOU deleted it. HOW is this image being hateful, hurtful, abusive, trolling or obscene? Do 3 fat girls in swimsuits equate to gore, porn, racism, sexism? Or is it that people only want to see slim girls in swimsuits? IF this image is reported and deleted again, please trust that I WILL pursue this matter just like @rupikaur_ did when her image of lying in a period stain was removed. I am so disappointed and beyond livid right now. No Thanks to you and the people who had the gall to report this image, for making me feel so badly this Monday morning about my existence as a brown fat woman. My dear friends on social media, if you would like to help, please do so by reposting this image and sharing this post all over social media platforms, as many as you like. #bodypositive #celebratemysize #pizzasisters4lyfe #fuckfatphobia #losehatenotweight #nobodyshame #plussize #effyourbeautystandards #woc #intersectionalfeminism #fashionblogger #sizediversity #sgblogger #igsg #plussizesg #southasian #singaporean #girllove
“I went to bed content with the article and the overall positive response it garnered, and told myself it was time to look onward to the new week. I really underestimated the malicious power of fat shaming trolls though,” Dubey wrote in a post on her blog following the incident.
“When I awoke at 6 in the morning the next day and checked into Instagram, a screen popped up informing me that a post of mine was removed due to violation of community guidelines … This was not some pornographic image, it was not filled with gore or violence, it did not do Anything save for be an image of 3 smiling fat chicks in swimwear that we can hardly term as ‘lewd’?”
But instead of letting the setback defeat her, Dubey responded with a series of hard-hitting Instagram and blog posts on fat shaming. Over the following days, Dubey was adamant she deserved not only an apology from Instagram, but that her photograph be restored. She added another photo demanding an answer for why her “freedom of speech as a plus-sized blogger to post an image that resonated with so many and for all my posts as a plus sized person that give hope to my followers” was taken down.
I was rudely awoken this morning to discover that the most recent image I posted to Instagram – an image of me and my 3 brown plus sized friends was reported and deleted. @instagram – there are accounts and images that have nudity, disturbing imagery, racism, sexism, hate and THIS is what gets deleted? I ask you, where is my freedom of speech as a plus sized blogger to post an image that resonated with so many and for all my posts as a plus sized person that give hope to my followers? Where is the justice in keeping terrible trolls and shamers and haters on the Internet while removing my image that is the antithesis of shaming or hating or trolling? What do you have as an explanation for this? Are you trying to tell me three brown fat women are more offensive than the muck and scum that you allow on IG? HOW IS THIS FAIR. #insta #instagram #nobodyshame #bodypositivity #fuckfatphobia #igsg #losehatenotweight #pizzasisters4lyfe #celebratemysize #plussize #fatshion #fullfigured #fatacceptance #woc #southasian
A photo posted by Aarti Olivia Dubey (@curvesbecomeher) on
Finally, a long two weeks later, Instagram responded to her questions, claiming the incident was the mistake of a staff member and re-added the original photo, to which Dubey called bullshit.
Dear @instagram this is a little too late after I had to deal with all the bloody trolls and haters last week. It’s almost TWO weeks. So I accept your apology Instagram but it does not change a thing. You have placed the image back but at what cost? Please remember that if this ever happens again, I assure you it will be a battle cry I will announce because You are answerable to ALL of my plus size friends for removing their images or accounts on Instagram or Facebook. Check your latent fatphobia. Check your guidelines and policies. Take better care of the people who use your services as a means of staying connected to oceans of people who just want to exist as people. Fat, brown, lgbt, disabled and many other intersections deserve RESPECT and not to be trolled by anonymous private accounts with no life. Sincerely, a fat brown woman. #plussize #woc #intersectionalfeminism #fatacceptance #psblogger #bodypositive #nobodyshame #losehatenotweight #fuckfatphobia #igsg #southasian #effyourbeautystandards
A photo posted by Aarti Olivia Dubey (@curvesbecomeher) on
In one final blog post, Dubey shared how everyone can overcome body-shamers.
“The lesson here my dear friends, is that in a world where bodies like mine are still regarded with blind hate and faux-concern..there is only one way to get through the muck,” Dubey wrote on her blog. “And that is to rise above it, create ripples of change, and move forward.”