In a move that has caused a shitstorm on social media, it became known recently that Instagram removed the popular hashtag, #curvy, from their site. Even if it is used, people will be unable to search for images with this particular word.
I don’t normally share videos, but Meghan Tonjes, a vlogger and musician that I admire, sums this up better than I could. For those who think this is just a coincidence, this is not the first time that Instagram has removed content of plus sized women, deeming it overly sexual, meanwhile, allowed far more sexual images from skinnier women to remain.In fact – there are images of men with hard-ons, jacking off, that are allowed, yet a woman with curves is overly sexual? Come on people.
As a #curvy girl myself, this infuriates me. As Meghan points out, curvy is something that applies to a broad spectrum of body types. Although I am not a ‘bigger’ girl (though for years, I believed I was), I’m not small either. And even when I do get skinny, I am still full of curves. The message that companies like Instagram are sending younger women is that there is something wrong with being curvy, that being curvy automatically makes you nothing more than a target for sexualization.
Meanwhile, Instagram continues to allow posts about thigh gaps, about the new quarter challenge, and other completely hogwash ideas convincing girls that they need to be extraordinarily skinny, with zero curves if they want to be attractive. That it’s okay to tell girls their bodies aren’t good enough unless there’s nothing left on them, but that it’s somehow damaging to tell girls that they’re okay if they don’t have a thigh gap and have some meat on their bones.
Perhaps if Instagram had banned the #skinny hashtag as well under the same grounds, a hashtag which brings up as many as or more nude and inappropriate images, their explanation could be trusted. But #skinny isn’t banned. Searching #skinny brings it up as the most used hashtag with the word, with over 7 million posts. Rather than banning the hashtag, they put a content advisory warning over it.
It would have been simple for Instagram to do the same with the #Curvy hashtag. And if Instagram didn’t have a history of targeting images of larger girls, I would be willing to write it off as an oversight. But their history, combined with this latest move is far more revealing of a bigger issue – people in this world seem terrified of the idea of larger women being viewed as sexual or beautiful.
I keep looking at our world, bewildered that for all the accomplishments we’ve completed, for all the lengths that we’ve gone, the basic capabilities to respect, love and accept other human beings, regardless of size, race, colour or gender, seem to escape us.
Haven’t we done enough of telling women what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of their bodies? What sizes are and aren’t okay? Someone else’s capability to love themselves as they are has no effect on another’s life. Someone else being attracted to someone of a different size has no effect on who another is attracted to.
So let’s stop trying to tell the world, and women, what should and shouldn’t be attractive. Women always have been and always will be around in different shapes and sizes. From skinny, with thigh gaps to large and curvy, we are all beautiful, and we are all allowed to love ourselves.
And quite frankly – we need to make up our minds. If showing big girls looking beautiful in swimsuits and lingerie is inappropriate and overly sexual, than so is showing skinny girls. Either get rid of the double-standard, or admit that there’s nothing wrong with either. But stop trying to hide your bias under false claims of ‘protecting’ people from overtly sexual posts that are still attached to thousands of other words.