Proud2Bme | #Curvy and The Instagram Debacle

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#Curvy and The Instagram Debacle

By Sarah Haviland--By now, most people have heard about Instagram’s controversial removal of #curvy from its search features.

According to Bustle, Instagram’s rationale was that it was being employed in relation to sexual material. However, both Buzzfeed and Bustle noted that hashtags such as #pornos and #clitoris were permissible.

To combat Instagram’s efforts, Instagrammers started posting #curvee instead. The fact that #fat, #thin, and #skinny were still viable hashtags to look up made some people dubious as to Instagram’s motives. Thus, they decided to fight against what they perceived as systemic injustice.   

I am not insinuating that Instagram is the devil. The Bustle article revealed that the algorithm that Instagram uses to expunge illicit material from its site is imperfect. However, just because Instagram might not have complete control over what it censors does not mean that Instagram should not rethink its rules that may endorse discrimination. The Bustle article refers to stories of different women who cite a double standard at work and believe that their pictures may not have been removed if they were not plus-size.

Instagram is an outlet for people to express themselves. When people post pictures of themselves on Instagram, they want to be able to post whatever pleases them. They want to feel beautiful, regardless of their size or any other factor. Again, Instagram’s removal of #curvy may have been intended to help and not harm others. Nonetheless, it curtails a person’s ability to feel good about herself if that is how she wants to view herself.

In the Bustle article, one plus-sized girl who had a picture of herself in a bra taken off of Instagram mentioned how when thinner women post pictures of themselves in bikinis or lingerie, nothing happens. Another girl who put up a bikini picture on Instagram initially had her account removed. Specific beauty standards have been inculcated into our heads since birth, as the article mentions. Thinness is revered, while “fatness” is condemned. Instagram’s removal of #curvy may be irrevelant, but it helps bring up essential dialogue about the nature of discrimination.

The words written above discuss “curvy” in a positive fashion. However, “curvy” can also have a negative connotation. An xoJane article discusses the more silent implications of the word “curvy.” The writer claims that “curvy” is still synonymous with an hourglass figure, or big breasts and a small waist. She goes so far as to designate “curvy” a “euphemism” for the word “fat.” She implies that there is almost a limit as to what society can accept size-wise. Society does not want to gravitate towards the extreme of “fat,” just the intermediate position,“curvy.”

Recently, Instagram responded to these criticisms by restoring the hashtag. Though the hashtag has been unblocked, Instagram’s actions to selectively exclude curvy bodies sends a very clear message, a message I’d like to dispute. At the end of the day, we are all people. We may have different hair colors, weights, senses of fashion, or any other variables.Yet, there is an intrinsic sameness among us. We should not reject our own kind. The word “curvy” may have a different meaning to each person; that is one’s own prerogative. However, we have to be vigilant to not let anybody feel that they are not who they should be, whether it be intentional or not.

About this blogger: Sarah Haviland will be a freshman at Haverford College in the fall. She intends to major in Biology and minor in Comparative Literature. She loves riding her horse, Ultina. She has also interned in a science lab in the past, which she hopes to continue in the future.

Also by Sarah:

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