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Instagram apologizes for censoring woman’s picture of menstrual blood

Instagram apologizes for censoring woman’s picture of menstrual blood

rupi kaur


As you may have learned from the ongoing #FreeTheNipple campaign, Instagram has certain standards when it comes to what it considers too obscene or offensive to post on the photo sharing app. The terms of service explicitly spell out that content considered “violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive” is strictly verboten. However, as 22-year-old student Rupi Kauer found out, the app apparently takes some liberties when discerning what content is considered too explicit or offensive for the site.

Kaur posted an image of a model with a small spot of menstrual bloodstaining the back of her sweatpants. It was one photo in a part of a series for a final project in her visual rhetoric class. The series, entitled “period.” is accompanied by an explanation that states, “…some are more comfortable with the pornification of women. the sexualization of women. the violence and degradation of women than this.”



According to Kaur, she didn’t post the photo to shock or provoke, but because she was proud of it as an artistic work. According to Motherboard, Instagram took down the photo within 24 hours. Kaur reposted it, and it was removed again. The removal is certainly puzzling since there is no nudity to speak of and certainly nothing hateful, violent or discriminatory about a monthly menstrual cycle.

“I guess coming from my educational background (I’m a rhetoric major) I look at this picture and I just think it’s absolutely beautiful,” Kaur told Motherboard staff writer Kaleigh Rogers. “I admire the body. I admire the colors and the grain and her hair. So, I knew that it would get backlash but I never thought that it would be to this extent.”

After the second time Instagram removed the picture, Kaur took the shot to Facebook and rallied support for her art, and racked up over 6,000 shares in the process.

“It’s sad in this world. That this is still happening. I know that some communities and cultures go out of their way to shun and oppress a woman on her period. I guess Instagram is another one of them,” Kaur wrote on Facebook. “Their patriarchy is leaking. Their misogyny is leaking. We will not be censored.”

In the wake of the overwhelming internet support, the image reappeared on Instagram on Thursday. A spokesperson for the photo sharing site apologized for the photo’s omission and claimed that the removal of the post was just an oversight after another user reported it, but that excuse sounds a little too convenient. It sounds more like the app just quietly buckled under pressure.

However, Kaur is satisfied with her victory in the face of censorship and blatant body-shaming.

“Really, I feel like I’ve won,” she said. “I never thought it was such a big deal,” she said. “It’s just a red spot.”
Instagram apologizes for censoring woman’s picture of menstrual blood Reviewed by John walker on 5:44 PM Rating: 5
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