Photo: Via @SNICOLEN58.
From its humble beginnings as a photo-sharing platform, Instagram has evolved into a full-blown, body-acceptance battleground. Last week, we covered a New Jersey teen’s Instagram response to graffiti that not-so-tastefully referenced her butt, and her DGAF sendup inspired thousands. We’ve been tracking the #FreeTheNipple campaign to de-stigmatize breasts — a movement popularized when Scout Willis (legally) roamed the streets of New York topless to protest Instagram’s deletion of her account (the site's powers-that-be deemed Willis' account to be in violation of community guidelines after she posted photos that exposed the dreaded female areola). Rihanna, meanwhile, has been banished to Twitter; Instagram ousted her for sharing her own nipple-explicit pics.
Now, Ohio 19-year-old and college student Samm Newman has joined the growing ranks of those who have been kicked off Instagram for “inappropriate” content. Unlike her celeb counterparts, however, Newman wasn't flashing nip in the photos she shared. Rather, in her bra and panties, the teen was as clothed as the thousands of underwear- or bikini-clad selfie-takers who post to the site with no consequences. But, hours after Newman posted the photos, she discovered that Instagram had deleted her account.
Newman believes size discrimination is to blame; she's a size 24 and has used Instagram to engage in body-pride communities using the hashtag #bodylove. Instagram's account-deletion process is based on the flags it receives from users marking content as "inappropriate." After the fact, Instagram acknowledged that its removal of Newman's account was wildly inconsistent with its preservation of thousands of photos of scantily clad — but thinner — women. It reinstated Newman's account, stating to NBC4: "When our team processes reports from other members of the Instagram community, we occasionally make a mistake. In this case, we wrongly removed content and worked to rectify the error as soon as we were notified. We apologize for any inconvenience."
While the deletion may have been a "mistake," it speaks to a wider problem: people seeing larger bodies as "offensive" or "obscene." Here's hoping Newman's pride and confidence can continue to spread on social media, censor-free.