Take a good look at us three. Do you know what we have in common? The belief that Any Body deserves to look good in what they wear. Be it a swimsuit, a pair of jeans, a dress, lingerie, a crop top. We have seen and heard the shaming directed towards us. We have also seen plus size role models in the West – be it bloggers, models, magazines or advocates – teach us that the world will judge you no matter what and that does not mean you go into hiding. While shooting for this, I realised how I hadn’t been around other plus size friends in swimwear and This made me reflect on how important it is to stay visible despite the hate that might come your way. Because while ppl might shame you, there will be people who look upon you with respect for Who You Are. Follow more body positive people online. Screen who follows you and who you choose to be inspired by or you can relate to. Surround yourself with that and you will see that: 1) you’re definitely not alone in this and 2) you are not supposed to be at war with yourself all the time. And if few celebrate your personal triumphs, it is okay to feel sad but remember that That is not something you have control of. Take charge of what you Can control – your sense of self, your self respect and willingness to view the world with different perspectives. #plussize #southasian #igsg #fatshion #nobodyshame #losehatenotweight #fuckfatphobia #pizzasisters4lyfe #celebratemysize #bodypositive
With its #RunwayForAll campaign, Instagram made the statement that it’s all about inclusivity and diversity in the fashion world — which makes the following story all the more perplexing.
A few weeks ago, Aarti Olivia Dubey, a plus-size blogger and the founder of Curves Become Her, posted a picture of herself and two other curvy women showing off their bikinis. The snap was a behind-the-scenes look at the photo spread that would accompany Dubey’s article for Cleo Magazine, a Singapore-based publication. With said feature, Dubey would become the first plus-size woman to have her work appear in a Singaporean fashion glossy.
Dubey’s caption oozed with pride: “Do you know what we have in common?” she wrote. “The belief that any body deserves to look good in what they wear.” Despite the fact that it contained no lewd content, Instagram removed the photo a few hours later, having been flagged as inappropriate by multiple 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
An irate Dubey reposted the photo, calling out Instagram and any fat shamers in a new caption, which read, “HOW is this image being hateful, hurtful, abusive, trolling or obscene? Do three fat girls in swimsuits equate to gore, porn, racism, sexism? Or is it that people only want to see slim girls in swimsuits?” She went on to further describe her disappointment and threaten to take legal action if the social media channel deleted her picture again.
Hearing no response, Dubey continued to protest Instagram’s appalling lack of oversight. She demanded an apology and reinstatement of the post. She pointed out the sorts of users who should be banned from the channel. Finally, after two weeks, Instagram restored the photo and apologized for having “accidentally removed” it.
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
An incredulous Dubey uploaded a screenshot of Instagram’s belated apology email, writing, “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,” underneath the post.
Instagram comprises, as Dubey put it, a vast ocean of users and its post removal system clearly does not always function as intended. The company needs to allocate more of its considerable resources toward developing better troll patrol mechanisms, although the faux follower purge of last year does suggest that the company is — to some extent — aware of these issues.
“#RunwayforAll is not so much about what we look like anymore but more about what we represent,” says Clémentine Desseaux (@bonjourclem), who grew up in France. “I was always way bigger and taller than everyone when I was growing up, and I had those freckles,” she says. “When I saw the first plus models out there, I started thinking about trying it out. At that point I had no idea it would take me to where I am now.” Three years ago, Clementine moved to New York with $2,000 to her name and never looked back. “My size and look were in the way of me feeling invincible when I was young,” she says. “I hope I was the last generation of women to think like that. Role model is the new top model.” Every day this week, we’ll be sharing the story of a model who is redefining industry standards and making sure there’s room on the #RunwayForAll. Photo of @bonjourclem by @emmaandhercamera
Personally, we’d have liked to see a more prompt and sincere apology. However, given Instagram’s progressive initiatives we’d hesitate to label it “fatphobic” — it’s #RunwayForAll campaign highlighted the story of plus-size model Clementine Desseaux, after all. Additionally, the social channel’s most recent movement, #PridePortraits, which will run throughout June, will shine the spotlight on “what makes the LGBTQ community on Instagram proud.” (Although true cynics could label both efforts PR stunts.)
That being said, Dubey’s underlying point is spot on. The pernicious effects of online bullying should not be diminished and we applaud her vocal defense of not only plus-size women, but all marginalized communities. We must learn to silence the prejudiced voices in our ears, because, as Dubey affirms, “Life is far too short to be worrying about what people might say.”
[ via Mic ]