1. Last week, singer-songwriter and body positive blogger Meghan Tonjes found out that one of her Instagram photos had been removed because it violated the company’s “mature content” clause.
This was the offending photo. It looks like a million other butt selfies on Instagram, right?
2. But Meghan’s pretty sure her photo was removed for another reason:
She said she believes that someone flagged the photo via Instagram’s flagging process because they were uncomfortable with the size of Meghan’s butt. And because a comprehensive complaint review process has yet to be fully implemented, Meghan’s photo was taken down without any real review of whether it violated guidelines.
3. Instagram eventually restored the photo and sent Meghan an apology.
4. But Meghan feels that her experience with Instagram is a wakeup call about the ways that we’re still not honest about how we view different bodies.
“For me, it’s more important that whoever flagged the photo realize discomfort in viewing something doesn’t make it wrong,” she told The Gloss. “It’s OK to not like things. It’s not OK to unfairly make that decision for everyone else.”
5. In response to her experience with Instagram, Meghan released the below video, in which she succinctly breaks down the social politics behind the photo’s removal.
“I want you to think of how many big girls you see,” she said, “wearing bathing suits, lingerie, shorts, dresses, tight- fitting clothing, who aren’t openly mocked … And now you have the answer as to why a lot of who look like me — and by a lot, I mean not very many — post pictures of themselves showing their thighs or their stomach or parts that other women and other people show proudly and are never questioned on because that’s what we’re used to seeing and we’re comfortable with that.”
6. The video went viral, initiating an online conversation about body image and aesthetics.
“Now that it’s out there,” she told BuzzFeed, “it’s important for this to be visible. We don’t ever think about what makes us uncomfortable — if there is a 350-pound woman in a bikini versus a 100-pound woman in a bikini, if that were my mom my sister or my daughter, how would I think about her or how would I want people to talk about her? And I just think we should pay more attention to how we treat each other based on our weight. It’s such an important conversation to have about why some bodies are more worthy of being seen than others.”
7. It’s worth noting that while one woman had to fight to even get her butt selfie photo to appear on Instagram, another woman’s made an entire career out of her Instagram backside photos.
Here’s butt selfie queen Jen Selter in Vanity Fair.
9. Meghan, who is a fan of Selter, says she’s excited about the conversation she’s helped launched. And she’ll continue to post butt selfies because she’s proud of her body.
“I don’t put up photos for people who hate fat people,” she told BuzzFeed. “I do it for people who want to see someone who looks like them. I do it for the high school girl who hates the way she looks so she can be confident. It’s a little ripple effect and that can be a huge thing in someone’s life. It’s part of our healing. I’m not talking to people who hate fat people, I’m talking to their daughters who have been told they’re not good enough until they’re thin.”