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Chelsea Handler Fights Back Against Instagram
By: Jennifer Graber
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Chelsea Handler is a quiet, shy woman. Handler never speaks out and does not make waves. Okay, that could not be further from the truth. What I mean to say is that Handler, a comedian and host, has never been known to be the reserved type. She is more of a no-holds-barred kind of person who puts it all on the line. Handler makes no excuses for who she is and is proud of the person she is. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that she often posts provocative content on her social media pages. The content could be verbal or visual, but either way, it can definitely cause a stir.
And Handler’s latest Instagram content certainly got people talking. The comedian posted a topless photo of herself riding a horse. The image was meant to “mock” an image of Vladimir Putin. In Putin’s photo he was also topless and riding a horse. Handler accompanied her version of the photo with a caption that boasted that anything men can do, women have the right to do better. The photo of Handler remained online for 30 minutes before Instagram took it offline. The photo-sharing site claimed that the photo was in violation of its community guidelines.
Of course, Handler did not let it just slide. She responded to Instagram by reposting the image at least twice more. Each time, the image was again removed by the administrators at Instagram. Handler noted that it was ironic that Putin’s image was allowed to remain posted, yet hers was not. She called the actions sexist and questioned whether this was the new millennium or the 1800s.
Handler then went on to state that she was saying sayonara to Instagram, and that she was taking it all to Twitter. The comedian felt as if Twitter would be a less restrictive environment for herself and others. In fact, Handler’s goodbye speech to Instagram came with the caption that “you can now find my dogs and my breasts on Twitter only, where my followers have the right to choose what they say.”
As one would imagine, the responses have been as controversial as Handler herself. I honestly would not expect any different from this situation. Is this a question of women’s rights and equality? Is it a matter of adjusting how we view and perceive online content (i.e., are we prudes)? What about modesty — does that factor in? Or should we approach it with a “don’t look if you don’t like it” attitude? And what is the difference between something like what Handler posted and the recent celebrity photo leaks? By the way, the answer to that is choice. Handler chose to share a personal photo, whereas the others’ online privacy was seriously violated.
Social media can be a great way to facilitate change — or can it? Is it somehow less impactful? And does the impact depend on the messenger? Whatever the case, maybe you have to admit that Handler’s posts did their job. They opened a discourse, which was likely the intent behind the comedian’s actions.

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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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