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Instagram Bans #Curvy
By: Jennifer Graber
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There used to be no shortages of stories about body shaming. People were being pitted against one another simply for being different, but the truth is that every person is beautiful in their own way. We each have qualities that make our souls shine just a bit brighter. It is this truth that has caused people to begin to stand up for one another, to stand up for themselves. It has become more common for people to show off this pride in a variety of ways. One such way is, of course, social media.

For example, social media can be the place to find the latest plus-size fashions and body positivity. Normally, these lovely ladies would be able to share with just about any hashtag they could come up with. #Curvy is probably the first you would think of, and the most appropriate. It is the perfect hashtag to show off a not-so-average body, or cute plus-size dress or swimsuit. But if you like it then you shoulda put a hashtag on it—at least on Instagram.

Instagram has banned users from posting with the hashtag #curvy. Instagram said that the voluptuous hashtag was being used to violate its usage agreement. The social site said that #curvy was used far too often with regards to nudity and other NSFW content. The logic is sound. If something violates the agreement terms, it only makes sense to regulate it as necessary. Personally, I feel that the word curvy is more easily equated with beauty and sassiness, not gratuitous nudity.

But, wait. Shape Magazine has pointed out that the removal of the #curvy hashtag is full of hypocrisy. Instagram says it removed #curvy due to violations. What if that is the only term some are comfortable using? However, other sketchy hashtags are still available for Instagram users to search. Um, what? Let me get this straight. We cannot use the hashtag #curvy, but we can, however, use other hashtags that are downright questionable? The hashtags #skinny, #thin, and others still remain. Yeah, that sounds reasonable.

So what is the deal? Is this a genuine attempt at policing content for a certain level of appropriateness? Or is it a case of body shaming? This isn’t the first time Instagram has found itself in hot water over its policies regarding posting of women’s bodies and issues. Let’s see — there was the time the social site banned, and then allowed, users to post breastfeeding and post-mastectomy photos. Instagram has also banned users from posting menstruation photos and, allegedly, stretch marks.

Obviously, Instagram cannot get rid of every terrible hashtag on the planet —not exactly feasible. And I certainly don’t envy the company and its gargantuan task of regulating user terms. However, the social media giant should seriously consider giving fair consideration to a wider range of hashtags. There are far worse images on Instagram than a full-figured woman.
The public has responded with as much sass as one would expect. Protests have popped up all over, especially in the form of new hashtags. #Curvee, #FreeCurvy, #StillCurvy, and #EffYourBeautyStandards have shown up as an outcry to the ban — pause for clapping and some loud oh snaps.

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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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