Scroll through your Instagram feed right now. How many girls in bikinis do you see? Probably a dozen, right? It’s summer. That’s what girls do: strap on bikinis, head to the pool and post copious selfies with friends. There is nothing salacious or inappropriate about it.
Unless you’re plus-size. In that case, your bikini content is unsuitable for the Internet–at least that’s what Instagram made Singaporean-Indian plus-size blogger Aarti Olivia Dubey believe. The Curves Become Her founder shared a photo on Instagram of herself and three friends in bikinis; they were modeling for Singapore’s Cleo Magazine to accompany Dubey’s upcoming article. However, Dubey was shocked when Instagram removed the photo–which we included below–for “violating community guidelines.”
@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
“Fatphobic trolls were displeased and they reported a behind-the-scenes happy image of me and my two girlfriends who I roped in for a photoshoot to accompany the article. The post was removed with no proper explanation a few hours later and I was exasperated,” Dubey said to BuzzFeed News.
But don’t think Dubey took this f–ckery sitting down. She posted a string of messages slamming Instagram for taking down the photo and ultimately augmenting the body-shaming plus-size people experience when they dare don a bathing suit. “…there are accounts and images that have nudity, disturbing imagery, racism, sexism, hate and THIS is what gets deleted?” Dubey wrote in one post.
“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?” she wrote in another.
Dubey’s awe-inspiring protesting worked. Two weeks later, Instagram republished her photo. However, it was a little too late in Dubey’s eyes (and ours, too).
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
“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,” Dubey wrote in response to Instagram’s email. “Fat, brown, lgbt, disabled and many other intersections deserve RESPECT and not to be trolled by anonymous private accounts with no life.”
Damn straight. Let it be known that you cannot judge someone’s health based on what he/she looks like nor is it your business to comment on a stranger’s body. Everyone has the right to wear a swimsuit and go to the beach regardless of their waistline. Everyone has the right to live.
Thank you, Dubey, for reminding everyone that. You definitely got the last word.