Update: This was written before the outcry was so bad that Instagram reinstated #Curvy. but I do think that there are some points worthy of keeping the post here

Here recently Instagram did something shocking. As we know Instagram has had an ongoing fight and battle to keep its service clean. They don’t want pornographic images showing up on a 16 year-olds Instagram feed and they also see that many young girls that are doing all they can to gather as much attention as they can could be tempted to try to display body part in exchange for likes and followers. So I cannot fault Instagram for trying as hard as they do. I get that and I applaud the fact that they are toeing that line everyday even though Celebrities that are often role models for young girls like Chelsey Handler, Chrissy Teigen, and Rhianna all like try to skirt the rules for their definition of art.

Therefore, from time to time you may see the hashtag #FreeTheNipple and it is people not liking that there are rules, and trying to say their free speech is being violated, because they are not able to do whatever they choose. But in fact they are showing what free speech is really about. Yes you can throw up whatever picture you want to and that is your right to free speech, but the other side of the equation that is important, is that Free speech is a balance. The balance in this case is the consequence for posting a picture that violates Instagram’s rules is either 1) the picture is taken down, or 2) Your account could be closed.  Now Instagram has said this to an inquiry from Huffington Post

Instagram’s community guidelines do not allow nudity and other mature content. We do this because some audiences within our global community are particularly sensitive to this type of content. When we receive reports of posts that violate our policies, we reach out to the person with a warning and the content is removed. It is important to understand that the posts we act upon are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other people who complain about their presence on the platform.

So they are trying to be sensitive to other cultures. Understood, and good for them.

The free speech applies to real life also. I could run up to a person of African American decent and Say the dreaded “N” word and that is my right to free speech. The balance to that is, The Gentle man in question has a slew of choices he can take to respond to my rudeness. He could ignore me, or he could call me a name right back, or He to pummel me into a greasy blob on the ground. Truthfully If I was to do that I would have to say I might just deserve it. That is the balance of free speech.

Now this isn’t a post centered what you should or shouldn’t post on Instagram. In fact it is about free speech and how Instagram in a heavy handed way is taken some of our freedom of speech away from us. How? Instagram is banning certain hashtagged words. The latest is actually a good tag. We need to be sharing and cheering people on. This latest horrible word that is apparently so offensive that Instagram believes you should not be using it at all, #Curvy. Yep Now this really isn’t boding well for Instagram since they also considered an woman of larger frame posted picture of herself in her underwear. At first look that is unfair because they allow model to be in their underwear and bikinis all the time. How many times has Chrissy Teigen posted a picture of herself in some state of undress?  So on first glance it looks like Instagram might have a bias towards overweight people.

Words, in my experience, are powerful. They can build a person up, or tear a person down. Especially kids, and even more so todays teenage girls. Yeah Guys have their own set of problems but girls are relentlessly pelted with the wrong body image ideas but up often by men who want 14 year old girls to wear dresses that would be illegal to have on in public, because it would violate a half dozen indecency laws. So the wrong people tell our kids how they should look. Then our teenage girls take that information as fact, because at that age parents have morphed in to moronic inbicels for the next 10 years. So you have kids striving for things like Thigh gaps and hip bridges. These and anything else the “Fashion” industry thinks of should have a 21 or over label slapped to it in my opinion. Yet, that is a freedom of expression on the fashion industry, not for a teenage girl that has an inordinate amount of insecurities. These girls do not need that added pressure.

Instagram is adding to that pressure. There are those girls out there, which see their bodies as being normal. They have something called curves. Women are suppose to have curves. I find it almost gross that people that make clothes women want show their creations off on shapeless girls. Girls, that at times, look very boyish. Maybe that is why the fashion industry pushes for girls to look like 12 year old boys? Why cant the fashion thought leaders celebrate women? Celebrate the true shape of women that classic hourglass figure.

Instagram is not helping with that body image and maybe Instagram is feeling some pressure from the Fashion industry. Instagram is in a unique position to help build a positive body image. Take the Tolling fat shamers and shove real life in their face take the glories of being a shapely woman and hold it up into the light for all to see. Instagram you could push back. Maybe we can see the end of less than Size 0. Bring the size back to Marilyn Monroe sizes. Interesting that this woman would have been viewed as obese in today’s society. I am just speculating as of right now and voicing my thoughts whether they are right on the money or not, doesn’t matter this has apparently hit a nerve and has quickly degraded into an opinion piece. So lets get back on track.

Why the ban on words?

According to Instagram the offending hashtag #Curvy was used by people to post porn. Which, ok that will keep people from posting porn on that hashtag so eventually they will have to ban #Permagrin or maybe #Happy because eventually these hashtags could also be used by people posting porn. So, that is an odd hill that Instagram has chosen to die on. Apparently there are several hashtags that Instagram has decided to not allow. The efforts to make it

What other words are banned?

Oh yes there are a lots of hashtags that are blocked by Instagram.

  • #EggPlantFriday – I don’t get it and neither does Instagram because they just blocked it and didn’t bother to comment as to why.
  • #iPhone – Way too much spam linked to this tag
  • #Underware – Yeah I understand this one it can again lead young girls to try to show too much
  • #Lingerie –
  • #Bubblebutt
  • #Photography
  • #Sexy
  • #instagram
  • #Breasts – I fully understand why they blocked this one though I like a good boob as much as
  • #Loseweight – Another that I can understand for the spam but also girls with eating disorders would use this tag also.
  • #Weed – illicit drug use is not conducive to family friendly
  • #Marijuana – see previous
  • #Popular – Blocked for self image reasons
  • #Naked – Well this should be completely self explanitory
  • #Nekkid – Yeah
  • #boobs They don’t want nudity on their network but they seem to forgot #Boobz

And there are many more Hashtags that are unstandably banned because of the harm that they can cuase but what I am getting at on this whole convoluted winding oration is that though banning a #hashtag may have a good intention but the raod to hell is paved with those same good intentions.

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Bryan Goodwin

Social Media Manager at Goodwin Social Media
Bryan has been in the social media field in one form or another. whether it is blogging, podcasting, or trying out the latest social network . There is a good chance that you will find him talking somewhere.
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Instagram and The #Curvy Kerfuffle – (Opinion)
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