Marie Lodi
June 09, 2016 9:18 am
Instagram / Aarti Olivia Dubey

Instagram has been known to unfairly delete photos posted by users who had not violated their community guidelines, with many of these incidents happening to people in the plus-size community. Most recently, Aarti Olivia Dubey, a plus-size blogger and activist, noticed that an image she posted of herself and her two friends wearing bikinis had been removed. The image was from a photoshoot for Singapore-based magazine, CLEO, and had been included in an article about bathing suits and body positivity.

According to Cosmopolitan, Dubey wrote about the incident on her blog, Curves Become Her, saying that the morning after she posted the photo, she realized it had disappeared. “When I took a gander at my images, my heart sunk when it realised it was the happy image of us three girls in the post I mentioned above that was removed,” she wrote. “I had a proper read of the community guidelines and the answer is No – neither the image nor the caption violated any of their guidelines. This was not some pornographic image, it was not filled with gore or violence, it did not do Anything save for be an image of 3 smiling fat chicks in swimwear that we can hardly term as ‘lewd’?”

Dubey decided to turn to the plus-size community, with some of them sharing their own experiences of having photos removed that were “simply images of fat people being fashionable or speaking up about body image.” Dubey decided to repost the image with an open letter to 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?” she wrote. “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.”

After the post, Dubey began to receive both widespread support through different social media channels, as well as harassment and hateful messages from trolls. “Some told us we were an embarrassment, others called us whores. Men sent us private messages of themselves in various states of undress asking us to reciprocate with nude images, they stalked our images and persistently sent us harassing messages telling us they’d like for us to star in porn movies, or that we should enlist them as Sugar Daddies,” she wrote. “Women told us to stop glorifying obesity and being the poster child for what’s wrong with the world, and they told us to cover up and have some shame.”

Almost two weeks later, Dubey finally received a “silly excuse of an apology” from Instagram.

Dubey was having none of it. “I call bullshit,” she wrote. “You cannot make so many ‘mistakes’ for so many plus size folks online — I see through that pathetic apology.” Even though the entire experience was stressful and exhausting and resulted in Dubey not leaving her house for weeks, she ended up doing a whole new photoshoot with the bikini for her blog. How awesome is that?

She posted fun photos of herself in the bikini, which is from fellow plus-size blogger and activist Gabi Fresh’s recent swimwear collection, but not without calling out her haters. “So this is the kind of body that generates animosity,” she wrote. “A body with cellulite, thick thighs, a large derriere and not-so-perfectly stacked breasts; because even when one appreciates a fuller figured woman she ‘should’ be rid of blemishes, physical imperfections and must adhere to what the male gaze considers attractive. A plus sized woman ‘should not’ show her cellulite or love handles, she should not display her flabby flappy arms, she should not show her double chin and if she is to be shown appreciation, the least she could be is pretty. Sorry not Sorry for the disappointment people.”

We are happy to see that this Instagram drama hasn’t stopped Dubey from being a positive role model to women all over, regardless of size.