Gina Mei
July 27, 2015 2:06 pm

On Friday, Instagram reinstated the popular hashtag #curvy after it came under fire for banning it two weeks ago.

According to Recode, the photo-sharing app banned #curvy because it “was being used to share content that violates [Instagram’s] guidelines around nudity,” but many were quick to point out that much more explicit hashtags — like #pornlife — were still searchable. Rather than accept the #curvy ban quietly, the Internet rallied together in protest that such a body-positive hashtag would be banned, and used alternative hashtags like #curvee and #bringcurvyback to get around it.

The #curvy ban was lifted as a result of the backlash, but it comes with some stipulations. Gabe Madway, a publicity manager at Instagram, told Digiday that the hashtag will now be under careful watch, and limited to photos that the app is “more confident will be ‘clean.'” When you search #curvy now, it says over two million posts are tagged — but so far, only 36 photos show up.

“We want people to be able to express themselves, and hashtags are a great way to do that. At the same time, we have a responsibility to act when we see hashtags being used to spread inappropriate content to our community,” an Instagram spokesperson said in a statement to HelloGiggles. “In the case of #curvy, we don’t like putting restrictions around a term that many people use in very positive ways, so we have decided to unblock the hashtag while taking steps to ensure that it’s not used as a vehicle for bad content.”

While we understand Instagram’s desire to keep the app enjoyable for all, some major double-standards seemed to be coming into play for the #curvy ban. The app already has a history of blocking the accounts of plus-size women who post pictures of themselves in their swimsuits or underwear — and it’s worth questioning why this continues to be the case. While some people might have posted photos that violated Instagram’s nudity policy and tagged them #curvy, that’s inevitable for most hashtags. Why only ban this one?

Let’s be clear: “Curvy” is just another adjective, like “thin” or “fat” (both of which are searchable hashtags on Instagram) — and there’s nothing negative about it. All bodies are beautiful, whether curvy or not. There should be room on Instagram (and everywhere else) for us to celebrate all body types. By only banning #curvy, Instagram implied that certain body types are more acceptable than others, and that’s where things get tricky.

From what we’ve seen, #curvy has always been used in an empowering, positive way. As our very own Kit Steinkellner wrote last week, “To take away a word that is so important to so many women who have done nothing but follow the rules you set forth is to make these women feel unvalued on Instagram, and there’s no filter you can use that will make that look OK.” Fortunately, Instagram recognized just how important this hashtag (and word!) is for so many women — and we’re glad they’ve brought it back.

(Image via Instagram.)

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