Is it artistic expression or something else?
The picture above was deleted from Instagram for “violating” the social media’s community guidelines. The photo does not contain any nudity, violence or offense wording. So why was it deleted? Well poet, Rupi Kaur believes she may have an answer.
The poet reposted the picture with the following message after the picture was deleted.
“thank you @instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. you deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. the girl is fully clothed. the photo is mine. it is not attacking a certain group. nor is it spam. and because it does not break those guidelines i will repost it again. i will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified. pornified. and treated less than human. thank you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀
This image is a part of my photoseries project for my visual rhetoric course. you can view the full series at rupikaur.com
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i bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. my womb is home to the divine. a source of life for our species. whether i choose to create or not. but very few times it is seen that way. in older civilizations this blood was considered holy. in some it still is. but a majority of people. societies. and communities shun this natural process. some are more comfortable with the pornification of women. the sexualization of women. the violence and degradation of women than this. they cannot be bothered to express their disgust about all that. but will be angered and bothered by this. we menstruate and they see it as dirty. attention seeking. sick. a burden. as if this process is less natural than breathing. as if it is not a bridge between this universe and the last. as if this process is not love. labour. life. selfless and strikingly beautiful.
Of course in true Instagram fashion, the network took the post down AGAIN.
The poet then wrote on Tumblr :
“Dear tumblr family,
Instagram has chosen to once again, take down this image for violating community guidelines. Despite the fact that about 95% of comments were beautiful. And in support.
This just goes to show who is sitting behind the desk. And who’s controlling the show, who’s controlling the media and who’s censoring us.It’s sad that this is still happening in this world. I know that some communities and cultures go out of their way to shun and oppress a woman on her period. I guess Instagram is another one of them. Some women aren’t allowed in their religious place of worship or out of their homes to do certain things. And are told they are sick. As if the period is a common cold.
Yes. This is what happens even here, in North America.
I have been hospitalized many times because of issues associated with my period. I have been suffering from a sickness related to my period. And ever since I have been working so hard to love it. Embrace it. Celebrate it. Even thought it’s given me so much pain in the past few years. and they want to tell me I should be quiet about this. That all of this we experience collectively does not need to be seen. Just felt secretly behind closed doors. That’s why this is important. Because when I first got my period my mother was sad and worried. And they want to censor all that pain. Experience. Learning. No.
I am going to share the photo again once I figure out how to go about it. I would appreciate if you could @instagram and express your thoughts. Or even share the photo on whatever social media platform.
Their patriarchy is leaking. Their misogyny is leaking. We will not be censored.”
As of today, after reposting again, the photo is still up on Instagram.
What do you guys think? Was Instagram wrong for this? Is this just art? Or is Rupi correct?