We’ve been on board with her body positive attitude for a long time, and it’s been awesome watching Meghan Tonjes become the talk of the internet in the last week. It all started when Instagram removed a photo of Meghan’s fully covered butt on the basis that it violated their rules against ‘mature content’ (despite the fact that pictures of thinner butts are a dime a dozen on the app). When Instagram didn’t respond well to Meghan’s attempts to appeal their decision, she made a video explaining why it’s unacceptable to act like her body is offensive just because it exists outside the realm of what we’re used to seeing on billboards. Her video went viral (as it should have), and we were lucky enough to get the chance to chat with Meghan– and her butt– about the attention they’ve been receiving online.
What inspired you to make this video?
I’ve made videos for years about every aspect of my life, good and bad, and the video really was just to tell a story and start a discussion with my subscribers. I didn’t think an eight-minute video would go viral. I mean, it’s me sitting down and talking rationally to a camera– not exactly the thing viral videos are made of. With that photo, I was also just so sure I was within the community guidelines. I wasn’t really looking to take on Instagram. I was more trying to express my frustration.
How does your butt feel about getting published on major news sites?
It’s a proud moment for my butt. Though I’m not gonna lie, it’s a little weird to see a photo of it all over the internet and news.
What do you have to say to the people who are acting like Instagram’s choice to remove the photo had nothing to do with body politics?
I think we can’t ignore that we do live in a society that values certain bodies as more important and worthy of being viewed than others. That’s just fact. Open a magazine. Watch TV. We praise certain bodies and shame others, usually under the guise of caring about health, but wrapped up in our own insecurities and fears. I don’t personally feel attacked or victimized by Instagram. I think they are trusting a community to govern itself and anyone who is on the internet knows trolls left unattended will troll. For me, it’s more important that whoever flagged the photo realize discomfort in viewing something doesn’t make it wrong. It’s okay to not like things. It’s not okay to unfairly make that decision for everyone else.
You’re starting a new YouTube channel, LifesizeBeauty, to focus on beauty, fashion, and body positivity. Do you have any advice for women who want to join the beauty blogging community who aren’t skinny young white chicks?
I’m jumping in head first, so I’m at the beginning of figuring that out! I think people are scared to stand out and look different than everyone else. But we forget that, online, the underdog can be the cool kid. I’ve always had a fascination with the beauty side of YouTube, but I had a lot of self doubt when it came to exploring it. Luckily, if I’m scared of doing something it usually means I have to do it. Hopefully I can bring my voice to that community and have fun!
Photos via @meghantonjes