It’s common knowledge that Instagram’s nudity policy has caused more than a handful of well-documented rows. Rihanna did quit Instagram for months after her nude photos got taken down, and she has only recently kissed and made up with them. (For now.) Then there is the whole #FreeTheNipple double standards thing that is still a major issue. Another controversy happened in December when Australian fashion agency and blog, Sticks And Stones uploaded a photo of two women with their pubic hair clearly visible in swimsuits. One model also has part of her nipple exposed. Shortly after they uploaded the photo, their account was deleted.
Sticks and Stones couldn’t say for sure what was the cause for their account being deleted, but given Instagram’s history it was attributed to this photo. Cosmopolitan UK also reported that a few other users had similar experiences with visible pubic hair photos being deleted. This included the creative director of LiveFAST Magazine who posted a photo that had just a bit of pubic hair but no nudity.
Needless to say, the incident upset numerous people. Slowly people are coming around to the concept that hey, body hair is normal, and we might actually want to embrace it, and this did nothing to help the cause.
After criticism over the incident, the Huffington Post reported that Instagram admitted they “made a mistake” and have since since reactivated Sticks And Stones account. In a statement, they said that they “don’t always get it right” when it comes to nudity guidelines.
It’s great that Sticks And Stones account was reactivated but the incident does highlight the double standards of women showing their pubic hair versus men. Jessica Lewis, a model in the photo, pointed out to Mic how Justin Bieber‘s possibly-photoshopped Calvin Klien ads showed pubic hair, yet they were not removed. And then there was that NSFW James Franco selfie. James may have deleted it, but Instagram didn’t flag it first.
Hopefully this case has taught Instagram a lesson and that the #FreeTheNipple and #FreeTheBush campaigns are finally getting through.