STYLE

Plus-Size Blogger Schools Instagram For Removing Her Bikini Photo

International hero Aarti Olivia Dubey had some choice words for the photo-sharing site.

09/06/2016 11:07 PM AEST | Updated 09/06/2016 11:07 PM AEST
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Instagram has come under fire again for removing an image of a woman's body that clearly falls within the parameters of its community guidelines.

Aarti Olivia Dubey, a Singaporean-Indian plus-size fashion blogger who shares photos of outfits, makeup, quotes and more with her 16,000 Instagram followers, called out the app after realizing a photo she posted with two friends -- all of them wearing two-piece bathing suits for a magazine photoshoot -- had been removed because it "violated community guidelines."

Take a good look at us three. Do you know what we have in common? The belief that Any Body deserves to look good in what they wear. Be it a swimsuit, a pair of jeans, a dress, lingerie, a crop top. We have seen and heard the shaming directed towards us. We have also seen plus size role models in the West - be it bloggers, models, magazines or advocates - teach us that the world will judge you no matter what and that does not mean you go into hiding. While shooting for this, I realised how I hadn't been around other plus size friends in swimwear and This made me reflect on how important it is to stay visible despite the hate that might come your way. Because while ppl might shame you, there will be people who look upon you with respect for Who You Are. Follow more body positive people online. Screen who follows you and who you choose to be inspired by or you can relate to. Surround yourself with that and you will see that: 1) you're definitely not alone in this and 2) you are not supposed to be at war with yourself all the time. And if few celebrate your personal triumphs, it is okay to feel sad but remember that That is not something you have control of. Take charge of what you Can control - your sense of self, your self respect and willingness to view the world with different perspectives. #plussize #southasian #igsg #fatshion #nobodyshame #losehatenotweight #fuckfatphobia #pizzasisters4lyfe #celebratemysize #bodypositive

A photo posted by Aarti Olivia Dubey (@curvesbecomeher) on

After nearly two weeks of responding via a series of photos and calling on her followers to re-post the photo in question, Dubey said Instagram restored the image. A Community Operations employee e-mailed her an apology, citing the photo's removal as "a mistake" that happened "accidentally."

But for Dubey, the apology came "a little too late after I had to deal with all the bloody trolls and haters last week."

"I accept your apology Instagram but it does not change a thing. You have placed the image back but at what cost? ... You are answerable to ALL of my plus size friends for removing their images or accounts on Instagram or Facebook," she wrote in response. "Check your latent fatphobia. Check your guidelines and policies. Take better care of the people who use your services as a means of staying connected to oceans of people who just want to exist as people."

Instagram, which did not respond to an inquiry from The Huffington Post, has apologized for removing appropriate content before. In 2014, it removed an image of a blogger's covered backside ("[I was] completely covered, but fat. Therefore — pornographic," she said) and has even banned the hashtag #curvy. Facebook, which owns Instagram, was slammed just last month for banning an ad featuring a plus-size model in a bikini, claiming "the image depicts a body or body parts in an undesirable manner."

Dubey, who proudly signed her note, "Sincerely, a fat brown woman," told The Huffington Post her intention on Instagram is simply to promote acceptance. 

"I'd like people to realize that fat shaming is harmful and all I want to do as a body positive advocate is to encourage acts of self love, self respect and embracing yourself at whatever size you are," she said.

This is my fav shot the hubster took. It's not on the blog because it looked out of place but I love it. This shoot was not easy. Wearing this two piece and hearing the derogatory comments in my head made it harder. I won't lie, the past few weeks took quite a chunk of my good vibes and energy. I spent so much time deleting comments, blocking people and responding to emails..I didn't sleep or eat much. But this was important to do. It is me reclaiming the jubilation and pride I should have felt when I shared the article with you. This is me, existing as a fat Indian girl in a stereotypically skinny Asian world. And oh god cmon, I am more than my physical vessel. I am a writer, a daughter and wife, an animal lover and trained psychotherapist, a sister, an animal lover and music aficionado. There are so many dimensions to each of us. There are so many life stories, loves and pet peeves. You won't see me invading someone else's social space pointing fingers at what's wrong with them. It's called respect. It's also called empathy. Something I don't see being practised as often. This is the last of the series of images for this swimsuit. I am so done with the whole Instagram hoopla. I don't want to revisit it, don't want to talk about it. I'm all talked out about it! Cheers to what lies ahead. May we have the strength to plough through adulting lol #plussize #psblogger #plussizeswimwear #fatshion #fashionblogger #igsg #southasian #celebratemysize #swimsuitsforall

A photo posted by Aarti Olivia Dubey (@curvesbecomeher) on

While Dubey told The Huffington Post reactions to the photo have "been varied, from people telling me to stop glorifying an unhealthy lifestyle to people standing in solidarity with why I was so upset the post was removed," ultimately, she said the experience has shown her how important it is to keep posting.

"It's reaffirmed my stance as an activist to use my platform to educate and promote self acceptance," she said.

Preach, girl. 

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