“Millions of photos of very naked and skinny white women can be found on Instagram every day. But a fat black woman celebrating her body is banned? It was shocking to me.”
A few months ago, plus-size model and activist Nyome Nicholas-Williams opened up about how Instagram repeatedly took images of a ‘confidence shoot’ she posed for. She and photographer Alexandra Cameron say they have also received warnings that their accounts will be closed. So they wrote a letter to Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, and finally the platform responded by updating their nudity policy.
The photos in question showed Nicholas-Williams with his eyes closed and wrapping an arm around her breasts, which Instagram said violated their porn guidelines. Nicholas-Williams and Cameron both allege that Instagram has a habit of “allowing” nude photos of slender white women while censoring images of tall models and people of color. According to GuardianA wave of content creators then confirmed that the platform repeatedly discriminates against blacks, tall users and other marginalized communities, removing their photos or not promoting them from the the same way it did for its white users. ”
In an interview with the Observer in August, Nicholas-Williams said, “Millions of photos of very naked and skinny white women can be found on Instagram every day. But is a fat black woman celebrating her body banned? It shocked me. I feel like I’m being silenced.
An Instagram spokesperson told the Guardian that the Nicholas-Williams photos were originally taken because “we don’t allow breasts to be squeezed as it can most often be associated with pornography.”
Cameron, who has been a photographer for over a decade, said: “I posted pictures of a lot more women – white women – who had [fewer] clothes that Nyome that have never been reported or removed. This was the first time this had happened to me, and it kept happening because I kept reposting the photos and they got deleted, and you have to ask why. What about a plus size black female body that is so offensive and so sexualized? the Playboy the stream is filled with nude white models and it’s all for the male gaze, which is the opposite of what i do, and they’re allowed to stay.
See this post on Instagram
“ Today is the day Instagram and Facebook change their policy to ensure that all body types – namely plus size black bodies – are treated fairly on platforms. From today, Wednesday October 28, 2020, Instagram and Facebook “will allow content where someone is content to squeeze, put suction cups or hold their breasts.” To protect young users of potential pornographic content if an image shows “breast compression in a grasping motion or there is a clear change in breast shape”, that content will break the rules. This policy change should allow them to better differentiate self-expression / art from pornographic content. The policy change is effective from today and will start to apply from today, but the external wording of the policy will be available for reading from November 23 (I will make the link appear in my biography so that you can all have it once you read live). Gina, Alex and I are creating a type form where you can upload information about any content that has been deleted. It is in the best interests of helping Instagram to ensure this policy is followed and as successful as possible. The link will be available tomorrow for use in my bio (we hope it won’t be needed though). This is just the start, there is still a lot of work to do. Instagram and Facebook are taking steps in the right direction to ensure the larger community is protected, Instagram said, “In addition to this policy change, earlier this year we committed to doing fairness work. broader to help us better support the black community on our This work is going to take time, but we will continue to provide updates. Our goal is for this work to bring us closer to making sure Instagram is a place where everyone feels safe, supported and free to express themselves, ”I will continue to consider Instagram to ensure make that happen. This is a huge win for the plus size black community and a great birthday present! Thank you to each of you who reposted or used the hashtag iwanttoseenyome; you helped amplify our voices and to move our campaign forward.
Following Nicholas-Williams and Cameron’s open letter at the head of the platform (written in collaboration with activist Gina Martin) and a wave of support on social media, Instagram and its parent company Facebook have updated update their nudity policy to help end discrimination against plus-size black women on its platforms and ensure that all body types are treated fairly. The new policy went into effect last week.
“This is a giant step forward and I am happy that a dialogue is now open,” said Nicholas-Williams. “I want to make sure that I am respected and allowed to use spaces like Instagram, like many other creators do, without fear of being censored and silenced.”