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5/20/2019 5:12:18 PM

Why did Instagram censor this photo of a fully clothed woman on her period?

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On Tuesday evening, Kaur received a message from Instagram that a photo of a woman lying in bed — fully clothed, with a blood stain on the sheets — had been removed for violating the site’s “community guidelines.” (Those guidelines only formally forbid nudity, illegal activity and images that glorify self-harm.) But when Kaur reposted the photo, Instagram removed it a second time — provoking Kaur to pen a sternly worded open letter to the site that’s since been “liked” more than 54,000 times on Facebook.

“Thank you @instagram,” Kaur wrote, “for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique … 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.”

The ensuing fury was so intense, on Instagram and in other corners of the Internet, that Instagram eventually restored Kaur’s photos — even emailing her personally to apologize for the “error.” But Kaur is, frankly, unimpressed. She and her supporters see it as part of a larger problem with censorship on the platform.

“They allow porn on Instagram, but not periods?” Kaur asked The Washington Post. “… How dare they tell me my clothed body, the way I wake up at least once every month, is ‘violating’ and ‘unsafe?’ ”

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