Mumbai: Instagram, the social media sharing site, is under global attack after it began deleting photographs of average women by, banning an account of a mother who uploaded a photo of her breastfeeding her newborn child (Heather Bays); deleting accounts of breast cancer survivors; banning an account of a plus-size woman who is on her weight loss programme and posted a “belfie” (Meghan Tonjes); and taking down the account of a creative director who posted a whimsical sketch of herself wearing nothing but her heels (Grace Coddington).
On the very same platform, however, the likes of Kim Kardashian and her sisters, model Jen Selter, Miley Cyrus and James Franco don’t shy away from Instagram posts on a daily basis wherein they freely flash their derriere, front or side breasts whenever they want. And their accounts still exist! Which gives rise to the perfectly rational question: Is only “attractive” nudity acceptable on Instagram?
Photographer Jaf Jafri of J&M Image Studio, says, “My partner Olya and I, apart from doing various fashion shoots and projects, also conduct several nude photography sessions. As artists, we know there is a difference between nudity and pornography. Sadly, I think it’s Instagram which needs to learn to get over its double standards regarding the same. Our work had been taken down by the platform without verifying! Such matters need to be deeply looked into before action is arbitrarily taken.”
“It’s all in the mindset of people. If a woman is losing weight her self-esteem automatically goes up, but it nevertheless takes a lot of guts to come out of your skin, take a picture of yourself and post it. So instead of discouraging, it should be encouraged,” says image consultant Sangeeta S. Bahl.
Cyber expert Pawan Duggal elaborates, “In India the law is very clear, Instagram as an intermediary under Section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2011 is mandated to have a grievance mechanism as well as a grievance officer so that any person aggrieved by any action pertaining to third party data can escalate it. If Instagram does not have that mechanism in place, it is in violation of that law. The power to remove content cannot become a tool for gagging free speech. It cannot be a manifestation of cyber censorship.”