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Instagram Removes Photo Of Fully-Clothed Menstruating Woman, Here’s What She Has To Say

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By Rupi Kaur:

Thank you @instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. You deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. The girl is fully clothed. The photo is mine. It is not attacking a certain group. Nor is it spam. And because it does not break those guidelines I will repost it again. I will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. 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.

Photo Credits
Photo Credits

This image is a part of my photoseries project for my visual rhetoric course. You can view the full series at rupikaur.com.

I bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. My womb is home to the divine. A source of life for our species. Whether I choose to create or not. But very few times it is seen that way. In older civilizations this blood was considered holy. In some it still is. But a majority of people. Societies. And communities shun this natural process. Some are more comfortable with the pornification of women. The sexualization of women. The violence and degradation of women than this. They cannot be bothered to express their disgust about all that. But will be angered and bothered by this. We menstruate and they see it as dirty. Attention seeking. Sick. A burden. As if this process is less natural than breathing. As if it is not a bridge between this universe and the last. As if this process is not love. Labour. Life. Selfless and strikingly beautiful.

Dear tumblr family,

Instagram has chosen to once again, take down this image for violating community guidelines. Despite the fact that about 95% of comments were beautiful. Flowering. And in support.

This just goes to show who is sitting behind the desk. And who’s controlling the show. Who’s controlling the media and who is censoring us.

It’s sad in this world. That this is still happening. I know that some communities and cultures go out of their way to shun and oppress a woman on her period. I guess Instagram is another one of them.

Some women aren’t allowed in their religious place of worship. Out of their homes. To do certain things. And are told they are sick. As if the period is a common cold. Yes. This is here in North America. I have been hospitalized many times because of issues associated with my period. I have been suffering from a sickness related to my period. And ever since, I have been working so hard to love it. Embrace it. Celebrate it. Even though, it’s given me so much pain in the past few years. and they want to tell me I should be quiet about this. That all of this we experience collectively does not need to be seen. Just felt secretly behind closed doors. That’s why this is important. Because when I first got my period my mother was sad and worried. And they want to censor all that pain. Experience. Learning. No.

I am going to share the photo again; once I figure out how to go about it. I would appreciate if you could “at” instagram and express your thoughts. Or even share the photo on whatever social media platform.

Their patriarchy is leaking.

Their misogyny is leaking.

We will not be censored.

Note: This article was originally published here

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  1. The Joker

    A picture of a man’s body was also removed, who lost a limb in war and was bleeding. I strongly protest.

    The matriarchy is leaking.

    The misandry is leaking.

    We will not be censored.

    1. D Gill

      Joker, nothing about this has to do with men. It has to do with censorship. How do you derive misandry from this article?

    2. usama naveed

      Agreed with the joker. The article is just ridiculous and takes the concept of gender equality all wrong. Just as the picture of a man dropping bowels is disgusting and should be removed from any social site, this picture is painfully disturbing. Mensturating is a natural process but should be kept private.

    3. TheSeeker

      He is mocking the author. That picture had nothing to do with oppression of women, patriarchy or misogyny, and yet she has made a mountain out of a molehill.

    4. Sia

      Oh you see ‘patriarchy’ and you immediately assume the article is against men? Stop justifying patriarchy and realise that it hurts men too.

    5. Women Empowerment

      Totally agree with joker……the photo is totally disgusting………that brainless girl…..anr the super brainless author of this post……….

    6. Ink

      Hello all you Sillies who are equating menstruation to semen,

      When a woman menstruates, there is no arousal. We don’t bleed because we get turned on.
      We are not sexually stimulated and then our periods start. We have no … absolutely… NO control over our periods
      showing up first thing in the morning, or while at a religious event, or at work, or at school. Believe me, if we did, we would.

      When a man ejaculates, sure it plays a reproductive role in the same way that ovulation does, but it is due to pleasure and stimulation.
      Therefore, if you are comparing semen to anything, it would be to a woman’s ejaculation or “squirt”. So agreed, I am also opposed to women
      ejaculating while worshiping or while at a religious event. And I would thing pictures of female ejaculation should not be on Instagram. In the same way that I am opposed to a man doing the same thing.

      We are often shamed for our normal body cycles, yet are completely objectified for our bodies. And really, a bunch of dudes that have zero idea on how
      a woman’s body works and what menstruation is, should really just shush up and go about their days.

    7. Roh

      By glorifying menstruation, making it superior to other natural processes, aren’t you just emphasising on inequality?

    8. Ritesh Anan

      Hi, all the dimwits who want to shove up gross images down our throats

      When was the debate ever about menstruation ???> In case you forgot, it was about uploading and deletion of a picture that was ‘gross’!!

      And sorry as men we don’t have any bodily function that can be compared to menstruation >>It’s really men’s fault that we don’t have to go through any similar things like women do, I forgot the last time we were given a choice to chose our gender or for that matter bodily functions?

      So, since we don’t have anything that is a mirror reflection of menstruation, that gives some people (read – feminists) the right to display gross images?

      1) It would have been equally gross if it was a pic of someone pooping

      2) It would have been equally gross if it was a pic of someone peeing

      3) It would have been equally gross if it was a pic of someone ejaculating

      Those are the only 3 analogy/comparisons that can be made SOLELY DUE TO THE RESTRICTIONS OF THE HUMAN BODY.

      Anything gross is just gross, whether done by men or women

      P.S. – A friendly reminder to dimwits, who try to join a debate >>>> Next time you want to join one, at least put in the effort to figure out WHAT IS IT THAT PEOPLE ARE ARGUING ABOUT!

    9. TempleTwins

      So your main reason to object to semen pictures is because of sexual stimulation. Can you prove that women are not sexually stimulated during their periods, we generally mate our female dogs a week before she starts to bleed where her vulva becomes swollen, so you tell me that a bleeding animal is heat is not sexually stimulated in anyway, when you can see her humping almost anything? Of course I am comparing a female dog with that of a woman here, but I know one of my ex gf wanted to have sex when she was bleeding, she claimed that women are so turned on during their periods which could be her subjective opinion, but can you prove objectively that no woman feels sexually stimulated during periods?

      Secondly men often get those morning boners which are involuntary too and if you hadn’t been masturbating for over a period of time, you could find cum stains involuntarily too, now that we got that out of the way, yes it they are both similar in many ways, a morning boner with cum stains should be acceptable too, if menstruation stains are magical so is gravity defying boners.

    10. common sense

      Shitting is natural and non sexual. I will be posting pic of mine while shiting. If they dare to remove it i will sue the freaking instagram. Its completely natural process. We all do it atleast once a day. I am not ashamed of it. Well sometimes i am when my butthole makes a big sound and i am at someone’s else home.

  2. Jasmine

    Im against misogyny too bt I wouldnt wanna see a pic of a guy ejaculate in his sleep :/ hell, thats natural too. Helping specieis continuation and all. (i know menstruation causes us pain and discomfort and that cant be compared to a guy’s unconscious get-off. But its a matter of hygiene girl. Dont be so defensive

    1. Anuj

      What’s wrong in a guy’s cum soiled pants? Your disgust is sexist, misandrous and anti-feminist!

  3. Jasmine

    I dont say go out of your way to hide it. NO. Its nothing to be ashamed off and we cant control it. But dont go out of your way to publicize it either :/ Evryone knows this happens

  4. Ritesh Anan

    And tomorrow for my photography project, I am going to put up a picture of semen leaking out of my clothes.

    But wait a minute…that would be dubbed ‘gross’

    and if I do forward it to someone or is mistakenly seen by someone, especially a female colleague rest assured I could be easilybooked for sexual abuse.

    If somehow that picture is seen/forwarded to a girl child > I would be termed a ‘paedophile’ and could be put behind bars

    but so is life! ALL HAIL FEMINISM AND THE POWER TO DO WRONG IN THE NAME OF ‘EMPOWERMENT’

  5. ItsJustMe

    This is ridiculous. How can instagram be so biased

  6. Bill Bob

    I respect your concern regarding censorship, but let me ask some questions:

    How much money are you paying to use Instagram? If the answer is $0.00, then can you complain about any service?
    Are you required to use Instagram?
    Did you reach out to Instagram for additional information?

    Censorship is bad. I’m genuinely sorry to hear about your menstruation struggles. But that’s a bodily function, and if Instagram is consistent about this sort of thing (ie. if I post a picture of my feces and they remove it) then I really don’t see the problem at all. If you’re suggesting society is bad for requesting that women not bleed everywhere, then I don’t see how I can reason with you. Standards exist to allow humanity to live together and flourish. We all have to make concessions to make a society worth living in.

    1. Lisa

      Well said.

  7. TheSeeker

    I don’t get how this ban is an example of women oppression, patriarchy and misogyny? If a guy posts a pic of his semen will it not be banned? Not to mention it’s disgusting. And FYI instagram is owned by a person, he has the freedom to do whatever he wants. Maybe he felt disgusted by this too. She could take her propogation to another platform, perhaps there would be a more accepting audience there (a.k.a radical feminists lol).
    Another reason could be that a user or users reported the picture. Can’t blame them.

  8. Vivek

    Please! These are the women who make a joke of what ‘feminism’ or even gender equality actually is! This is absolutely ridiculous! Menstruation is as normal a physiological process as pooping or pissing. Is a photo of a poop stained or piss stained “fully clothed” person OK? What about cum stains? Your response to Instagram removing this photo should be consistent with your expectations of a photo with the other bodily functions too.

  9. lahari

    I am a feminist and I agree that a lot if girls still go through shit when they are menstruating but the picture flankly grossed me out and it could have grossed out anyone and was hence removed.

  10. shradha mohan

    These kind of women make feminism misunderstood. That photograph has no art, it is plain sloppy. It does not make any statement amount menstruation or womanhood. It is plainly gross. And, Instagram’s decision to remove this photo has NOTHING to do with ‘Misogyny’, ‘Patriarchy’, ‘Feminism’ or ‘Gender Inequality’.
    Their decision is to save all “mankind” from grossness. Photo of a man with his semen on the pants
    (which also keeps the humanity alive) will also be removed. Utter Nonsense.

  11. Mysterious

    This article saddens me 🙁
    Why you wanna make feminism look bad???
    Stop being a radical feminist and yeah why don’t you Rome around with no shirt like a rad feminist or stop shaving or anything like that??
    You focus on things which don’t matter enough
    You make feminism look bad and you are the reason why feminism is associated with male-hate

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