Meet the Latest Person Banned from Instagram

by Elizabeth Ballou

Ah, Instagram: that nest of overly-saturated, lo-fi filtered images, filled with celeb accounts like those of Kim Kardashian, Iggy Azalea, and Lady Gaga. What do those women have in common, other than making piles and piles of money from questionable ventures? They've all posted bikini pictures on their Instagram accounts. While plenty of people have gone on to emulate their looks, no one on Instagram questioned the propriety of such pics. However, when Instagrammer Samm Newman uploaded a picture of herself in briefs and a bra — a picture that celebrated her plus-size body — her entire account was deleted by the social media platform.

Newman, who is a U.S. size 24, used Instagram as a place to gather images that made her feel confident, comfortable, and beautiful. She called Instagram her "safe place," adding that it was where she had found a community that appreciated her body after she was teased through middle and high school. Therefore, the 19-year-old college student was understandably confused when her account was shut down after someone reported the following image:

Now, call me crazy, but it strikes me as odd that Newman's photos would be flagged as inappropriate when Kimmy K is posting pics like this:

So Newman can't get away with full coverage boy shorts and a bra:

But photographer Inez Vinoodh can post pictures of Lady Gaga in which it's clear she's not wearing anything at all:

Seems like a double standard to me. Instagram realized as much as well, because they released a statement to Fox News in which they're obviously trying to cover their butts.

"When our team processes reports from other members of the Instagram community, we occasionally make a mistake. In this case, we wrongly removed an account and worked to rectify the error as soon as we were notified. We apologize for any inconvenience."

Yeah, I'll say it was a mistake. The fat-shaming kind. Luckily, Newman has her account back now, but Instagram didn't restore the original controversial image.

“They gave me my account back, but the photos weren’t there,” she told Fox. “That was kind of the whole point. The hypocrisy is still there.”

Come on, Instagram. You're better than this. Just because Newman's body doesn't look like Kardashian's or Lady Gaga's doesn't mean that it's inappropriate. This isn't the first time people have gotten up in arms over Instagram pictures — remember Vanessa Hudgen's bindi pics, or the Willow Smith/Moises Arias debacle? — but it's one of only a few I can remember in which the social media platform itself has ignited the debate. My take: if Instagram is going to start policing people for their nudity guidelines, they should do so to celebs and non-celebs alike.

Throughout the media firestorm, Newman has been keeping her cool. "I'm a big girl, I'm proud, and I post lots of body love," Newman told an ABC affiliate.


Images: Samm Newman/Instagram (2); Kim Kardashian/Instagram; Inez Vinoodh/Instagram