Why Did Instagram Ban Mastectomy Tattoo Photos?
Instagram caused an uproar from the tattoo community when a photo of a mastectomy tattoo was suddenly removed from a user's account.
The nipple debate on the internet has been an ongoing topic as many feminist groups are currently trying to overcome the strict censorship that's being imposed on the female body in most social media platforms. Recently, Pink Ink Fund's Instagram account had been taken down without warning, claiming that the charity violated rules by posting too many “sexually suggestive” photos, keeping them from recovering the Pink Ink Fund Instagram account.
Pink Ink Fund is a nonprofit organization that will readily assist breast cancer survivor with all the information they may need about post-mastectomy tattoos. They also provide post-mastectomy tattoos for both survivors and those who have had reconstructive surgery. Their Instagram account posts consists of mainly mastectomy tattoos by various artists which, as we all know, exposes tattooed breast sans the nipples.
Pink Ink Fund founder and tattoo artist Amy Black saw this as a very unfair decision on Instagram's part and wanted to do something about it. Though she's hardly the first to have experienced this, she's not going to keep quiet and go make a new account. She found it very questionable that Instagram would take offence at something aimed for a good cause. Anybody with half a sense will understand that these photos don't mean to seduce and we also doubt that there's anything “sexually suggestive” with things that are closely related to cancer.
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“I was very careful and always noted with text on the picture, comments, and hashtags that this was a breast cancer survivor or a mastectomy tattoo,” she tells BuzzFeed.
They tout themselves as a cool social platform that engages in strong and healthy community guidelines, yet they delete a cancer charity account vs. letting soft porn and highly sexualized material still exist,” she told BuzzFeed Life.
Instagram eventually took action and blamed it on Apple's stringent App Store policies.
“We wrongly removed this account and immediately worked to fix the error as soon as we learned of it. We are very sorry for the mistake,” an Instagram spokesperson tells BuzzFeed.
It doesn't—nor should it not—end there. This is a discussion we'd like to be part of as well. On behalf of the tattoo community, it's an affront to have mastectomy tattoos taken down and deemed “offensive” or “sexually suggestive” in social media sites. Not only are mastectomy tattoos a beautiful artistic expression but it's also a piece of art that marks one woman's feat of beating an illness like cancer. And if psychology taught me anything, it's that anything can be sexually suggestive as you make it out to be but an individual's perception shouldn't change the main objective of something represented—in this case is a photo posted online.
"Why can you show public beheadings from Saudi Arabia on Facebook, but not a nipple?" #FreeTheNipple leader Lena Esco cries out in a post from 2013. Instagram isn't the only social media platform getting into people's nerves. The #FreeTheNipple movement concerns even the topic of mastectomy tattoos despite the evident lack of nipples in mastectomy tattoo photos. It's not the nipple we're talking about here, but the oversexualisation of the female body as opposed to the lax rules regarding the male body on social media.