Instagram shows once again that it’s stuck in the 50s when it comes to women’s bodies.
Recently, Instagram has found itself in the headlines for banning the hashtag ‘curvy’ and censoring the female nipple. Previously, they had found themselves in hot water for banning the eggplant emoji, stating that it was phallic in nature. I’m not sure what the staff at Instagram are doing with their eggplants, but they’re doing it wrong.
Instagram is also widely used by photographers to share their images and promote their brand.
One such photographer is Melissa Jean Wilbraham of Melissa Jean Photography.
Melissa Jean specialises in the most incredible birth and baby images I have ever had the pleasure of casing my eyes upon. In fact it was Melissa’s images that adorned the walls of the maternity ward in which my daughter was born that inspired me to have a professional photographer in the delivery suite when I gave birth.
She has an exceptional gift for capturing the most precious moment in a family’s life; the tender moments between man and woman as they become mother and father, the first breath of a new life, the special bond being forged between mother and baby as they drink from the breast for the very first time.
To view Melissa’s work is to love it, even if you are not a mother. She captures the very essence of what it means to be human.
Melissa has built a cult following on Instagram, boasting 18.3K followers. But in doing so, she has had to adapt to the offensive Instagram rules. Despite this, she’s had numerous photos reported and deleted, photos that are beautiful, tasteful and graceful. Sadly, Instagram dubs such images ‘sexually violating’.
For more of Melissa’s incredible photos (you really should look):
Over the weekend, Instagram deleted Melissa’s professional account and locked her out of her personal account, which is set to private. Instagram informed Melissa that her images had repeatedly been reported, images capturing pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.
I spoke with Melissa yesterday. She was angry that such beautiful images of natural events could be classed as ‘sexually violating’ by anyone.
Melissa’s Response to Instagram
This is a mistake. One that hurts my heart. I’m a pregnancy, birth and baby photographer/sole trader who uses Instagram to wholeheartedly honour and celebrate motherhood. My social media following is the number one reason I have a successful business and when people report my work “because they find birth/motherhood offensive” it’s so incredibly sad. They mustn’t realise their actions are affecting my livelihood. My photography is not sexual, nor does it exploit women. It comes from a place of love and I have permission from every single mother involved. I strive to take unique and tasteful images to normalise the miracle of life and if you browse my account (and my website) you will see that I put my heart and soul into gaining a respectful following. Please let me know how I can undo this problem, how I can prevent it from happening again and continue with my beautiful business.
Instagram have now reversed their actions, and reinstated Melissa Jean’s accounts, but the fact that Instagram sought to shut down her accounts in the first place deeply disturbing. The birth of a human being will not ever be offensive and to call it ‘sexually violating’ is an insult to all women.
Images of teen girls in minimal clothing, of female athletes and celebrities being celebrated for little more than their aesthetic worth and of aspiring models so desperately attempting to gain notoriety by posting provocative images – these images are offensive. These images are sexually violating and market a woman as an object for consumption.
Melissa’s beautiful photographs empower women during an incredible, emotional and vulnerable time in their lives. She does so with love, with respect and with kindness.
Do you think that Melissa’s images should have been banned? Did you have a photographer at your birth.
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