Why did Instagram delete this picture of a fully-clothed woman?

It has happened to every woman. But you’re not allowed to look at it.

Rupi Kaur is a student in Toronto, Canada. She describes herself as a poetess and spoken word performer.

Rupi and her sister Prabh created an artwork that was apparently so distasteful it could not possibly be on the Internet. It was so horrific and offensive and unlike anything that anyone has ever seen before that it had to be deleted. Multiple times.

READ MORE: Unbelievable. Why did Facebook deem this photo “offensive”?

The home of cat videos porn and violent video games is far too demure a location to portray an image of a women’s period. Obviously.

(Image via Facebook)

The image in question shows Kuar curled up in bed, one leg swung over the top of her doona, all snuggled up in tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt. There is a small patch of dark blood on her back-side, and one on the sheets.

It is something most, if not all women have experienced at least once in their post-pubescent lives. Periods happen. Leaking happens. It’s not fun. Nobody enjoys it, but it is something that happens, so why can’t we recognise that?

That is precisely the point the Kaur and her sister were trying to make with their photo-series entitled: period.

“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.”

After the image was initially deleted by Instagram moderators, Rupi had this to say:

And she is right. We live in a society were we have a word for people taking photos of their bums FFS. We’re no strangers to the notion of sharing the most intimate details of our bodies with the general populous. Thanks to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, I not only know when people go out for breakfast, I maybe blessed to know what said breakfast looks like coming out the other side.

READ MORE: Look: These unusual hipster-types are tattooing instagram photos on their arms.


Kaur was told that the image was deleted because it went against Instagram’s guidelines. But in actual fact, the guidelines state that an image may be removed if it belongs to someone else, contains nudity or mature content, contains illegal content or promotes or glorifies self-harm.

The public reacted. Some people didn’t see the point. Some people were ‘disgusted’ by the images. But some people were pissed off, one Facebook user saying, “It’s blood. Talk to those abusing women, harming animals, and having porn on live television. This my friends, is called Mother Nature. Do NOT apologize.” Another thanked Kaur for “helping normalize, beautify the period.”

Here are some other images from Kaur’s photo-series…

(post continues after gallery)

Finding the images inspiring or beautiful is a 100% valid response. As is finding them entirely unappealing. But that isn’t the point. The point is that the internet is full of things that some people find offensive or awkard or embarrassing. Someone is legitimately Kickstarting a book of photos of their faeces. I don’t particularly fancy putting that on my coffee table, but she has the right to create it. And Rupi Kaur has the right to display her artwork.

Instagram has since re-instated Kaurs image, and according to the Huffington Post, apologised for the ‘mistake’ that was made.

Kaur posted on Facebook yesterday thanking her followers for their outrage and support, saying, “we did it. you did this. your belief in the work. it’s message. and your movement to not quiet down has forced instagram to place both deleted photos back on my grid. exactly where the belong.”

What was your reaction to Rupi Kaur’s photographs? Do you think they should have been deleted.