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The Nude Blogger Sets A New Precedent For Sexual Expression & Body Positivity On Instagram (NSFW…maybe)

By Kishore Sawh on August 28th 2017

You’ve poured countless and soulless hours into your IG account as a photographer and built up a following through that effort, then one morning you wake up and IG sends you a message that your account has been pulled. How would you react?

How Instagram goes about policing and enforcing their policies is a mystery, even to Instagram it would seem, given the inconsistencies. Not that it’s a terribly difficult thing to understand, mind you, because when you’ve got hundreds of millions of users each can’t get the personal attention and consideration they deserve. Well, that’s one argument. The problem though, is that Instagram is no longer a frivolous endeavor that flirts with business, but a full on business platform, so unbalanced policing is a major problem.

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What does BODY POSITIVITY mean to me? (1/2) It means accepting, embracing and honouring our body, the sacred vessel in which our Soul resides ? It is about empowering ourselves and breaking free of the shackles of society’s ‘beauty standards’. Reaching a point where we no longer allow corporations or industries to tell us what is considered ‘desirable’ or ‘beautiful’. To me, body positivity is so much more than just the physical aspect of it all. It is also about a state of mind. It is a matter of perception. It is about taking back our power and redefining, for ourselves, what is considered beautiful. It is about recognising the beauty that is already within. The beauty that wants to shine, regardless of your appearance or physical attributes. For me, practicing body positivity means seeing ‘beauty’ as something that cannot be attained, but as something that is already within. It means developing a healthy relationship between the mind and body. It means being kind to yourself. By ACCEPTING our bodies, we cease resisting what is and begin to work with what we have. By EMBRACING our bodies, we celebrate its unique and miraculous nature. We stop striving to look a certain way for a surface-level form of societal acceptance. By HONOURING the body, we understand that this is our temple, and so we treat is as such. We cultivate gratitude toward it ?? Body acceptance is an act of self-love. By cultivating kindness toward ourselves, we do not allow others’ judgements to define our view of self, because we begin to realise that their judgements are only a reflection of their own state of mind. We begin to break down and break through society’s insidious and warped view of the human body, and we start caring less about fitting a certain mold. Being body positive, for me, means being at one with my body, but not being defined by it. It means nurturing it in a way that also nurtures inner-growth. It means letting go of strict standards and ideals about what we should look like. I’m not saying that all of this is easy, no…it’s challenging. We’re talking about changing a mindset here… but it is possible ? …to be cont’d… #bodypositive #acceptance #embrace

A post shared by The Nude Blogger (@thenudeblogger) on

In all likelihood you know someone who has been through this or been through it yourself; it’s that prevalent, but the only consistent part is the inconsistent manner in which it’s enforced. IG has a somewhat ambiguous public policy on nudity, which is certainly up for argument and interpretation, but that gives them more leverage. Here’s how it reads:

“We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too”

We don’t allow nudity on Instagram,” is the crux of the argument, but the problem is, they do. They allow it if the subject is nude but nipples and genitals are hidden or veiled, but it’s also gender dependent, as is the case with most of the western world. But IG isn’t just western in reach, and even if it was many argue this is a matter of body positivity and freedom of expression; many like Jessa O’Brien, also known as thenudeblogger.

Jessa has built a sizable following on IG due to her carefully curated feed of images of herself donning various degrees of nothingness. Whilst typically suggestive her images were not overt, but IG took her account down anyway; a move which she protested by opening up a new account with her old images and writing a big F&%$ YOU to Instagram. On her blog she writes,

“I have been reminded of just how aloof, pervasive, elusive and unpredictable social media can be. One day we’re made obsolete, the next we’re viral.”

This is me, Jessa, and I am the creatress of The Nude Blogger. Now, as some of you may know, this account was abruptly, and without any warning whatsoever, deactivated over 3 weeks ago ? So apologies I’ve been a little quiet on this account. #linkinbio for full story ?? In the midst off all of this, I also set up a secondary account @thenudeblogger_ in the event that this one was not reactivated and just in case something similar happens again. It will be my secondary/backup account, so please do follow this account also ?? I will continue to use this account as my MAIN and primary account. Since the deactivation of this account, I have embarked on a tireless crusade against the social media giants to raise awareness about body positivity and expose the contradictory nature of Instagram’s blurred guidelines that only exacerbate appalling double standards ??The deactivation of my account actually proved to be one of the best things to happen for my message about body-positivity ??What success we’ve had! It’s been an absolute whirlwind…making headlines all around the world! A win for body-positivity and a win against Instagram ✊? To those of you who have stood united with me, to those of you who believed in me, to those of you who helped me, to each and every one of you who either shared or posted something on my behalf, to the individuals within the media who gave my story a chance and a way to gain traction and spread even further, to the people who didn’t just sit back on the issue, to the people who fought for something bigger than a following or popularity on Instagram, to the people who judged me, to the people who tried to tear me down…..THANK YOU ??YOU have given body-positivity an even louder voice and a place well-deserved at the forefront of many more people’s minds ? And to the person, people, robot or reptilian who clicked the button to reactivate my account…YOU have also just made more of a difference than you will ever know…so thank you. You’ve just helped to show the world that body-positivity and non-sexual nudity are ok. So yes, thank you too Instagram…it’s been good ✌?And as I always say, LET’S START A DAMN REVOLUTION! ✊?✊?✊?

A post shared by The Nude Blogger (@thenudeblogger) on

In the weeks that followed there has been little public clarity on what transpired but the result was that her account has been re-instated, and it’s being hailed as a victory for body positivity, sexuality, and perhaps as setting a precedent for future issues alike. It’s not easy to take on a media titan, and I applaud her temerity.

Now, since her reinstatement there has been chatter in forums that her message was not about body positivity and that’s a rabbit hole we won’t go down today, but hopefully if you’ve been banned as a boudoir shooter or whatever, this case me be used as leverage.

You can find her full thoughts and break down of the experience and process here.

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. John Markus

    As others have said, this Instagram user is not promoting body positivity, she is promoting her own body and her own sexual attractiveness. There is a huge difference. She is using Instagram for her own personal sexual reproductive goals, but using buzzwords and catchphrases like “body positivity” and “acceptance.”

     Displaying her physical and sexual attractiveness is a key strategy for any woman of childbearing age interested in advancing her own reproductive goals. These include attracting the most suitable (ie strong, wealthy, powerful) male partner. One of the simplest ways for a woman to promote her physical and sexual attractiveness is nude selfies.

    Some honesty and self awareness would have helped her to realize that she is conducting a personal marketing campaign via nude photos of herself on Instagram. She is not promoting body positivity. She is promoting herself and her own reproductive goals. She is like a female human version of a peacock, spreading his beautiful feathers to impress the opposite sex. 

    Now she is angry because Instagram have interrupted her marketing campaign in mid flight. It’s like spending weeks making an expensive Superbowl ad, only to have it banned by the broadcaster. 

    There is nothing wrong with nudity, but there is something wrong with dishonesty.  And there is something wrong with blaming others (ie Instagram) for asserting their legal rights simply because you can’t be honest with yourself about your own goals. And there is also something wrong with pretending that your motivations are noble and inclusive, when in fact they are personal and selfish. 

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  2. joe sullivan

    Seriously, anyone who gets offended by a naked human has issues.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      I’m with you on this. The negativity towards nudity, even tasteful and suggestive, is baffling. unsurprisingly most negative feedback has come from North America, which has an antiquated view on sexuality compared to elsewhere in the world. I think part of the problem is Instagram’s inconsistency in policing. 

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    • Robert T

      If that’s what you understood, you have serious issues.

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  3. Alex Douglas

    Nice sentiment but I wonder if she’d have so many followers if she was 16 stone and equally as positive. It does help she has a rather attractive body to show off. 

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    • Timothy Linn

      Exactly. The message is a good one but her success is all about the messenger. If you are an attractive young woman with even the smallest bit of talent, social media is waiting to embrace you.

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  4. Ben Perrin

    Sorry but this is stupid. Instagram doesn’t allow nudity, yet these people are banned for posting nude images and then they are complaining. Grow up. There are plenty of other places to post your nude art. Maybe they can ask Instagram to apply a NSFW mode on so people who don’t want to see that sort of thing don’t have to but those that do will still be able to post what they want. Until then, you broke the rules, stop bitching about it.

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    • Robert T

      Stop being an uneducated bigot. You don’t know that you can’t ACCEPT your body, you can’t EMBRACE and HONOR your body, unless you make your naked photos public on social media. For maximum body pomposity… excuse me, I mean “positivity”, you have to make a scandal, to attract attention on yourself and to try to force social media sites to change their policies for you. Because everybody must see your body positivity and you MUST be free to do everything you want, regardless of what others want.
      :)

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    • Daniel Jones

      They should just ban all of nudity and stop the ambiguity. There’s more ways to advertise for Boudoir and body positivity than using NSFW images. 

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