Instagram has banned #curvy but not far more serious and insulting hashtags

Jul 15, 2015 at 1:44 p.m. ET

If you're going to search for the hashtag "curvy" on Instagram... Well, don't bother. The social media platform has disabled the search term, because voluptuous women are dangerous, of course.

According to a report by Buzzfeed, a spokesperson from Instagram said that the #curvy hashtag was banned because it often came attached to content that violated the site's nudity policies.

So all those body-confident, beautiful ladies who like to tag their pics with #curvy will need to find an alternative hashtag. Except, um, they won't have to try too hard, as there are dozens of variations, which are all still available. A quick search on Instagram suggested #curvygirl, #curvywomen, #curvymodel and #curvyfit, among many others.

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Image: Plus Size OOTD/Instagram

What's surely more worrying than the disappearance of #curvy is the prevalence of hashtags like #fatpig, #fatf*** and #fatslag on the site. And while Instagram has disabled #thinspo, which glorifies pro-anorexia posts, #thin is still allowed, as is #skinny.

You can also search for #dildo, #hookers, #vagina and #bitch to your heart's content (some of which come with warnings of explicit content).

It's not the first time inconsistencies in the photo-sharing site's censorship policy have been highlighted. Activist and founder of Coco de Mer Sam Roddick had her account permanently deleted for posting "unacceptable content" (a cornice shaped like a vagina but not an actual vagina), and Chelsea Handler got her knuckles rapped for her nipple-flaunting selfies. (Incidentally, #nipple is another of those banned hashtags.) Several women's accounts were shut down after they posted breastfeeding pics, or snaps of their babies or toddlers with no tops on. Images showing pregnancy stretch marks and unshaven bikini lines have also been deleted.

Meanwhile, Instagram is flooded with images of pre-teen and teenage girls, posing provocatively in their underwear. Male nipples. Male pubic hair. Kim Kardashian's bare ass.

Confused? Yep, us too.

Update: After much controversy and a huge backlash, Instagram unblocked the #curvy hashtag, effective from July 23. Nicky Jackson Colaco, Instagram's head of public policy, explained why it had been blocked in the first place. It was "consistently associated with content that breaks the company's terms of service", reports the Washington Post. Basically, it was being used to caption pornographic images flagged by users as inappropriate.

Jackson Colaco said that nobody at Instagram was "cherry-picking terms [to ban]" and that the #curvy controversy was difficult for the company to deal with, as they've always tried to highlight body-positive messages.

In respect of the sexually explicit and degrading terms that haven't yet been blocked, she said this could be due to the fact that people searching for those terms are unlikely to flag them up as inappropriate. Whereas someone searching for #curvy who gets taken to a pornographic image is more likely to report the issue.

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