Instagram has come under fire for deactivating the account of a photographer who shares images of labour and breastfeeding.
Elle Wickens, who runs the earth.babes Instagram account, told followers on her personal account, ‘Last night my @earth.babes account was deactivated because it didn’t comply with community guidelines.
‘I am heartbroken, yes because it is my business but mainly as a woman. Birth is one of the only things in this world that we all experience, it is powerful and so beautiful.’
‘Having my page deactivated has shaken not only my love for Instagram but my faith in community. Why must women struggle to be seen, why can’t you see us for what we are, powerful, wild, loving humans. Why is it okay for our bodies to be seen as a sexual object but not for what we truly are.’
‘I created earth.babes to show the world and other women the beauty and power of birth I created it to learn and to teach, to foster new relationships with other strong women. I created it to help inspire the world. I created it to uplift women, to create a sanctuary where women and men can ask, share and witness what they have done or are about to do.’
‘@instagram I and many other women will not stand for this.’
After revealing the closure of her account, Elle receiving an outpouring of support from her followers.
‘I’ve complained to Instagram about their sh*tty censorship of the female body,’ one wrote. ‘Total hypocrisy at its finest that female pornography or male bodies often go uncensored and yet the natural process of raising a child and breast feeding is deemed inappropriate.’
‘You’ve been a mouthpiece for what I’m sure are the beliefs of many other people. I thank you for this account, you’ve revolutionized my view of my own self as a young woman. Regardless of genders, no human has reason not to celebrate birth. @instagram why?’ another added.
The account, which was started just four months ago but has already amassed more than 6,500 followers, was reinstated after less than 24 hours of being taken down. Instagram later said that it had been removed due to ‘an accident’.
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In the company guidelines, the social media platform states, ‘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.’
Elle told the Daily Mail Australia that she felt attitudes towards birthing in general needed to be reconsidered.
‘I don’t think it was fully Instagram, I think it was more the people that are using Instagram,’ she said.
‘It’s an opinion we need to discuss and change.’