Instagram Deletes Designer's Account Because of Her Pubes


When we last checked in with newly minted American Apparel designer Petra Collins, she was explaining in very cool terms how unsurprising the controversy over her menstruating vagina t-shirt was. But now that Instagram has deleted her account due to the same type of weird public outcry she got over her t-shirt, she’s a little more riled up.

In an essay on Oyster mag also posted on her Facebook page, Collins writes:

I wasn’t shocked at the reaction I received from my t-shirt. I’m used to being told by society that I must regulate my body to fit the norm. I’m used to the fact that images of unaltered women are seen as unacceptable. I’ve taught myself to ignore it (as much as I can) and through the Internet (via sites like ROOKIE Mag) and social media platforms (like Instagram and Facebook) I’ve been able to freely share images and start discussions about these issues. Recently I had my Instagram account deleted. I did nothing that violated the terms of use. No nudity, violence, pornography, unlawful, hateful, or infringing imagery. What I did have was an image of MY body that didn’t meet society’s standard of “femininity”. The image I posted was from the waist down wearing a bathing suit bottom in front of a sparkly backdrop. Unlike the 5,883,628 (this is how many images are tagged #bikini) bathing suit images on Instagram (see here and here) mine depicted my own unaltered state – an unshaven bikini line.

Some of Collins’ artwork not posted to Instagram but available on her website is more “inappropriate” and would not fit the standards of Instagram, in that it features actual nudity, but that work is again, on her website. Collins writes that before posting this picture, she’d “obviously” felt pressured to display her body in a specific way. She also points out the hypocrisy of removing a photo like this while much media content available to the general public is far more explicit in more socially acceptable ways:

Through this removal I really felt how strong of a distrust and hate we have towards female bodies. The deletion of my account felt like a physical act, like the public coming at me with a razor, sticking their finger down my throat, forcing me to cover up, forcing me to succumb to societies image of beauty.

Finally, she has a message to whoever it was told Instagram they had an issue with her work:

To those who reported me, to those who are disgusted by my body, to those who commented “horrible” or “disgusting” on an image of ME, I want you to thoughtfully dissect your own reaction to these things, please think about WHY you felt this way, WHY this image was so shocking, WHY you have no tolerance for it. Hopefully you will come to understand that it might not be you thinking these things but society telling you how to think.

And for those inspired by Collins’ message and current struggle with censorship, you can still buy the original American Apparel t-shirt online.

Images via Petra Collins/Twitter

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