instagram lifts ban on various #useless and #derogatory phrases
Just when you thought you were being controlled too much, thankfully there’s Instagram. Recently the folks at Instagram decided to lift a ban on a variety of phrases such as #thinspo, #fuckbitches, #curlyheadedfuck and #hungrycunt, arguing that the lift allows ‘people to express themselves [whilst] providing protections to prevent certain content that would be against our terms.’
I am all for freedom of speech, but I am shocked and appalled by the random and derogatory terms that Instagram has now given users free reign with. Whether or not this issue or story is even relevant or important to many people I am not sure – but upon reading this news I was very confused by the words ‘thinspo’ and ‘thinspiration.’ This prompted a Google search and soon I learnt that such terms are used to describe ways in which girls can search out pictures and content of very skinny and unhealthy young women in order to have inspiration for becoming anorexic. What?! That outraged me a bit, as I’m sure it would outrage any young woman who is struggling with body issues enough already.
This begs the question, then: should we ban words that lead us to content of super skinny girls, which may destroy our self-esteem and possibly cause us to destroy our health? I am not sure, as like I said earlier, I am all for freedom of speech, especially in this case, where Instagram is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media, pop culture and online content. So with the lifting of this ban we probably won’t see a huge wave of anorexic girls spring up. But what can be done about the fact that this word exists in the first place? Should bans be put on this word all throughout media and culture – and if so, how can we do that?
And how about all the other words and phrases that have been lifted? Besides the point that I don’t see why or how anyone would use a term such as #curlyheadedfuck, the fact is that it exists and we can now spread it throughout social media – media that kids can probably access pretty easily. All I can say is I am very glad I am not a parent yet and I do not look forward to becoming one. In this day and age, there are all sorts of things out there that are outrageous, derogatory and just plain mean. I thought we were moving forward towards equality, but it seems we are moving backwards in that sense, and only moving forward in terms of our ability to spread our absurdity wider and farther than ever before – all at the push of a button (wait, no, all at the touch of a screen…)