Being plus-size and using social media means opening yourself up to a world of fat-shaming and cruelty in the comments section.
But what happens when the social platform itself becomes a bully?
Body positive champions Aarti Olivia Dubey, Rani Dhaschainey and Ratna Devi Manokaran can answer that question. They're currently fighting back against Instagram, the "bully" who deleted their bikini photo.
Here's how it started: The three women were featured in a Singaporean magazine for their inspiring, body positive spirits. Naturally, they wanted to share it with their Instagram fans.
After Dubney shared the magazine image with her 14,000 Instagram followers, she promised to also post behind the scenes images.
Unfortunately, this photo caught the attention of the trolls.
"I received mean comments such as, 'This is not beautiful, it is unhealthy and promoting obesity,' 'Look at these land whales,' and 'This is disgusting,'" Dubey told Revelist.
The next morning, Dubey discovered that Instagram had deleted the post, likely due to trolls reporting it as obscene content.
"At first I was confused and really stunned," she says. "But going by how mean some of the comments were in earlier posts, it turned to anger. And I remembered this happening to another plus-size friend last year and that just made me livid."
Manokaran was affected as well. She says that Instagram's actions made her feel "dirty, as maybe the picture was viewed as vulgar in somebody else's eyes." And it was just another reminder that "people still want to look at size for a benchmark of health and happiness."
While Dubey has no plans to reach out to Instagram personally — due to the fact that she feels Instagram representatives ignore and belittle complaints like this — she posted an incredible rant:
"An image of me and my three brown, plus-size friends was reported and deleted.
@instagram - There are accounts and images that have nudity, disturbing imagery, racism, sexism, hate, and THIS is what gets deleted?
I ask you, where is my freedom of speech as a plus-size blogger to post an image that resonated with so many and for all my posts as a plus-size person that give hope to my followers? Where is the justice in keeping terrible trolls and shamers and haters on the internet while removing my image?"
And the body pos army is right behind her. Check out these comments...
Dubey doesn't think this action stops at harming the plus-size community. She also points to a sexist double standard.
The even bigger issue is that social media, like traditional media, mostly celebrates and portrays stereotypical ideals of beauty and attractiveness. And they even go so far as to put it in writing, as we learned this week when Facebook's "health and fitness policy" details for ads leaked.
Owned by Facebook, Instagram has a huge body positive community, and it should do a better job of supporting it.