Last November, Miski Muse celebrated finding the perfect pair of jeans in the way any sensible young woman would: She posted a photo on Instagram.
Muse, who is outspoken about embracing her curvy frame, said she was excited to finally find pants that fit both her hips and her waist. She posted a fully clothed photo of herself sitting on the floor, wearing her new jeans and her hijab.
But just last week, when she went to find the photo again, she discovered something was amiss.
Muse told Revelist she wanted to point out something in the picture to a friend. But when she went to find it, the photo was gone. She looked through the email associated with her account, but could find no notification of the photo being removed.
“All I know is I posted it and it’s not there,” Muse told Revelist. “And I wanted to take my stance on that.”
So Muse returned to Instagram to make her feelings known. She re-posted the selfie — this time with a blistering critique of Instagram's censorship.
“If my hips weren't as wide, would my picture have ever been taken down? Probably not,” she wrote. “This is the double standard in the Muslim community, as well as beyond the Muslim community. Curvy is tacitly seen as immodest — sexualized by default — so my photos as a curvy hijabi are consumed and seen as obscene.”
Instagram has repeatedly been accused of unfairly censoring larger women’s bodies. Plus-size blogger Samm Newman accused Instagram of deleting her account in 2014, after she posted a photo in a bra and shorts. Another plus-size woman’s “belfie” was removed that same year for “mature content.”
But Muse said her message is about more than just Instagram. She told Revelist she wanted to speak to the more widespread “constant erasure” of bodies like her own.
“You don’t often see a curvy, Black hijabi,” Muse told Revelist. “For me it’s more about saying, ‘Hey, we exist. Point blank. Period.’”
In her Instagram post, Muse explained why this kind of representation is so important.
“I come from a community where [people] who look like me are not visible and are constantly shamed,” she wrote. “Seeing women like Serena Williams, Ashley Graham, etc. [who] feel beautiful in their skin is an inspiration to all in a world that tells women the opposite.”
We couldn't agree more.
Revelist has reached out to Instagram for comment.