Rupi Kaur via Instagram
Instagram stated that the post was removed because "it doesn't follow Community Guidelines," which are meant to "keep Instagram safe." However, the photo met all of Insta's guidelines.
For example, from their short list:
- Post your own photos and videos. ✓
- Keep your clothes on. ✓ Homegirl is in sweats.
- Be respectful. ✓
- Don't spam. ✓
- HAVE FUN! ✓ I mean, subject in photo isn't having fun, but Rupi was probs having fun.
In the end, Instagram emailed Rupi to apologize, claiming that the photo was taken down accidentally. However, she posted it twice. And it was taken down twice. Trés fishy, in our opinion.
But, every cloud has a silver lining (yay!): Rupi's story quickly went viral, along with her full "Period." project, which she shot with her sister, Prabh. Here are a few from the photo series:
"i bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. in older civilizations this blood was considered holy. in some it still is. but a majority of people. societies. and communities shun this natural process. "
"but a majority of people. societies. and communities shun this natural process. some are more comfortable with the pornification of women. the sexualization of women. the violence and degradation of women than this. they cannot be bothered to express their disgust about all that. but will be angered and bothered by this."
"we menstruate and they see it as dirty. attention seeking. sick. a burden. as if this process is less natural than breathing. as if it is not a bridge between this universe and the last. as if this process is not love. labour. life. selfless and strikingly beautiful."
The incident has encouraged thousands of people to discuss how the real vulgarity lies not in the photos, but in the way women are treated on a daily basis, and how our monthly cycles are viewed. What Rupi has said was "just a red spot," has brought millions of women and men together to not only defend, but to celebrate womankind. And that. is. awesome. Plus, it's why we're sharing the story with you all.
At THINX, it is our raison d'être to open up the conversation about menstruation, and to undo the damage that period-shaming has done for generations. We encourage all women to take a page out of Rupi's book (incidentally, she has an actual book) and challenge the way that we talk and think about periods-- because yes, women bleed. And we don't have to be ashamed of it anymore.
P.S. - Let's state the obvious and say that you don't have to stain your sheets anymore, either! (Like, imagine if we'd made a whole newsletter just about how Rupi's photo is just a visual rep. of why we exist: to fight leaks and stains. Heh. That would've been a good April Fools', amirite?)