Instagram Bans Pregnant Fitness Star for Baring Her Growing Belly

Brittany Perille Yobe exposed her belly in a workout video on Instagram, and that was enough to get her banned from the site. (Photo: Getty)
Brittany Perille Yobe exposed her belly in a workout video on Instagram, and that was enough to get her banned from the site. (Photo: Getty)

Brittany Perille Yobe is so devoted to fitness that she’s built a business around it — specifically on Instagram, where she’s drawn 924,000 followers. Like many Instagram success stories, Yobe uses the social media platform to market her business, which includes selling online training guides and promoting paid sponsorships. Yobe has even gained some notoriety for having “the roundest butt in Instagram.”

Yobe literally relies on Instagram for a living, so she was shocked and devastated to discover one day last week that the site had shut down her account due to “not following the Instagram community guidelines,” which include “content that is sexually suggestive or contains nudity.” Except Yobe had not actually violated these guidelines.

In fact, on Oct. 19 she’d done exactly what she had been doing for the past two years, which is post a video of herself working out in leggings, sports bras, and other tight-fitting exercise gear. The only difference? This time it was her belly, not her butt, that was notably round: Yobe was visibly pregnant in the video. Her growing belly is bare as she wears a totally appropriate gray sports-bra-and-yoga-pants ensemble to weight train. Yobe had posted a few pregnant workout videos to the site prior, but her belly was always covered.

According to Cosmopolitan, Yobe was nervous to even post the video — but not for fear of being banned. That never crossed her mind. She was “worried about how people would react to seeing a baby belly where a six-pack had once been.” Her caption reveals her trepidation.

“Yes I am Biggg and Well Aware … but to be honest I truly do not care. I have debated sharing this video of my big bare belly in full workout mode because of body shaming comments that I am sure will come. Ultimately, this wasn’t a great enough reason to keep me from sharing and empowering women to love their bodies through each stage of their fitness journeys. Six pack or big belly I still hustle,” the original caption read, in part.

Fortunately, her fans cheered her on in the comments, quelling her fears. But less than 24 hours later, she discovered her account had been deactivated, and according to Instagram’s note, the site had no plans of reactivating it.

“All I was doing in the video was working out like I’d done in all the other workout videos I have posted for years,” Brittany said, recalling how morning sickness had prevented her from working out for her entire first trimester, and getting back in the gym was actually a triumph. “There was nothing out of the ordinary in this one besides my bump,” she says, convinced the site discriminated against her for showing her pregnant body. “I am certain I am not the only woman who has been shut down for posting pictures and videos of a child growing inside my belly,” she told the publication.

Yobe is expecting her first child in February, so, as Cosmopolitan points out, a ban from Instagram would have hurt even more, as she wouldn’t have the time to recover her following as quickly as she would if she wasn’t caring for another human life. The only possible connection the Instagram star has been able to make, according to the article, is a photo from April that was removed by the site. It was a selfie Yobe had taken wearing a sports bra and thong panties. But she was not told that a repeated violation would lead to a permanent ban.

Frantically trying to pick up the pieces and recover her following, Yobe created a backup Instagram account, where she posted a lot of her most popular fitness videos. But Cosmopolitan said the damage had already been done: Sales of her videos and traffic to her website had already plummeted. So she appealed to Instagram. And it worked.

Yobe’s original Instagram account has since been reinstated with 383 fitness videos and images intact. Her first new post includes a link to the news coverage that, most likely, encouraged Instagram to reconsider. She wrote, “This mama WAS NOT going down without a fight.”

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