Is Menstruation Offensive? Instagram Deletes Woman’s Photo of a Period Stain — Twice

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These photos highlighting the various facets of menstruation are familiar to every women — a stained sheet, a red drop in the shower drain — but at first, they did not make the cut for Instagram. (Photo: Rupi Kaur)

Poet Rupi Kaur was trying to send a strong message when she posted a photo of a fully-clothed woman laying in bed with a menstrual stain dotting her sweats and sheets. 

And after an initial struggle, she certainly got her point across.

It all started when Instagram removed the menstruation picture from her page — twice. The photo-sharing app sent her a message stating that the shot violated community guidelines. According to those guidelines, Instagram takes down photos displaying nudity, sex acts, or violence. Menstruation is not mentioned.

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In response, Kaur moved the period snap to Facebook, with a lengthy message attached to her post. She writes: 

“thank you Instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. you deleted my photo twice stating that it goes against community guidelines. i will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified. pornified. and treated less than human. thank you.”⠀⠀

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Kaur brings up an important point about the stigmatization of menstruating women, and talks about how she came to terms with this natural process of the female body — despite the medical problems she’s faced as a result of it.

“I have been hospitalized many times because of issues associated with my period,” she writes. “I have been suffering from a sickness related to my period. And ever since I have been working so hard to love it… and they want to tell me I should be quiet about this. That all of this we experience collectively does not need to be seen. Just felt secretly behind closed doors. That’s why this is important. Because when I first got my period my mother was sad and worried. And they want to censor all that pain. Experience. Learning. No.”

Related: 6 Things You Should Know About Hooking Up On Your Period

She continues: “i bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility…. we menstruate and they see it as dirty.”

After posting the photo to Facebook, Kaur gained legions of support for her cause. The photo has been shared nearly 12,000 times and liked more than 50,000 times.

Instagram also re-posted the photo, apologized to Kaur, and issued this statement to Mashable: “When our team processes reports from other members of the Instagram community, we occasionally make a mistake. In this case, we wrongly removed content and worked to rectify the error as soon as we were notified. We apologize for any [inconvenience].”

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Kaur frequently posts photos to her website highlighting various facets of menstruation that are familiar to any women — a stained sheet, a red drop in the shower drain — as part of an ongoing project aimed at education, learning and acceptance of periods as “normal.”

Instagram may have aimed to silence Kaur at first, but because they did, her message got louder than ever.

What do you think of Kaur’s stained-sheet period photo? Tell us with a comment!

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