Arguably, one of the best things about Instagram is how much it has encouraged expression, experimentation and the very real embracing of diversity. For every ‘perfect’, airbrushed-to-the-hilt, porcelain-skin selfie, there’s another preaching inclusivity, body positivity and – above all else – authenticity; the #nofilter backlash to the homogenous beauty ideals that spam our feeds every day.
Pushing the movement forward is #Undesirablesofinstagram.
Created by beauty blogger and body positivity advocate, Lex Gillies, the hero hashtag is a community of women embracing themselves and the skin they’re in. With hundreds of people championing the hashtag, it’s hard to imagine it was born from Lex’s discouraging experience on Instagram after uploading a photo of her rosacea to the platform.
The photo, taken for Sophie Harris-Taylor’s Epidermis series, was removed by Instagram for it being 'undesirable', with the platform saying it 'doesn't allow ads that focus on aspects of a person’s body to highlight an undesirable or idealised body state'. The policy went on to list several examples of 'undesirable' body depictions, including baldness, cellulite and acne, which understandably enflamed Gillies, prompting her to share her story.
What followed was #undesirablesofinstagram quickly going viral as people shared their own photos and called on the social network to stop censoring skin conditions.
Thankfully, Instagram issued an apology to Gillies, stating that her post had been removed "in error". Better still, as a result of the community the hashtag had become, they permanently changed their guidelines, with the word 'undesirable' no longer featuring anywhere across the network.
"I wanted to thank every person who posted an #undesirablesofinstagram selfie, who shared my post, used the hashtag, commissioned articles, sent me messages of support, and helped to spread the word," Gillies shared.
"Putting your head above the parapet can be scary. There were moments in the past 6 weeks when I wondered why I'd started this, why I'd opened myself up to trolls and ignorance, and whether the eventual impact would be worth the effort. But the support from the community, the new people I've discovered through #undesirablesofinstagram, and this actual, tangible result is better than l could have ever imagined.”
Photos: Instagram and Supplied