Instagram banned another body-positive hashtag—until badass women brought it back
Swimsuit anxiety is real, and no one understands that better than blogger and body-positive activist, Carly Anderson. A few years ago, the young mom realized that she’d only worn a swimsuit three times since giving birth to her daughter.
“I felt uncomfortable, so I avoided the beach and pool parties,” Anderson tells Shape. “My whole life, I’d loved the water and hated bathing suits.”
Then one day, she jokingly shared her dislike for swimsuits on social media. To her surprise, she wasn’t alone. “The comments and messages poured in,” she says. “Apparently, everyone felt the same way.”
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Can I get double tap if you swear you’d never wear a two piece again? . Yup, that was where I drew the line too. Even after #justwearthesuit started I was satisfied with my one pieces. But where’s the fun in that? Two pieces are my new thing this summer, so expect to see more of them. . Swipe to see some of my favorite recent #justwearthesuit ladies in their two pieces….. A post shared by Carly Anderson (@lipglossandcrayons) on Jun 23, 2019 at 5: 42pm PDT
The positive response from her online community encouraged Anderson to rip off the band-aid once and for all. She put on a swimsuit she didn’t totally hate and posted pictures of herself wearing it on her blog.
“The result was almost overwhelming,” she says. “Women said they felt inspired to see a similar body type to their own.”
A year later, Anderson decided to create the hashtag #JustWearTheSuit, encouraging women to share their own swimsuit photos and overcome the anxiety surrounding them. “My goal was to create a community—a place where we can ALL share our stories and celebrate summer together,” she says.
Her message resonated with thousands of women, who began using the hashtag and spreading their own dose of body positivity.
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We are officially in the midst of swimsuit season and I wanted to share a very important reminder – YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!! I can’t tell you how many times I have sat on the beach or at the pool in sweatpants or covered in so many towels I looked like a mummy. I wasted so much time worrying about not having a “beach body” that I missed out on so many fun times. Not any more, I’m learning with each day to love my body more and more alone with all its curves and I want you to do exactly that! A huge shoutout to Carly from @lipglossandcrayons who started the amazing #justwearthesuit movement!! She has inspired so many women, including myself and is such a beautiful person inside and out. • • I’ve also linked my favorite swimsuits and they are all on sale right now for $30 and under!! So what are you waiting for?! Go get your suit on girl!! • • #swimsuits #morethanasize #plussizestyle #plussizeswimwear #effyourbeautystandards #LTKcurves #LTKswim #LTKunder50 #liketkit @liketoknow.it http://liketk.it/2CYhI A post shared by Nicole Weisman (@curvestocontour) on Jun 29, 2019 at 4: 55pm PDT
“I’m so proud of how our community has become involved in #justwearthesuit,” says Anderson. “It’s not mine anymore. I love that other women connect with each other, support each other, and share this amazing movement as much as I do.”
But recently, #justwearthesuit was marked as “inappropriate” on Instagram and effectively banned from the platform, explains Anderson.
“To see this amazing movement marked as inappropriate felt like a punch in the gut.” She couldn’t understand how a positive movement could be deemed “unworthy” by the online platform.
While let down at first, Anderson continued to promote the movement on her Instagram. Rather than encouraging women to use the hashtag, she created Just Wear the Suit GIFs that women could add to their Instagram Stories. She also began to share other women’s Just Wear the Suit stories to her blog so that no one felt discouraged.
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Double tap to show that everyone SHOULD Just Wear the Suit . If you saw my rant on stories this morning, then you know that I’ve been a little down in the dumps about this app. For the last couple weeks, our hashtag JUSTWEARTHESUIT has been marked as inappropriate. Inappropriate? Women sharing their body confidence journeys? Is it the bathing suits? Cause, there are an awful lot of women in bathing suits around these parts. . So, after being upset and frustrated……I came up with some solutions. . Share Day: Each week, I’ll be sharing women HERE who are talking about Just Wear the Suit and their journeys. That will give all of you an opportunity to support each other. But how will I find you? Share your story in your caption. Be sure to share that you are part of the Just Wear the Suit movement and TAG me (in the caption and in the picture). That will alert me so I can see, and I can share with our community! . Stories: GUESS WHAT?!? We got GIFS! When you share in stories, we have actual JUST WEAR THE SUIT GIFS you can use. You know where the stickers are in stories right? Type in Just Wear The Suit and there they are (I’m putting a little tutorial in my stories in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, ha)! . So there we have it. They can take our hashtag…….but they can’t take our movement. What we built? Is bigger than a hashtag. And I’m so proud of that. A post shared by Carly Anderson (@lipglossandcrayons) on Aug 1, 2019 at 5: 45pm PDT
Little did Anderson know, her badass online community was simultaneously filing tickets and sending emails to Instagram’s help desk, demanding that they lift the ban on the hashtag. Nearly one month later, their efforts paid off.
“The most inspiring part to me is how our community rallied around the movement,” shares Anderson. “They shared, they talked to Instagram, and eventually, we got our community back. Without the support of our amazing community, I’m pretty sure we’d have a different outcome.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Instagram has banned content geared toward body positivity. A few years ago, the platform took down the hashtag #curvy, and it’s often removed photos of women showing off their bodies in their natural form—cellulite and all.
While there’s certainly a lot of work to do when it comes to normalizing images of women’s bodies, Anderson believes the change needs to start with us.
“I think we as women have a long way to go when it comes to accepting OURSELVES,” she says. “To me, that’s the first step. When we can see ourselves as beautiful, whatever shape or size we are, we model that to others—and that will create long-lasting change.”
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