Dang, Instagram… when you step in some misogynist shit, you really step in it.
I mean, first you remove an image of poet Rupi Kaur’s innocuous portrait of herself, lying in bed, fully clothed, with a visible period stain and suggest that it does not fit community guidelines. Most recently to mass knowledge, you removed anti-rape activist Amber Amour’s images that she had taken post-rape because it did not fit ‘community guidelines’.
One would think the collective Instagram dick must be the length of a fire hose with the frequency that IG seems to keep tripping over it.
Barely clad breasts, butt cleavage, extremely sexually suggestive poses, twerking… you name it. While Instagram banned the phallic eggplant emoji that led directly to a Dicks-ta-gram mountain of genitalia, the myriad emojis that are left out there to be used to tag a photo reveal actual porn all over the place. Just search with water droplets, peaches, the “no one under 18” sign, or simply the angel and devil. Their inconsistent policies are extremely troubling because of the intense misogyny that they barely veil. One of their more consistent acts has been to troll feminist accounts like Amber Armour and Rupi Kaur. Because, you know, patriarchy…
Amber Amour had been an anti-rape activist for a while before this. The first time she experienced sexual violence against her, she was a mere 12 years old. While living in NYC, she was raped in her own home by her roommate. She recounts for Marie Claire magazine that after calling the police, EIGHT officers showed up at her door, not one of them was female. They were asking her brisk questions, expecting to apprehend the rapist in her home. When the rapist was not there, one of the officers who had a wedding band on his hand asked her “Are you sure he knew you meant no?” and that “Maybe he thought you meant yes.”
Months later, the case was dismissed. After her experience, Amber began to create street art all over city sidewalks as a simultaneous act of self-soothing and activism. She began facilitating discussions and therapy groups. When things started to take off, she was organizing speeches internationally and had about 5,000 Instagram followers. Her “Stop Rape. Educate.” and #creatingconsentculture program was taking off quite well, and when she asked her fans and fellow activists where she should go to really make a difference, they voted on South Africa among several other places.
While in Capetown, things took a turn for the worse. She was visiting a hostel where she took a shower with a friend because her place did not have any hot water. While in the shower, her friend raped her.
Amber captions the IG photo with this message to her audience:
It was only a few minutes ago but sometimes these things happen so fast it’s hard to remember all the details…. I’ve been sick for the past 2 days and today was my first day out. I went back to my old hostel to leave a note for a friend, Nick. There was another guy there, Shakir, who was desperately trying to get with me. I kissed him once but he seemed drunk so I told him it was bad timing, I had already met someone. Before heading out, I went upstairs to say hi to one more friend, Clyde from the states. Shakir followed me upstairs and said he was going to take a shower. He invited me to join. I said yes because the water at my current hostel is pretty cold and after 2 days of being sick, I just really wanted a hot shower. As soon as I got in the bathroom, he forced me to my knees. I said “stop!” but he just got more violent. He lifted me up and put his penis in my vagina. I asked him to stop, again, as I began to cry. When he shoved it in my ass, that’s when I passed out. I woke up a few minutes later and saw him trying to creep out the door. When he saw that I was awake, he came back to finish me off in the shower. I have all those fucked up feelings that we get after rape…shame, disgust, suffering. I’m here, alone, and any DNA has been wiped away in the shower. The South African police will just roll their eyes when I walk in. Feeling sicker than ever now. Needless today, I’m going to disappear for a bit. Just need to enjoy the freaking sun and call my friends and family in the states. Love you guys. Thank you for always being there for me. All the more reason to continue @stoprapeeducate but not today. Today, I need rest. #StopRapeEducate
Amber tells Marie Claire:
“I immediately knew that I couldn’t keep what had happened a secret. Here I was, telling survivors every single day that they should speak up… I knew I had to practise what I preached. So the first thing I did was take a picture and write a post, describing what had happened.
It was almost an intuitive thing. I was still in the bathroom – in the crime scene. I don’t even think I’d stood up. I just typed and typed.
I told the story truthfully – I wanted to convey the message that no matter what a person does, they do not deserve rape, they did not ask for it, they did not put themselves in a situation. There were definitely details I could have left out – there were definitely details I wanted to leave out – but I knew that if I wanted to create a culture of consent, I had to tell the whole story, exactly the way it happened. “
Read more about her experience in Amber’s own words right here.
What Instagram is telling its audience is that talking about sex and genitalia is fine, as long as it is arousing and “fun” for their general audience. Their male audience needs to be able to consume this stuff, ladies. Lighten up. It’s just sex. Jeez. You’d think someone was trying to actively create awareness and further consent culture.
Sarcasm aside, I have the utmost respect for Amber Armour’s work. Thank you for being transparent. It takes a lot of guts to do that. I hope your heart heals soon so that you can continue on your path.