Did Instagram Ban This Account Because Of A Photo Showing Women's Pubic Hair?

Why Is Pubic Hair Such A Hairy Topic For Instagram?

Women are being penalised for sporting pubic hair - or so Instagram's latest antics would lead us to believe.

An image posted by Sticks and Stones Agency showing two models, unedited, in all of their natural beauty has caused the fashion agency's Instagram account to be deleted.

One explanation may be due to the free-flowing pubic hair emerging from the sides of their bikinis (either that or the tiny bit of nipple on show).

This has led the Australian company to speculate over whether it was indeed the models' pubic hair which caused such drastic action from the social media giant. As let's face it, deleting someone's account (106K followers and all) is pretty drastic.

The controversial move comes after Instagram caused widespread outrage with their strict regulations surrounding posting pictures of women's nipples. (For those not in the know, women's nips = instant deletion.) Yet men remain free to bare theirs.

Following on from #FreeTheNipple, a campaign fighting for equal rights for women when it comes to baring their chests - nips and all - it looks like #FreeTheBush could be next on the feminist agenda.

So why does Instagram have such an aversion to the lady garden?

One could argue that Instagram deleted Sticks and Stones' image due to the minor nip slip. But then other case studies prove otherwise.

At the beginning of the month, the creative director for LiveFast magazine also had a post, showing a woman's pubic hair, taken down. There was no nudity involved, so in this case it was definitely the bush that caused offense.

Meanwhile, Petra Collins found a similar image of her own body - from the waist down - caused Instagram to delete her account.

She wrote on The Huffington Post: "Recently, I had my Instagram account deleted. I did nothing that violated the terms of use. No nudity, violence, pornography, unlawful, hateful or infringing imagery. What I did have was an image of MY body that didn't meet society's standard of femininity."

"Unlike the 5,883,628 bathing suit images on Instagram, mine depicted my own unaltered state - an unshaven bikini line."

Ainsley Hutchence, the director of Sticks and Stones Agency, resonates with Collins. In an interview with Mic she says: "Unfortunately Instagram has ruled out natural hair that appears on all bodies of women that don't trim their bikini lines. This hair occasionally does spill out of the sides of swimwear as it does on men in their underwear.

"But Instagram seem to be okay with man pubes."

"Clearly this is absolutely sexist. Instagram believes that women should wax or get off their platform," she added.

After going to press, a spokesperson for Instagram told HuffPost UK Lifestyle: "We try hard to find a good balance between allowing people to express themselves creatively and having policies in place to maintain a comfortable experience for our global and culturally diverse community.

"This is one reason why our guidelines put limitations on nudity, but we recognise that we don’t always get it right. In this case, we made a mistake and have since restored the account."

A victory for pubic hair on this occasion, it would seem. And so it should be - after all, what kind of world allows images of Kim Kardashian's over-edited and well-oiled bum (funnily enough that Paper magazine cover wasn't banned from Instagram), but disallows photos of a woman's body in its most pure and natural form?

Jennie Runk

Body Image Heroes