Lex Gilles Hit Back At Instagram After Her Photo Was Rejected For Being 'Undesirable'
Lex Gilles Hit Back At Instagram After Her Photo Was Rejected For Being 'Undesirable'
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Lex Gilles Hit Back At Instagram After Her Photo Was Rejected For Being 'Undesirable'

Uk influencer Lex Gilles speaks out about her Instagram campaign celebrating natural skin that was deleted on the grounds of being undesirable.

Lex Gillies has rosacea, an inflammatory skin condition that often presents in visible veins in the face, giving people red rosy cheeks. This influencer who has 20,000 followers on Instagram decided to post a photo of herself with a bare face as part of a natural beauty campaign, celebrating natural skin.

View this post on Instagram

Swipe across to see the three emotions experienced when confronted with an enormous photo of your naked face hanging in a flipping gallery 😂⁣ ⁣ I cannot describe how emotional this experience was. Walking around the space, surrounded by photos of women at their most vulnerable. All strong. All beautiful. All changing perceptions of skin conditions one photo at a time. 👏 ⁣ The amazing @sophieharristaylor 'Epidermis' exhibition is open until the 13th of September and it's free. You should go if you can! ⁣ (ALSO the irony is not lost on me that in the same week that my photo is being bought as actual art by strangers in a gallery, the same image is also being censored by Instagram for being 'undesirable' 🙄... #undesirablesofinstagram)⁣ ⁣ #skinpositivity #rosacea #rosaceaawareness

A post shared by Lex - Skin Positivity 💕 (@talontedlex) on

However, the photo was later removed by Instagram as it 'did not reflect their standards':

'Instagram doesn't allow ads that focus on aspects of a person’s body to highlight an undesirable or idealised body state'.

The model started to realise her posts were being hidden or 'shadow banned' when she tried to embed them into her blog. then, when she tried to advertise on the app she realised that her photos were being deleted:

'When I first realised what was happening and that my photos were being hidden, I felt sick. It was one of the worst things I've ever experienced.'

Gilles shared the news with her followers and created a petition#undesireablesofinstagram to bring attention to the matter and to make Instagram reconsider some of its guidelines.

View this post on Instagram

So Facebook finally responded to the #undesirablesofinstagram post after a journalist from @verge contacted them.⁣⁣ ⁣ 3.5 weeks after I tried to promote an image of my face, 11 days after they told me that my naked face was 'undesirable', and 10 days after I wrote a blog post detailing the many ways in which Instagram have been targeting the skin positivity community, this was their considered response:⁣⁣ ⁣ "I looked into it and this ad was rejected in error and we are sorry for the mistake. It’s now up and running."⁣⁣ ⁣ Their response is deliberately obtuse and absolutely infuriating. Their OWN GUIDELINES list the things they consider 'undesirable' and skin conditions are one of them. That's not an error. That's deliberate cruelty.⁣⁣ ⁣ The #undesirablesofinstagram campaign was never about the ad. That was just a tangible symptom of their awful and discriminatory behaviour.⁣⁣ Not only have they completely glossed over the fact that they referred to skin conditions as ‘undesirable’ but they are point blank refusing to comment on their wider disregard and targeting of the skin positivity community, even when confronted with proof.⁣ ⁣ ⁣ Describing people's appearance as 'undesirable' is WRONG, controlling what people see online based on outdated beauty standards is WRONG. All we wanted was for the guidelines to be changed to reflect this. ⁣⁣ ⁣ (And the ad never did go live. It's almost as though they'll say anything to try to make this go away, instead of just doing the right thing 🤷🏼‍♀️)⁣⁣ ⁣ 📸 By the incredible @sophieharristaylor⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #normalizeskintexture #skinpositivity⁣ #sundaymorningview

A post shared by Lex - Skin Positivity 💕 (@talontedlex) on

As a result, Facebook, the parent company of Instagram has reconsidered the use of the word 'undesirable' when removing images. The company claimed that the standard was created to discourage brands that would advertise unhealthy dieting products or toxic beauty standards.

Facebook told BBC News that Gillies' photo was 'removed in error' and has now been reuploaded and she has since praised the company for updating their guidelines which are now much more specific:

'We don't allow ads that contain unexpected or unlikely results. Ad content must not imply or attempt to generate negative self-perception in order to promote diet, weight loss, or other health-related products.'

This is not the first time females are fighting for natural bodies to be allowed on Instagram as many celebrities and influencers such as Chrissy Teigen, artist Amanda Charchian and so many others continue to bring attention to the social media companies nudity policies and the right to show female nipples in photos. This is an issue however that Instagram will not be wavering on anytime soon.

While the nipple may not be freed yet, this is still a big step forward in the platform to promote healthier beauty standards.

By Johanna Garner
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