Empowered Birth Project – Fighting The Instagram Birth Images Ban

Did YOU know that Instagram classes images of childbirth as the same category as pornography, and will remove such images…?

Nope, me neither!

They have a ‘graphic image’ warning for gruesome pictures of surgery or injuries, yet the social media giant will just remove uncensored photos of the most natural process known? I’ve seen this many times myself; sometimes even graphic surgery images go uncensored, so I can come across open wounds, bones, flesh, gory infections etc, but a baby exiting a vagina is apparently not acceptable. Overtly sexualised images are also left up. M’kay, Instagram…

Thankfully, the Empowered Birth Project is fighting against this!

What is the Empowered Birth Project?

In 2014, a nurse from Los Angeles, Katie Vigos, started the Empowered Birth Project to celebrate childbirth in all its glory, and to remove the mystery & inherent taboo still surrounding this natural process. In 2017, furious that Instagram was removing uncensored images of birth, Katie launched this petition.

“The female body in the midst of giving birth – blood, pubic hair, buttocks, the image of a baby exiting a woman’s vagina – seems to trigger people to report images. But there is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to show photos of physiological birth. It’s straight-up censorship.” (Katie Vigos)

Katie Vigos has approached Instagram with the proposal that childbirth images are given the option to be blurred/censored with the option to be seen, as a middle ground. However, Instagram won’t budge, stating that their policy is zero-tolerance against genitals ‘regardless of context‘. Katie strongly disagrees, stating that  “they’re saying because genitals are involved in childbirth, this kind of image belongs in pornography” and that this decision ‘upholds the taboo’.

I agree with Katie Vigos that this is sending entirely the wrong message; that childbirth is nasty, gross, something to be hidden, and the fears of expectant mothers aren’t being addressed or educated when such images are hidden away! Seeing these photos and videos can be such an excellent educational tool, and can relieve the anxiety when you see it for yourself, and hear the first cry – it made me feel so excited and empowered seeing other women doing this, it made me believe I could too! The natural, normal process of giving birth really is being stigmatised.

I think the option to view these images (much like the more graphic medical images have the option for) would be a sensible middle ground for everyone. I understand that some folk would rather not see it, and that’s their prerogative. However, on the flip side, it’s incredibly unfair to categorise childbirth images alongside pornography, it serves no purpose other than to stigmatise and prevent valuable education & awareness.

Do you agree? You can sign the petition here.

Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Love from Katie. Xx

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