October 20, 2020

Instagram censored a photo that was a parody of another photo that it did not censor.

You'd think the parody picture is more justified, since it's parody. It adds humor value. It comments on something that is already on the platform. And it's the creative work of the woman in the picture.

 

Obviously, the image is on Instagram now, so let's read about the controversy, here, in a column by Lacey-Jade Christie, at The Guardian:
On Friday, Australian comedic juggernaut Celeste Barber...

Oh? She's a juggernaut? I go over to her page and click "follow."

... posted the latest in her #CelesteChallengeAccepted series of parody images to her audience of 7.3 million: a side-by-side photo of her imitating a post from former Victoria’s Secret model Candice Swanepoel... ... Instagram wouldn’t let fans share Barber’s post, notifying some users that it “goes against our community guidelines on nudity or sexual activity”. Swanepoel’s post, meanwhile, went unreported.... Barber [says] Instagram has apologised, saying their images were mistakenly censored. [She is] now working with the platform to help update their guidelines for the future. 

If you read that whole article, you'll see there's a lot of speculation that Instagram is censoring bodies that are not thin — that there's "fat-shaming" going on. 

I'm thinking that a lot of what is happening is automatic, based on users reporting a picture as a violation. The photo of Swanepoel is conventionally pleasing with artistic lighting and a serene expression. The mind remains calm. She's simply lovely. La la la. Nothing to complain about. The photo of Barber is — as Barber intended — quite rousing. I think it's hilarious, a commentary on the bullshit that is the Swanepoel photograph. Barber engages the mind, makes you feel critical. With a roused mind, you may think, hey, that's wrong. Something bad is going on. It makes me uneasy. People who have that reaction may hit the complaint button. 

Another explanation is that the breast is more covered in the Swanepoel picture. In Barber's parody, the hand is in the same position, but the overflow of breast is more extensive. And Barber's fingers seem to be grasping, while Swanepoel's fingers are gracefully at rest. Now, compare the faces. There's much more of a sense that Barber is pleasuring herself, while Swanepoel is merely absorbing the fading rays of the sunset. That is, there could be a neutral policy that Barber violates and Swanepoel does not. 

I'm still all for Barber in this dispute. I think she's hilarious. But I'm not buying the Guardian's fat-shaming theory. In fact, The Guardian is kind of fat-shaming! I don't think Barber is fat.

71 comments:

Joe Smith said...

She's grasping because there's more to grasp.

But the VS chick is in seriously good shape. Not sure why people like to pose naked and post pix, but if you're going to do it, it helps to look like Candice.

Btw, no ring on the woman on the right.

This is like the magazine in the dentist office...find what's different.

rehajm said...

...the hand is in the same position, but the overflow of breast is more extensive..

I recall back in the 90's someone published what was reported to be the MPAA guidelines for movie ratings. There was an extensive list of what would immediately earn a move an R rating. Showing butt cleft was an immediate R. Side boob had some percentage attached. How the percentage was arrived at or, more interesting, how they calculated that percentage was exceeded I have no idea. We never worked that equation in high school calculus...

DavidUW said...

Where's her chin?

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

"a commentary on the bullshit that is the Swanepoel photograph."

Bullshit? Why? Conventional, yes. Lovely, yes. Posed and artificial, yes. But BS?

"Barber engages the mind, makes you feel critical."

Critical of what? More critical than I already am?

"With a roused mind, you may think, hey, that's wrong"

Huh?

"Something bad is going on. It makes me uneasy."

I'm thinking, women doing humor. Not "bad," doesn't make me "uneasy," also not "hilarious." Sorry.

Big Mike said...

I'm still all for Barber in this dispute.

@Althouse, +1

I think she's hilarious.

Funny, but “hilarious” is a bit far. + 1/2

But I'm not buying the Guardian's fat-shaming theory. In fact, The Guardian is kind of fat-shaming!

+ another 1

I don't think Barber is fat.

+1

Total = 3 1/2, which is pretty respectable.

Iman said...

Both beautiful... rated at 675 millitoobins.

Laslo Spatula said...

"People who have that reaction may hit the complaint button."

The Tyranny of the Tetchy.

I am Laslo.

buwaya said...

There may be a breast size filter.
That would be an impressive piece of programming if so.

Laslo Spatula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lucid-Ideas said...

It's funny. And, she's definitely a "juggernaut". It's not men, but the women that are making brewing this 'storm in a teacup'.

Lucid-Ideas said...

No nipple slippage with the gratuitous side-boob. No harm, no foul.

Bob Boyd said...

Is Barber sitting on the toilet?
There's a water line on the wall behind her.

Lucid-Ideas said...

"I don't think Barber is fat."

If that's not fat, then what is thin.

Kylos said...

Both women are portraying sensual pleasure. Swanepoel is savoring the pleasure while Barber expresses a more crude satisfaction of pleasure. It’s really a class thing more than anything else.

Also, it appears Barber is showing a hint of nipple. I think that’s where IG draws the line.

Lurker21 said...


That's her shtick. But after you see a few of her "parodies" they aren't funny anymore. It's one joke over and over and over again.

It is comforting that the Aussies are crasser than we Yanks, though.

Ice Nine said...

>>"Another explanation is that the breast is more covered in the Swanepoel picture."<<

Breast in the Swanepoel picture? I must have missed it.

Static Ping said...

To be honest, to me it looks like Barber is taking a dump.

(This actually makes it funnier.)

Bob Smith said...

Myself, I’m for leaving something to the imagination.

Wince said...

I don't think Barber is fat.

Come on. I'm considered borderline "obese" on the BMI chart and don't have folds of fat like that.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

I love the bravery behind showing off her plumpness.
Agreed - It's also very funny. The subtle mocking is great.

Yeah - we've all seen enough skinny pretty young babes wearing next to nothing. *yawn*
It's boring at this point. Sex sex sex - everywhere sex. Look - another hot chick who will end up the wife of an elite NFL football player. *zzzzzzzzz*

plump-mock action is where the new excitement is.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lucid-Ideas said...

If there wasn't any accompanying information, and a person didn't know who each was, one might think that one was having an existential experience, pondering ecstasy while being kissed by the golden rays of the sun, and the other one was having a heart attack.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

When I consider the current surplus of censorship stories this is the least interesting one out there. There’s more relevance, relation to real political problems and even more nudity in the Hunter laptop story. You’re trying really hard to avoid the obviously bigger more important story.

West Texas Intermediate Crude said...

The facial expression of the woman on the left is that of a Trump voter post election day.
the one on the right is the Biden voter facial expression.
They reversed red and blue on us a decade or so ago.
Now they are reversing left and right.
Gaslighting.

Temujin said...

I just read that Jeffrey Toobin has been hired as a VP of Marketing for Instagram.

Wait. That's disinformation. Actually, I did not read that. But, sources tell me that...

West Texas Intermediate Crude said...

Jug-gernaut.
ISWYDT.

Narr said...

It's all about the face.

With me anyway; one's pretty, one ain't, case closed.

Narr
Nothing against some heft

Kate said...

This is cracking me up. Barber, photographed against a hideous white wall with a dead plant and a gawdawful trench coat -- so funny.

I'm gonna guess it's the side-boob that set off the complaints. I wouldn't say her face is expressing pleasure. More like agony at being posed as an imitation of a statue with carefully disheveled hair. It's hilarious.

tcrosse said...

Recently Gwyneth Paltrow posted something similar of her naked self, only standing up, for her 48th birthday. Evidently nobody complained.

tim maguire said...

Inevitable when decisions are made by algorithm with no person reviewing unless there's a problem. Which there will be, obviously.

It's simply too expensive to do it differently.

CJinPA said...

Is the model...sucking her gut in?

tim maguire said...

Barber is overweight, but she's also in a very unflattering pose for her body type. If she were standing up and dressed nicely, I think most men would find her at least somewhat attractive. BTW, those are pants she has draped over her shoulders.

Joe Smith said...

And another thing...I'm tired of the clickbait headlines, "so and so celebrity naked," or "the photos you were never meant to see," etc.

First, you were always meant to see them.

Second, nobody is naked in the sense that it matters.

If a woman has no clothes on, but has her back turned or is somehow covering all of the parts people want to see, is she really naked?

If that's the standard, then every picture of all of us at parties or at a ballgame shows us naked (except for the clothes part).

So stop with the bullshit 'hiding your nipples with your hands' move...

It's damned annoying.

Birkel said...

I won't know what to think until former CNN legal analyst Jeffrey "flogging the Bishop" Toobin tells me which is fapworthier.
-some Democratical somewhere

stevew said...

Barber is not skinny but does not appear to be fat either.

traditionalguy said...

Centerfold auditions? Looking for the golden mean mammal. And then the gals blame Toobin.

DarkHelmet said...

1. Didn't your mom ever tell you not to post indecent pictures of yourself to the internet?
2. Don't show off your chin if you don't have a pretty chin.
3. Why do so many people feel compelled to be the center of attention? Is the 15 minutes of fame so terribly sweet?
4. Don't try to tell me you're making some profound political, artistic or philosophical statement. You aren't.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Rules:

If you're pretty and thin - your* on-line nakedness is OK.
If you're a corrupt democratic who used power to make your family vastly wealthy - all OK too.

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Professional lady said...

It does kind of look like she's sitting on the toilet. I don't find it offensive, but I don't find it funny either. Somewhat interesting maybe?

Paul J said...

The one on the left is not at all appealing. The one on the right looks like a normal woman. I'd do her, no problem.

Jupiter said...

"the bullshit that is the Swanepoel photograph."

Are you model-shaming?

William said...

I think the green leaves in the background of the first picture gives the woman a more Eve in Eden look. I'm not sure what the second photo is parodying. I guess ordinary people can't strike the poses of hyper-beautiful without looking a little ridiculous. Even the beautiful look a trifle ridiculous in Vogue poses....It's hard for a beautiful woman to look completely ridiculous when naked, however.

Ray said...

Amusing, maybe. Hilarious, no.

I have female family members who have struggled with their weight and self image. I've seen their pain of loneliness and rejection. I've seen the mistakes they made to mask the pain. If I could change the world for them, I would. I get the picture, the point is a poignant social commentary. Yet, I'm drawn to the first one.

Original Mike said...

"Breast in the Swanepoel picture? I must have missed it."

She's a 32, and famously beautiful.

Barber? I don't know the lines between fat, plump or chunky, but she's in there somewhere.

Jupiter said...

"Yeah - we've all seen enough skinny pretty young babes wearing next to nothing."

I usually agree with bleach-bit, but ...

tim in vermont said...

"Fat bottomed girls, they make the rockin’ world go round.”

I know that one of them looks like a lot more fun, and it has nothing to do with the size of her rack.

Paul J said...

Okay, "not at all appealing" overstates things a tad. But still, I choose righty.

Paul J said...

Okay, "not at all appealing" overstates things a tad. But still, it's righty for choice.

Unknown said...

I concur with the original ban. She wasn't art.

John Scott said...

Just wondering what the one on the right is wearing below the waist. Is that a jockstrap?



Howard said...

Barber is fat. No doubt about it. To say she is not fat is another, uglier form of fat shaming. You should celebrate her blubber, not pretend it doesn't exist...

tim in vermont said...

"rated at 675 millitoobins.”

The bra section of the Sears Catalogue was a solid 1000 millitoobins, back in the day.

Ice Nine said...

>>Original Mike said...
"Breast in the Swanepoel picture? I must have missed it."

>>She's a 32,<<

Like I say, missed it.

>>and famously beautiful.<<

Both words are irrelevant to my comment.

Gospace said...

Barber's photo is not rousing.

But that's an individual judgement. YMMV.

It's probably possible to take a photo of Candice Swanepoel that isn't "rousing". I've yet to see one. Again, an individual judgement and YMMV.

Original Mike said...

"Both words are irrelevant to my comment."

That was for Althouse, not you (no offense intended).

Freeman Hunt said...

"Even the beautiful look a trifle ridiculous in Vogue poses..."

The pissed off or tired-looking model aesthetic is getting old.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Anyone else remember that old photo of Natassja Kinski, lying on her side, dressed (sort of) in a giant python and nothing else? And then the parody, with a pudgy, balding, middle-aged man (maybe a famous actor himself, though I think not) in Kinski's place? I wonder what Instagram would make of those two.

buwaya said...

"Yeah - we've all seen enough skinny pretty young babes wearing next to nothing. *yawn*
It's boring at this point."

Its nature. All these pictures of beautiful naked women are exploits of a security hole in our firmware. Its never boring, by definition, because it has to grab our attention, for us to work as we are designed.

buwaya said...

"The pissed off or tired-looking model aesthetic is getting old."

Thats because these sullen-women pictures weren't made for men. If they were, the chicks would be smiling.

buwaya said...

"The pissed off or tired-looking model aesthetic is getting old."

Thats because these sullen-women pictures weren't made for men. If they were, the chicks would be smiling.

"If a woman has no clothes on, but has her back turned or is somehow covering all of the parts people want to see, is she really naked?"

One can go mad trying to find a bright line in this fuzzy concept. My definition is based on the judgement of my anthropoid brain, that controls the membrum virile. Its designed to make these calls, integrating masses of data and returning a judgment. It is quite reliable in this, telling me whether a woman is naked enough.

buwaya said...

"Anyone else remember that old photo of Natassja Kinski, lying on her side, dressed (sort of) in a giant python and nothing else? "

Yes. Thats why everyone remembers Nastassja Kinski.

Joe Smith said...

"Yes. Thats why everyone remembers Nastassja Kinski."

Yes. That's why everyone remembers Burt Reynolds.

Ken B said...

Hard to judge. I'd need to see more pictures. Many, many more.

Amadeus 48 said...

Barber looks like she is constipated and is struggling to take a dump. More fiber in your diet, Celeste!

stevew said...

Perhaps that is what Toobin was viewing in the other window?

chickelit said...

Lena Dunham style humor.

Trashcan O Man said...

The woman on the right has a much nicer ear.

stephen cooper said...

What Ray said at 10:52 AM.

You know I think I might as well stop commenting here, there is always somebody, if a thread is long enough, who says exactly what I would have liked to say.

Although I gotta say, I have had beautiful women fall in love with me, and women who would be beautiful if they were not obese fall in love with me. Neither picture does much for me when I think of those women.

funsize said...

So if you did not know about the larger lady, she routinely mocks the ridiculousness of social media imagery of women (think model spreads, perfume ads, that sort of thing--they actresses/models are never posing in a natural way that makes sense). The fact that she is more zaftig makes it funnier. Think of those Pinterest "nailed it!" examples that in no way resemble the original. So this is parody, or some sort of derivative humor. Much like the later post about the Bee and Monty Python, the parody should not be censored if the original is not.

And it behooves all of us to gain cultural literacy, even about stupid web stuff. I go to "know your meme" regularly because I am 34 and woefully unhip.