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Singer and body-positive personality Meghan Tonjes

Singer and body-positive personality Meghan Tonjes

I first developed a crush on Meghan Tonjes when I heard her incredible singing on YouTube (check out her ridiculously beautiful cover of Wrecking Ball here). Little did I know at the time that she’s also a body-positive vlogger and all-around badass.  [Ed. Note: I also just fell in love with Meghan because of this video. She is incredibly smart and articulate. – Lora]

Tonjes recently ran into some trouble with Instagram when the social networking site removed a picture she had posted of her butt (fully covered by underwear), saying it violated their community guidelines against mature content—despite the fact that the picture doesn’t really contain nudity, and that you can find tons of bikini-clad butts all over the site.

She suspected that the reason her photo had been removed had something to do with her plus-sized figure, so Tonjes posted an awesome video rebuttal (no pun intended) on YouTube.

She first explained the importance of the photo and what it represents.

“I want you to think of how many big girls you see—on the internet, on television, in magazines—wearing bathing suits, lingerie, shorts, dresses, tight-fitting clothing, who aren’t openly mocked, who aren’t torn apart as being disgusting, who aren’t made to believie that when they wear the exact same clothing as people with thinner bodies in the same social situations that they are disgusting and should hide themselves. And now you have the answer as to why a lot of girls who look like me (and by a lot I mean not very many) post pictures of themselves showing their thighs or their stomach or parts that other women and other people show proudly and are never questioned on.”

The photo was actually removed after someone used the site’s “report” feature. But she believes Instagram has a responsibility to make sure that feature isn’t overused. She also calls out the site on its hypocrisy in allowing images of barely-covered thinner bodies while taking down her photo.

“You have the opportunity to be a platform where people can engage in a very body-positive community… I would hope that it’s a goal of yours as a platform to make sure that close-minded, ignorant and hateful people don’t abuse your report feature…
Daddy Instagram either needs to come in and say ‘okay, anything that causes impure thoughts—, anything above the knee, any picture of a model, a fitspiration site, Playboy’s Instagram, anything where someone’s on a beach and not wearing a snowsuit—these are all inappropriate and don’t go with our community guidelines,’ and then take all of those photos down. Or they need to start protecting the people who use their sites, of all sizes, of all bodies. I don’t like double standards. I don’t like when a site doesn’t take direct action to define its own rules and to enforce those rules fairly. I don’t like it.”

Tonjes ends with a non-apology to the haters:

“I’m sorry that I make you uncomfortable. My body’s not an apology. I don’t really care.

We’d follow her any day. Watch the video in full here:

Jillian Bell is a freelance writer who lives in Toronto.