Meghan Tonjes is a singer and songwriter who frequently posts videos of her songs on YouTube. she also often posts a “vlog” (a video blog, that is) in which she answers questions from her viewers, or sounds off on various topics of interest. But she found sudden internet fame last week because of a picture she posted on Instagram.
Well, actually, it wasn’t the picture that made Meghan Tonjes go viral. It was what Instagram did about it. The popular social photo-sharing site removed the picture, saying it violated their content standards.
What was this offensive photo posted by Meghan Tonjes? It was photo of a kind seen with great frequency on Instagram and elsewhere online, in context that would be PG rated at best.
Meghan posted a photo of her butt.
The photo was not a nude shot, and in fact was no different than many of the “belfies” — the increasingly popular genre of “butt selfies” — that appear online, including on Instagram. In fact, self-styled fitness expert Jen Selter has built her entire career on her Instagram belfies.
So we ask you, is this Meghan Tonjes belfie, which she posted as part of her series documenting the progress of her 70-pound weight loss project…
…significantly different from this belfie from Instagram butt queen Jen Selter?
Meghan Tonjes believes she knows the difference. Here she is in her latest online video explaining it.
The bottom line, so to speak, is that Meghan Tonjes is “plus-size.” In fact, the title of her own vlog is F.A.T., which, she says, stands for “Frequently Asked Tonjes.” But the pun is obvious. Tonjes says that her belfie was censored, while dozens of others, such as Jen Selter’s, have not been, simply because of her size — a characteristic which she doesn’t try to hide. Quite the opposite. Meghan Tonjes is outspoken in her advocacy of positive body image for all women.
“I have no shame, I’ve posted photos along my weight loss and transformation of me in gym clothes,” says Tonjes in the above video. “In underwear, just photos of parts of my body that I’m super happy with and I’m super proud of and I’ve embraced getting older. I have pride for my curves. My still very fat body, I like a lot.”
But the story has a happy ending. After an online outcry, Instagram took another look at the Meghan Tonjes butt shot and admitted that it made a mistake, restoring the photo.
“We try hard to find a good balance between allowing people to express themselves creatively and keeping Instagram a fun and safe place,” the social media company said in a statement. “Our guidelines put limitations on nudity and mature content, but we recognize that we don’t always get it right. In this case, we made a mistake and have since restored the content.”
Meghan Tonjes was happy with the victory, calling Instagram’s mea culpa “awesome” and declaring, “It’s a proud moment for my butt!”