Why We Support Chelsea Handler Quitting Instagram

With Rihanna’s return to Instagram this past weekend, it only seems appropriate that there should be accompanying scandal in regards to the ridiculous and totally backwards policy guidelines of the photo sharing app. This time, however, instead of Rihanna, it was Chelsea Handler who joined the ranks of celebs, such as Cara Delevingne and Rumor Willis, to contest the disproportionate censorship of women’s bodies Instagram strictly enforces. Ms. Handler posted this photo on Thursday, to her 1 million (willing) followers:


The post depicts the comedian riding a horse topless, next to a photo of Russian president, Vladimir Putin. She captioned it, “Anything a man can do, a woman has the right to do better #kremlin.”

Instagram promptly deleted the picture, which Handler then posted again, with the following message,”Taking this down is sexist. I have every right to prove I have a better body than Putin.”

The app once again refused to allow Handler to share her boobs with the world. To which she responded by uploading the photo a third time, saying, “If Instagram takes this down again, you’re saying Vladimir Putin Has more 1st amendment rights than me. Talk to your bosses.”

The photo was then deleted a third time. Now, some people have been saying that Instagram’s overt, if not flat out aggressive, refusal to allow an adult, successful, woman to show her boobs was obvious. I, perhaps naively, am genuinely confused about the intensity of Instagram’s policy enforcement. Chelsea Handler is a competent and intelligent entertainer, who unabashedly has a reputation for adult, sometimes even-gasp-vulgar humor, and has never marketed herself to an underage audience. She made a conscious choice to share her own body with her followers who, once again, CHOOSE to view her photos. A part of her body which, if she had been a man, would have been 10000% fine to share.

Ms. Handler posted a screenshot of her censorship notification from Instagram, articulating the strangeness of the situation as seen below:

She then announced her formal boycott of the app, captioning a final post of her two dogs, with, “You can now find my dogs and my breasts on Twitter only where my followers have the right to choose what they say. Bye bye instablock.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am as addicted to my Instagram as the next girl. I love the personal nature of the app, and how it allows for some creativity and artistry when stalking your fave celebrities/fashion brands/magazines. But the blatant sexism in an app with 200 million users, half of which are women, is both weird and alarming. Besides, Chelsea’s boobs looked f***ing fantastic, who on Earth wouldn’t want those to be shared. Still team Chelsea, forever and always.

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