Throughout this past year, there have been many Facebook’s “mistakes” when it comes to plus size women trying to share empowering messages on the social media site. Numerous posts were blocked or banned because their content was deemed “inappropriate” by the website. For at least a little while, it seemed as if the problem had ended. That is, until plus size model and body positive advocate Melinda Parrish had her own message blocked for being “inappropriate.”
In a post written for the Huffington Post, Parrish explains that on October 28, she did a Facebook Live post, discussing her thoughts on weight loss and how it is not the sole purpose of life. In it, she encouraged viewers to focus on living their life to the fullest, without worrying so much about their size. The problem, however, did not start until Parrish tried to “boost” her post, so that it would be seen by even more people and find encouragement to love themselves—and had her request denied. The reason? A Facebook representative told her the request was denied because her ad was “offensive” since some users are sensitive when it comes to the topic of weight loss.
While this may be true, Parrish went on to point out the countless ads Facebook features that talk about the ways women can “improve” their bodies—through diet pills, detox plans, and special clothing—that could also be seen as offensive to people. Yet, these ads can be seen everywhere on the website with no problems. So, how is it they consider a message about loving yourself to be worst than ads encouraging you to change your body? It is this double standard that Facebook has for posts that get shared that is the root of the problem.
As far as Facebook “mistakes” go, this is hardly the first time a body positivity advocate has been blocked from sharing their message. In May, a photo of Tess Holliday was banned for depicting an “undesirable” image, even though it was for a body positivity event. In June a photo of Aarti Olivia in a bikini was removed from Facebook-owned Instagram. In August, a Curvy Kate advertisement was also removed by Facebook. Each time for similar reasons, and each time Facebook backtracked, undoing the ban, and claiming it was a “mistake.”
While Facebook may be a great way to connect with people from all over the world, it is an extremely fat-phobic platform, as Tess Holliday said earlier this year. They continually block plus size women from sharing body positive messages, while allowing other ads and companies to share their own fat-shaming messages with no problems. It is time that the Facebook “mistakes” end, and that the company takes a serious look at how they handle things because all they are doing is pushing users away. Still, advocates like Melinda Parrish refuse to let Facebook stop them from sharing their messages about body acceptance and positivity and continue to fight for a change in Facebook’s standards.