You may have seen in recent tweets if you follow me, The Psoriasis Association, Get Your Skin Out or the numerous other Psoriasis awareness raisers out there that Instagram have started blocking certain Psoriasis hashtags. So that’s not the images themselves, just the hashtags to stop people being able to search by them. Why? Well there is no reason given and there is a campaign, led by The Psoriasis Association to get Instagram to answer. My assumption on the reason will be that someone didn’t like what they saw so have complained. Rather than looking into it, it seems someone at Instagram, or maybe it’s just an automatic process, have blocked hashtags. I hope it’s an auto process and there isn’t someone at Instagram who actually thinks we should be hiding, that would be a very sorry state of affairs.
In a world obsessed by body image this isn’t that surprising. We are told every day we must look perfect. Unfortunately world, we don’t and what a boring world it would be if we were all perfect. It takes some people years to come to terms with their skin whether it be psoriasis, acne, eczema, vertiligo to any other skin condition you can think of. It’s not just those with skin conditions. there are people out there for other reasons that do not fit the perceived definition of normal or beautiful. The reality is that our differences are what makes us beautiful. It took me over ten years to start showing my skin in public after years of thinking people are staring at me. The reason I started showing my skin more is to show it is normal.
Going back to the hashtag censoring though I just cannot make any sense of this. Why the hashtag and why not the image. Has someone really seen a picture of psoriasis and said “Oh the picture is okay but I really don’t like you saying Psoriasis or PsoriasisAwareness. I just don’t get it. Why would you stop us trying to raises awareness of a condition. You do realise the main people that search for these terms are those with it, working in healthcare or know someone who has this condition. Why stop them finding resources? Are there really people out there going “I want to be offended today, I know I don’t like people raising awareness of psoriasis so I’ll just search #PsoriasisAwareness”?
So dear Instagram, in your own way you are trying to censor us or our skin, I’m still not sure entirely what your point is as you won’t answer. In a funny way I wish it was as easy as censoring psoriasis, if I could censor it from my skin I would. Not sure if you realise this but I do not actually enjoy living with this condition, putting on lots of topical greasy treatments, flaking everywhere I go. Nature gave me this condition, it is not something you can just censor and hope it goes away. We are not living in the dark ages any more, there are no leper colonies to ship us off to so the “beautiful people” do not have to see us. In fact, if you consider yourself beautiful and are offended by the sight of psoriasis then maybe you need to look in the mirror, look deep inside yourself and see just how ugly you are inside.
I will not apologies that I do not fit your standards of beauty. I will not apologise if my skin offends you. If you would just like to speak to Mother Nature, God, whichever deity you think runs this world and ask them why they gave us this then please do. We did not choose to have a skin condition, it was given to us. Being bigoted or racist are decisions you make and there is plenty of that not getting blocked on social media. So I ask again, why censor something that is natural? We are not freaks, we are an amazing community of people who live with a chronic condition every single day of our lives and will continue to grow confident and will remain some of the most beautifully different people in this world.
What can we do to fight this? Well we could all delete our Instagram accounts. That means they win, whoever was offended by an image of psoriasis is proven to be right and that we should hide away. No, we don’t hide, we give an even bigger presence on social media, we tell the world we exist and you cannot just ignore us. The Psoriasis Association have started a campaign to gain a response from Instagram on the subject and I would be grateful if you would share this campaign and sign. Details are here. There are instances of censorship on Facebook too, although it seems more prevalent on Instagram. These are two of the biggest social media platforms in the world and sadly without them it makes it difficult to spread awareness.
For those with the condition, remember that no matter what Instagram or Facebook may do you are never alone, you have millions of friends out there and it is full of some of the most amazing people you could ever meet.
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