Southern Pride

Southern Pride

By Rachel Birdsell

I’ve recently sold what little bit of soul I had left and joined Instagram. I’d resisted for awhile because I thought I was too old for it and not nearly enough of a hipster. Then, a friend of mine convinced me that I should join because it was SO MUCH FUN! Okay, he didn’t use those exact words, but he did persuade me to join. And you know what? It really is fun, and there’s an 85-year-old dude on there, so I’m definitely not too old.

I figured Instagram had some rules about what types of photos were allowed, and had I actually read the terms of service I could tell you what they were, but I never stopped to wonder whether pubic hair sticking out of your swimsuit bottom was okay to post on IG. It also never came to mind that taking a shot of your pubic hair poking out the sides of a swimsuit was photo worthy to begin with. But, fellow Instagrammer, Petra Collins, donned a pair of swimsuit bottoms, focused on her southern region and took the photo. She was subsequently banished from Instagram after other users complained. In an article she wrote for The Huffington Post, Petra states that, “The deletion of my account felt like a physical act, like the public coming at me with a razor, sticking their finger down my throat, forcing me to cover up, forcing me to succumb to society’s image of beauty.”

I think Petra may be a little dramatic about no longer being part of the Instagram community.

I’m sure the powers that be at IG don’t care if she has pubic hair that is positively voluminous, but obviously in their TOS there’s a “no pube” clause. Having hair on our genitalia shouldn’t be a big deal. We’re mammals and hair usually goes along with that. No, Petra’s pic wasn’t pornographic; it looked like she was smuggling Sacha Baron Cohen in her underwear. My complaint is that the photo was unnecessary. I get that she wanted to make a statement about feminism. I get that women are treated differently than men in society. I really get it. But what I don’t get is why Petra thought that the best way to make a point was by posting a photo that she knew probably wasn’t cool with IG, and then going overboard about how unfair it was when there were consequences. Listen ladies, we need to be feminists. Whenever we are being discriminated against, we need to shout it from the rooftops. But setting up a scenario so we can scream discrimination is disingenuous and diminishes those times when we truly are treated unfairly. So, if you want to go au naturel down south and then take pics of your fluff, more power to you. But that’s a personal matter. Let’s keep it that way.

Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer, artist and TheCuriousCrow on Instagram. You can drop her a line at

Categories: Commentary