Curvy Blogger Angry That Her Bikini Photo Was Taken Down by Instagram: 'It's Blatant Fat-Phobia'

"I believe the photo was flagged by people who cannot handle the sight of three fat confident women in swimwear," Aarti Olivia Dubey tells PEOPLE

Photo: Courtesy Aarti Olivia Dubey

Curves Become Her blogger Aarti Olivia Dubey posted a photo of herself and two friends wearing bikinis on Instagram – and she was outraged when Instagram removed the photo for “violating community standards” after it was repeatedly flagged by other users.

“I believe the photo was flagged after getting reported by trolls and people who cannot handle the sight of three fat confident women in swimwear,” Dubey, 34, tells PEOPLE. “It’s blatant fat-phobia.”

Dubey was initially sad when she found out that the photo was removed – but that soon changed to anger.

“It made me feel really bad at first, it felt like a rejection,” she says. “But the unfair removal of the image despite it not violating guidelines also made me really angry.”

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Instagram later issued an apology to Dubey, saying that removing the photo was a staff error.

“I do not accept Instagram’s apology,” she says. “Their reasoning of it having been a mistake by staff was just not believable, especially since my post was not the first in the plus-size community to be flagged.”

The Singapore-based blogger believes her experience is indicative of a larger societal problem with accepting women of diverse body types.

“It shows a preference to a certain type of plus-size bodies – the kinds that have no cellulite or have been airbrushed; the hourglass silhouette,” she says. “So while perfection is being challenged and we are told to ‘be ourselves,’ it appears to come with conditions.”

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