"support team has determined that a violation did take place"
British charity, Binti International, was banned on Twitter for posting an image of a uterus.
Both Facebook and Instagram have not had an issue with the image.
However, Twitter’s ban continues their censorship of period, anatomical, female health and education posts which have caused outrage among women and pro-women followers of the platform previously.
On March 30, 2021, Binti International posted an image of a uterus that many of us may have never seen before.
The caption read: “#PostMenopausal #Uterus The strength of a woman.
“Every girl deserves dignity. Period. #PeriodDignity #SmashShame #PeriodMologues #ILovePeriods.”
The account was later blocked and future posts were banned.
The charity received an email from Twitter stating that the image was in violation of their rules, specifically:
“Violating their rules against posting media depicting gratuitous gore.”
The charity appealed, saying that the image was educational and allowed under Twitter guidelines. Twitter wrote back saying:
“Our support team has determined that a violation did take place, and therefore we will not overturn our decision.”
This has left Binti International without a platform for which to talk about, connect people globally and share their voice as a charitable organisation.
In 2020, founder Manjit K Gill MBE was honoured by the Queen for services to the provision of menstrual products to women.
In 2019, the government set up a ‘Period Poverty Taskforce’ to tackle the issue of period poverty and wider stigma around menstruation in the UK.
Binti International was asked to convene and lead the effort to eradicate the taboo of menstruation. However, they cannot celebrate their educational output on Twitter.
There have been previous cases of alleged violations on social media.
In 2019, gynaecologist and acclaimed author Jen Gunter criticised Twitter for its censorship after her publisher was unable to use the word vagina in promotional advertisements for her new book.
She publicly asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey why her publisher was unable to run paid advertising for the book, given that vagina is “an anatomical term”.
Twitter are not the only social media platform to incorrectly align women’s health and anatomy with “violation of rules”.
In 2015, Instagram censored and banned artist Rupi Kaur’s piece showing stained underwear and bedsheets.
She responded: “Thank you Instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. you deleted my photo twice stating that it goes against community guidelines… when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified, pornified, and treated less than human, thank you.”
Facebook previously banned an advert by Australian period underwear brand ModiBodi, saying it violated guidelines regarding “shocking, sensational, inflammatory or excessively violent content”.
Its ‘The New Way to Period’ campaign was intended to normalise the reality of menstruation, using the colour red to represent blood more accurately.
Manjit K Gill MBE, founder of Binti International, said:
“This is the 21st Century, it’s 2021! We are still fighting the same war and it’s unjust!”
“Our vision is to ensure that all girls and women have menstrual dignity across all walks of life and we do this via education.
We pride ourselves on ensuring our posts remain educational, factual, and create awareness for
people to understand menstruation – a normal part of every woman’s life.
“Most of the PMS humour and lack of knowledge comes from never talking about menstruation or the impact it has on our lives.
“Seeing an actual Uterus allows us to understand what this glorious organ goes through month after month and how it affects us.
“Most of us can draw a penis but how many of us know what a uterus looks like let alone name the parts of it?
“Why is it ok to show breasts and sexualise women but not to show a uterus?”.
Binti International is celebrating seven years of its work with a vision to create a world where all women have menstrual dignity.
From the beginning, it has tackled period shame, with clear and concise positive language to ensure it remains an organisation that doesn’t shy away from creating the change that we need to eradicate stigma and taboo.