What Happened When One Woman Started A Post-Mastectomy Tattoo Account On Instagram

November 19th 2015

Laura Donovan

Instagram made news for deleting and then reactivating a post-mastectomy tattoo art account by tattoo artist Amy Black.

Black's non-profit Pink Ink Fund focuses on people seeking post-mastectomy tattoos, and she told BuzzFeed Life that the account was recently removed.

When she approached Instagram about deleting the account, the brand told her in an email that her content was “sexually suggestive," which conflicts with Instagram's nudity policy.

RELATED: Women Are Fighting Sexist Double Standards on Social Media


A photo posted by Pink ink fund (@pinkinkfund) on

“It was like a sucker punch—I felt completely helpless,” Black told BuzzFeed. “Maybe they were just scrolling through accounts and saw what they perceived as natural, nude breasts without reading anything. They tout themselves as a cool social platform that engages in strong and healthy community guidelines, yet they delete a cancer charity account vs. letting soft porn and highly sexualized material still exist."

After Instagram started receiving backlash over the decision on social media, however, the company reactivated the account:


A photo posted by Pink ink fund (@pinkinkfund) on

An Instagram representative apologized on behalf of the company in a statement to BuzzFeed Life, but Black isn't so sure they won't repeat this mistake.

“Even though they reactivated my account, I hope speaking out about it will hopefully stop Instagram from doing this again and make them change their standards,” Black said.

ALSO: The Amazing Way This Breast Cancer Survivor Reclaimed Her Body

Post-mastectomy tattoos enable breast cancer survivors to reclaim their bodies. Last month, ATTN: wrote about 25-year-old breast cancer survivor Nikki Black who felt empowered by her post-mastectomy tattoos after undergoing the procedure.

"When you have breast cancer, you lose control of your body in so many ways," she said in a recent interview with BuzzFeed News. "I literally lost my breasts, lost feeling in parts of my chest, didn’t even get to keep my nipples, had to deal with a different type of pain every day, and on top of that, it’s an extremely sexualized disease."

Though she didn't want her "pre-cancer" body, she said it was important for her to feel ownership of her body.

How #FreetheNipple comes into play.

Instagram has come under fire in recent months for its double standard surrounding female nipples. The platform currently allows men to post topless photos but not females, claiming Apple's strict app rules ultimately shaped Instagram's own policy. Many women have responded to this broad censorship of female nipples by partaking in the #FreetheNipple movement.

Where Do You Stand on the Free the Nipple Controversy?

Where do you stand on the Free The Nipple controversy?http://bit.ly/1TMmUcF

Posted by ATTN: on Sunday, August 16, 2015

ALSO: This Guy Just Challenged Instagram's Nipple Policy in a Very Clever Way

Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Chrissy Teigen, and Scout Willis have all called out Instagram's nipple policy.

Teigen, whose magazine photoshoot image of her breast was removed from Instagram earlier this year, told Mashable in a recent interview that she hopes to make a point that female nipples should not incite controversy in the first place.

"The fact that I have to censor myself from my photo at all when there are full-on porn being shot across Twitter and Instagram every day is crazy," Teigen said. "But women are beautiful and if it's a beautiful photo that isn't vulgar, then who cares?"