I’m Morgan Barbour @morganbarbour. I’m a circus artist, movement director and model. I like to communicate strength and perseverance before all else. My IG started as a modeling page and has morphed into one that covers fitness, strength, and body positivity as my circus career began to become equal to my modeling career. 

I would like to hope that I’m followed largely for circus, but I acknowledge that I’m very naked on the internet and that absolutely attracts a certain following. 

I joined Instagram initially because it seemed like a far easier way of sharing my work than similar platforms such as Tumblr or Facebook. Instagram then quickly became one of my best marketing tools. At its peak I was seeing thousands of viewers on my profile a day. I have seen that engagement decrease recently, especially when I use ‘wrong’ hashtags. I’ve never been blocked but definitely shadowbanned. Engagement in hashtags went severely down (almost nonexistent), as did feed engagement. IG has me in a vice these days.

Socially (at least in USA) we are still very puritan/conservative. So much about the body positivity movement is about dismantling the patriarchal and misogynistic restraints that have been placed on female bodies for so long. I’m not surprised we’re being censored.  

I 100% think the passing of FOSTA/SESTA has affected social media.

I hope we see real change in the future. I think the upcoming generations of creatives are more progressive and more open to artistic expressions of the body and of sexuality. I think we will see a seismic shift in mainstream consciousness in the coming years where such imagery is normalised. Either current social platforms will evolve to accommodate that, or new ones will take their place. Either way I don’t think it’s possible to put yourself out there as a creative without the internet and social platforms anymore. 

Besides Instagram I use Facebook, Twitter, my own website – which brings in good traffic, I just get grumpy about politics on Twitter, and my Facebook game has actually been fire lately, despite it being the “old person social media”

I self-censor. Always have to censor my nipples and I get nervous about posting anything that might show too much bum (naked or otherwise). It also has definitely given me pause about sharing any sort of work that is even remotely sexually charged. 

Do I think female and male bodies’ content is treated the same on Instagram? 

Absolutely not. 

I’ve since changed my gender on IG to male and have seen improved engagement, so there’s that. 

Ideally I would love to see an overall de-stigmatisation of bodies on Instagram to the point where we would no longer need to label anything as NSFW or censor, but for the time being I would love to see an option of labeling posts as NSFW to give the viewer the option of viewing, rather than banning content entirely. 

 Instagram would be a better place if it focused on protecting and uplifting its users and celebrating the content they create rather than censoring and silencing them. 

  • Words @morganbarbour 2019

Photography Philipe Hernandez x3 (philipe_photographer)