Yellowknife, NWT – Facebook photos being ‘stolen’ from your profile is not unheard-of. But Inemesit Graham figured her stomach photos were safe.
Graham, 28, has a condition known as diastasis recti – or abdominal separation – which can affect some pregnant women.
After the birth of her second child, Graham set up a Facebook page named Mummy Fitness to highlight her efforts to recover from the condition through exercise, strengthening her core to repair her separated abdominal muscles.
“Lots of places said the only option was surgery and I didn’t want that,” Graham told Moose FM. “I thought there must be another way. So I started exercising to make it better, and it began to improve.
“I started a Facebook page and took progress photos showing ‘before’ and how my body and stomach have developed since. Lots of women come to the page because it’s hard to find information about diastasis recti.”
Earlier this week, Graham returned from skating with her three-year-old to find a sea of Facebook messages. Her ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos had turned up somewhere completely different, without her knowledge.
They were used by a website named Madame Noire – which calls itself “a passionate, cutting-edge web publication geared towards African American women” – to illustrate an article about waist training.
Waist training is nothing to do with diastasis recti. Waist training can involve, for example, the use of a corset to artificially slim down by applying pressure to the waist.
Yet Madame Noire – which has more than 600,000 Facebook fans – implied Graham’s photos of her body were an example of what happens when waist training goes wrong.
— MadameNoire (@MadameNoire) October 27, 2014
No attempt had been made to speak to Graham before publication.
“The first I heard was when I was getting tagged on all these posts,” said Graham. “Another site had picked it up, so it was on two websites, all showing my image and saying, ‘This girl wore a waist cinch and look what happened to her stomach.’
“If you put something on Facebook then you don’t have a lot of say if someone takes that – but just be clear that it’s about diastasis recti, which affects a lot of women and is something people don’t speak about, and often people are embarrassed to show pictures of it.”
Graham spent the rest of the day trying to correct people who had commented beneath Madame Noire’s article.
“It was kind-of annoying reading the comments. People were commenting based on what the post was saying. ‘Why would someone do this to themselves? This isn’t natural.’
“I know I didn’t do anything to my body except have a child, but it annoys me because I don’t want other women to see that and think, ‘Oh, my stomach looks like that,’ and not talk about it and hide.
“Or to think they have to go and pay 30 grand for a tummy tuck they may not necessarily need.”
Madame Noire did not respond to a request for comment. At the time of writing, Graham’s images appear to have been withdrawn from the article, but not the corresponding social media posts.
“They used my picture because it was the most dramatic they could find, and lots of people responded based on that picture,” said Graham.
“I think it should be corrected and they should at least say this was a mistake.”
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