Instagram versus the female nipple

The #FreeTheNipple movement has recently been battling against a very popular app. Instagram has come under great scrutiny for its censorship policy, which forbids users from posting photos of topless women, in particular, their nipples.

 

Instagram is currently rated appropriate for people aged 12+ and is claiming that Apple’s App Store allows nudity only in apps rated 17+. Therefore, any photos posted displaying female nipples are taken down as soon as they’re brought to the attention of Instagram.

 

However, male nipples are not included in this censorship policy. To the extent that women who photoshopped male nipples over their own and uploaded the pictures were not found in violation of the policy. Orange is the New Black actor and gender equality activist Matt McGorry showed his support to #FreeTheNipple by uploading his own topless image to Instagram. In which he photoshopped the nipples of Miley Cyrus and Chrissy Teigen, both of whom had topless photos removed, over his own. His photo remains, untouched by Instagram’s policy.

 

“We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram,” the policy reads. “It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK.”

 

Miley Cyrus is very familiar with Instagram’s censorship, having had several topless, nipple exhibiting pictures removed in the last year. This hasn’t stopped her, if anything it has poured fuel on her fire. She made a record for the Free the Nipple movie and told Jimmy Kimmel that people who wear clothes are “kind of assholes”.

 

Rihanna didn’t return to Instagram for six months after being temporarily suspended for showing her nipples. Kendall Jenner had a photo removed which showed her nipples through a sheer top walking her first ever catwalk. Chrissy Teigen took to Twitter saying, “the nipple has temporarily been silenced but she will be back, oh yes, she will be back,” after a photo of her posing for W Magazine’s “Privacy Settings” social media spread was removed. Ironic.

 

#FreeTheNipple means so much more than the protection of topless Instagram photographs, it strives to abolish society’s objectification of women and the oversexualization of their breasts. Men’s nipples are not policed how women’s are. It is the same body part treated in two drastically different ways. Surely women deserve the same treatment as men, considering they nurture a child with their “offensive” and “graphic” nipples.

 

A nipple is just a nipple. It’s time to let them be free, accept them and the body they belong to, regardless of its gender.

 

Alana Laverty

Image credit: Instagram

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