Instagram sort of frees the nipple, but not really

The photo-sharing app will now allow breastfeeding images, but still restricts photos of "female nipples"

By Jenny Kutner
Published April 17, 2015 8:28PM (EDT)
            (<a href=''>Dmytro Vietrov</a> via <a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)
(Dmytro Vietrov via Shutterstock)

In a single move, Instagram has managed both to expand its notoriously restrictive policy on exposed female nipples and, at the same time, announce an "updated" policy that remains totally discriminatory!

The photo-sharing app shared its new community guidelines on Thursday, which outline in stronger, more specific language what sorts of images users can and cannot post. In the past, Instagram's rules were vague -- with phrases such as "be respectful" -- but the app has followed the lead of parent company Facebook and updated its guidelines to allow certain partial nudity -- specifically, breastfeeding. But otherwise, Instagram is still banning images of topless women.

From the new guidelines:

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. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. 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, too.

Instagram has not offered an explanation for why female nipples are singled out, and seems content to continue offering up half-assed apologies for censorship. The app will likely continue to be criticized by the likes of Chelsea Handler, Scout Willis and Miley Cyrus.

Jenny Kutner

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