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Recent #FreetheNipple Campaign Fails to Credit the Artist Who Started It

Most likely NSFW. Thanks, patriarchy.

The Internet has a history of shaming while simultaneously commoditizing women, and nowhere is that perhaps more evident than in Facebook and Instagram’s policy of censoring the nipples on people with breasts.

It’s important to note, of course, that this gendered double standard doesn’t just harm cis women; many non-binary, genderqueer, or trans users (some of whom have also had to contend with Facebook’s ridiculous “real name” policy) are also impacted.

You may have seen a post floating around the Internet recently suggesting a loophole for fighting back against nipple prejudice:

Micol Hebron

A photo posted by Our Lady J (@ourladyj) on

The nipple template has been used in countless posts to poke fun at Instagram and Facebook’s casual sexism, but, like so many great ideas on the Internet (particularly women’s ideas), it’s also been incorrectly attributed.

Artist Micol Hebron took to Facebook last week to say that the recent trend copied a piece of work she posted in 2014:

TBT to that time, over a year ago (June 2014) that I posted an image of male nipple and told everyone to put it over images of female nipples to make them ‘internet acceptable’….and then my “idea-that-someone-else-will-make-a-lot-of-money-off-of-#244” went viral this week, via someone else’s visualization (using the very same image). Sigh.

Hebron explained to The Daily Dot,

I made a post on Facebook (and it was recirculated on Instagram) on June 7, 2014 with the same image (it is the publicly available ‘male nipple’ image from wiki-media), and nearly the same language.

The language of my original post was: ‘Here you go – you can use this to make any photo of a topless woman acceptable for the interwebs! Use this ‘acceptable (male) nipple template’, duplicate, resize and paste as needed, to cover the offending female nipples, with socially acceptable male nipples (like a digital pasty). You’re welcome.’

Although it’s exciting to see so many people standing up to social media’s double standards, it’s important to also give nipple credit where it’s due–and for cis Internet users to remember that our freedom doesn’t need to come at the expense of LGBTQ+ social media members.

(via Daily Dot)

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