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Instagram Blames Apple for Not Freeing the Nipple; We’re Not Buying It

free the nipple

As breast-havers on social media have been demanding that Instagram #FreeTheNipple and get rid of their arbitrary, gendered rules banning images of nipples on breasts, Instagram has been listening. And now…they’re ready to shift the blame.

According to Mic, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom blames Apple’s policies for how they’re “forced” to operate at Instagram, saying that it’s the Apple Store’s rules about content that ties their hands, lest they not be offered in the store anymore. Apparently, the Apple Store only allows full nudity on apps rated 17+, and Instagram is rated 12+. However, Apple not only houses Instagram, but Twitter, which is rated 4+, and the two companies have handled issues of nudity very differently, as Mic points out:

Twitter, for example, is rated 4+, but peruse the platform for a few minutes and you’ll notice something — it’s full of naked bodies, nipples included. There are porn accounts galore, as well as videos and photos of nudity. Yet Apple hasn’t brought down the hammer on CEO Jack Dorsey and company.

Something’s hypocritical in the state of Denmark.

Even more troubling to me, however, is the very idea that breasts and their nipples are deemed “adult content” at all. That the mere sight of a bare breast is considered sexual and inappropriate, but men can jog topless in the park, and it’s totally fine.

Some of you might still be thinking, “but breasts are just different.” I’d advise you to watch this awesome video above that brings up the following points:

  1. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, men were expected to wear one-piece bathing suits on the beach, because it was considered inappropriate to see their nipples.
  2. Clark Gable became the first man to appear topless in a film in 1934’s It Happened One Night, causing a national firestorm of controversy.
  3. Men got tired of not being able to show their nipples, so they complained. Now, seeing men topless is commonplace.
  4. If bare-breasted people are relegated to sexual outlets like strip clubs and porn sites, is it any wonder that we only see breasts as sexual and “inappropriate?”

Not to mention the hypocrisy of the fact that women are so objectified that pretty much the entire breast can be visible on magazine covers, on TV, in film, and out the side of couture dresses, but stopping at the nipple gives those who uphold a patriarchal system a false semblance of “standards.” Well, sure most of that breast is hanging out – but at least there’s no nipple!

A trans woman named Courtney Demone is taking #FreeTheNipple one step further with #DoIHaveBoobsNow. She will document her breast growth as she proceeds with her hormone replacement therapy in photos on social media to mark the point at which Instagram and Facebook will deem her breasts inappropriate. It’s an interesting project, and Demone has talked about the fact that losing the privilege of being able to sit out in the sun with no shirt on coupled with the impending restrictions she will face as she grows into a more feminine body highlight the sexism and hypocrisy of these gendered rules.

Breasts are not genitals, people, nor are they exclusively sexual in nature. #FreeTheNipple

(Image via RJ Katthöfer on Flickr)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former Mary Sue assistant editor from 2015-18. Teresa's returned to play in the TMS sandbox as a freelancer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.