Nipple-Advocates Hack Sexist Internet Breast Censorship
Frustrated by the double standard for online female nudity, Instagram users have a creative solution to #FreeTheNipple.
image via (cc) flickr user shuttercat
Nipples—everybody’s got them. But just because we’re all sporting a pair doesn’t mean all nipples are treated equally, especially not on the internet. Here, sites like Facebook and Instagram are totally cool with users flashing male-nips to their heart’s content, but insist on censoring the nearly indistinguishable female counterparts, save for “photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding,” according to Instagram’s community guidelines (nude sculpture and paintings are evidently cool, too).
Many have labeled these types of policies as sexist, claiming they create a double standard for what is ostensibly a unisex body part—one which can be perfectly legal for both men and women to bare in public, but not on a personal Instagram account. In light of these user rules, the #FreeTheNipple movement has sprung up to both highlight the absurdity of the policies, as well as advocate for a more equitable nipple stance moving forward. And while the movement has its share of high profile supporters, like comic Chelsea Handler and pop star Miley Cyrus, who broadcast their #FreeTheNipple messages to millions of fans, some activists have taken a slightly more grassroots route toward change, using a DIY photoshop hack to circumvent the female-only restriction, simply by replacing a woman’s nipples with those of a man.
It’s been a year, reportsMashable, since artist and professor Micol Hebron slyly posted a simple template on his Facebook page, urging users to copy, resize, and replace any “offending female nipples” with this largely indistinguishable, but Facebook-approved male counterpart.
image via micol hebron/facebook
Since then, the #FreeTheNipple movement has taken off in a big way, and Hebron’s suggestion that frustrated nipple-advocates simply swap female papilla for male ones is now a full-fledged viral sensation. Across Facebook and Instagram, users have begun covering one set of nipples with another, “more appropriate” pair, calling to attention the absurdity of the female-only ban.
This one was reported again. So here it is with two MALE NIPPLES stickers that I put on to cover my illegal FEMALE NIPPLES! So now you can't say shit, this is so fucking wrong and this is not equality. #malenipples #freethenipple #freethenipplecampaign #freethenipple2015 #female #femalenipples #my #body #natural #fucksexism #sexism #feminist #feminism #bw #covered #with #nipplestickers #tydligen #buzzfeed ! @freethenipple
A photo posted by ♀a l i n e n i l s s o n♀ (@alinenilsson) on
A photo posted by SGT Nip(ple) © (@nipple313) on
A photo posted by Pawel Taranowski (@paweltaranowski) on
A photo posted by Amanda Allander (@manda_allander) on
It remains to be seen whether sly workarounds such as this will actually cause a substantive change in the user guidelines of sites with the restrictive ban.
For now, though, nipples—both male and female—don’t seem to be going anywhere.