The real reason every female nipple post gets wiped from Instagram – other than ingrained sexism and unfair bias – has remained a slight mystery. The social media app has now confirmed why you can't upload a photo of a naked nipple (unless it's male) or even search for #FreeTheNipple.
Even though Naomi Campbell's recent #FreeTheNipple attempt was online for a whopping 20 hours (a VERY long time for Instagram's standards), the app's CEO Kevin Systrom has clarified that its community guidelines, which restrict female nipples, are here to stay. And it's because of Apple.
In what's been a super overdue clarification, at a talk last week, Stystrom said that because of the App Store's regulations, every app needs an age rating. Therefore, every app has to abide by the rating system, and if an app contains nudity, it has to be rated 17+.
Whether this system works or not (many agree it really doesn't) doesn't matter. The CEO would prefer Instagram remain at its current rating of 12+, to attract a younger audience.
But isn't it Instagram's responsibility to provide users with a fair service? Should it allow female nipples on its pages even if the rating shoots up by five years? Or is Apple to blame?
Even though #FreeTheNipple has become cause for thought for millions worldwide as well as a whole range of stars – Cara Delevigne, Suki Waterhouse, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus and Scout Willis to name a few – it's unlikely the restrictive guidelines are going to end. After all, Apple holds enough power to fuel a small planet.
The clarity of the guidelines still remains up for debate though. Instagram's nudity policy seems more flippant than all my ex-boyfriends, seeming to apply sometimes and not others.
For example, when women have photoshopped male nipples onto their own, their photos do not get removed. Similarly, Orange is the New Black's Matt McGorry did the same with female nips and there was no violation.
But other types of "nudity" does get scrutinized. Feminist photographer Petra Collins has had her Instagram account totally removed after posting a photo with her pubes showing. And, I mean, this isn't exactly offensive nudity is it? Pubes are perhaps the most natural occurrence to a developed human body and Instagram bans them to save their rating?
And there's more to refute Instagram's claims. Twitter, despite having an age rating of 4+, has very loose nudity rules. You might have noticed that Scout Willis's #FreeTheNipple tweet was never removed, and that's because the app doesn't discriminate against nipples of any kind. Or most nudity for that matter.
There are countless porn accounts on Twitter, including those of porn actors who advertize their pages with nudes. But Apple doesn't seem to be scrutinizing them for it like it is for Instagram.
The real deep-rooted issue here is persistant patriarchy preventing women's bodies from being treated the same as men's. And tbh, I've never wanted to get my nipples out in public more than now.
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