Instagram’s New Guidelines: “Female Nipples” Only Allowed in Breastfeeding Photos

On Thursday, Instagram released its new Community Guidelines that attempt to better deal with the whole nudity thing. We can report that there’s some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the social media app is finally explicitly allowing photos of breastfeeding. In the past, the guidelines used vague language, with phrases such as “keep your clothes on” and “be respectful,” and we certainly think that specifically outlining that breastfeeding photos are now allowed (just like its parent company Facebook does) is a win. BUT—and it’s a big but—Instagram still bans photos of “female nipples” (see below). Although the app has been criticized time and time again for this­—by the public, media, and especially by celebrities such as Chelsea Handler, Madonna, Miley Cyrus, and many others who like to get their kit off­­­—it still hasn’t gotten the “free the nipple” memo. And in the wake of the Rupi Kaur menstruating photo fiasco, you would think Instagram would be a little more sensitive to what its users want.

“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.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, Nicky Jackson Colaco, Instagram’s director of public policy defended these new tightly-worded guidelines, saying “How do we establish a baseline around nudity when you have hundreds of millions of users? We need to create a standard that most people can live by.” That’s all good and well, but banning “female” nipples as opposed to ALL nipples is a slap in the face to us girls. This gender-specific bullying has got to stop. #FreeTheNipple


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