Rosemary Mitford-Taylor explores the sour topic of Instagram’s gender-discriminating censorship

Gather ‘round and let me tell you a story fraught with contradictory rules, passion for freedom of expression, and, of course, Instagram. That’s right, my friends: it’s time to talk about nipples.

It’s no news ash that our society is irrationally afraid of feminine nudity whilst simultaneously centring so much of our advertising and media around it. The sexualisation of nude bodies, particularly those belonging to people who present as female, has a long and heavily awed history in our society.


Now I know this concept may seem ~shocking~ but hear me out: there is NOTHING inherently sexual about being naked. We are all born naked, and beneath these pieces of fabric we cover ourselves in, our naked bodies are always there.

Alright, so our world has much further to go before our society freely accepts nudity as a natural part of us, but we take it to another level of ridiculousness when we are censoring people’s nipples. The reason boobs exist is to store milk in order to feed babies. That’s. It. They’re certainly not there to be sexual in spite of how much our society has twisted us into perceiving them that way. I feel like it’s not too much to ask to stop the absurdity of trying to police whose nipples we are permitted to see on our Instagram timelines.

For those who are yet to get involved in the world of the ‘Gram, here’s a quick rundown. Instagram is a social networking site where the user can create an account on which they can post photos or videos with captions to give followers a taste of their life. This is all part of the beauty of the site — the freedom to post however and whenever you like to whoever you like. It’s this freedom that makes Instagram the place to be, with over 800 million active users each month, and it’s more of this freedom that the world needs.

The fact is that Instagram remains insistent in its censorship of “female” nipples, but never bats an eye at a topless male-presenting body. This means that the site will take down photos with nipples of people who present as female in them on the grounds that it qualifies as ‘inappropriate content’!

There are plenty of people who have drawn attention to this double standard within our society with the #freethenip movement, but also specifically on Instagram itself. A great example is the account @genderlessnipples who post close-up photos of people’s nipples to showcase how impossible it is to differentiate between nipples on any kind of body.

Like it or not — and I know there are people who don’t — our world is changing for the better. The internet’s hyper-fast information sharing creates the ability to connect minds from all over the world and gain an understanding of people who experience the world differently from us.

It’s not just morally the right thing to do to be a part of this positive movement, but also simply a smart business move. Am I speaking your language yet, Instagram? More people will be more likely to stay on your site if you take a stand and lead by example. Let’s free the nip!