Kathryn Lindsay
October 08, 2015 11:43 am

With all the controversy around Instagram’s rules involving nudity, and movements like #FreeTheNipple getting steadily stronger, it would make sense for Instagram to create a place where these kinds of things were deemed appropriate, aka, an R-rated Instagram. Even co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom mentioned in a Vanity Fair interview that there had been “discussions” of the concept. But yesterday, Systrom confirmed that it was not to be.

The news broke at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit in San Francisco. When speaking to Katie Couric, Systrom explained that “the question becomes, who decides what’s R-rated?” That’s the main problem. A lot of times, what people find inappropriate is subjective, so it would be hard to find a baseline that reliably distinguishes the two apps.

This may disappoint a lot of people, but an Instagram spokesperson told NBC News that this idea was never a possibility in the first place. They claim that what was said by Systrom in the Vanity Fair article was taken out of context.

Okay, so no R-rated Instagram. Then that lets us focus on the issue that started it all: nudity on Instagram. The rules are so vague that, in execution, it sometimes seems arbitrary and even discriminatory. Why can men post topless photos but women can’t? As this stunt illustrates, the two are practically the same!

Both sides have a point. Instagram is not a place for porn, and images like that shouldn’t invade the timeline of someone who is too young or who just doesn’t wish to see it. But Instagram is also a place to post your art and self-expression, and the human body, with or without clothes, is often used in artistic expression. How can we monitor one without censoring the other?

It’s a tough question, and a part of a discussion that is clearly ongoing. This news just makes it clear that we have a long road ahead before this is all ironed out.

(Image via iStock)

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