We’re scratching our heads over Instagram’s explanation of nipple censorship

If you’ve been on social media in the past year, you’ve likely heard about the #FreeTheNipple campaign, as well as the backlash Instagram has faced for banning women’s nipples on the platform. The reason they’ve always given is nudity is a no-no, even though they do not censor male nipples on the ‘gram.

Many women have protested this double-standard by posting pictures on the photo-sharing site with male nipples Photoshopped over their own nipples. Meanwhile stars like Cara Delevingne, Miley Cyrus, and Naomi Campbell have spoken out in support of the #FreeTheNipple campaign, which has even been made into a movie. Well as of today, the company has finally given a lengthier response to why they’re so opposed to the female anatomy. And it’s, well, basically they just passed the buck.

The company’s explanation of the censorship of women’s nipples is interesting. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom spoke at a London event hosted by Dazed Media on Wednesday, saying that the rule actually has to do with Apple, Business Insider reports. According to Systrom, Apple has strict guidelines that Instagram must follow else the app may be removed. The App Store specifically bans nudity unless the app is labeled suitable for those aged over 17.

“[Instagram remains] committed to artistic freedom,” Systrom said at the event. “. . . in order to scale effectively there are [some] tough calls.”

The Instagram guidelines read as follows:

At the event, Systrom also mentioned that there’s no shortage of women’s nipples on the Internet, and their presence is not crucial to the effectiveness of the app. However, if female nipples must be banned, why are male nipples acceptable? Guidelines or not, why is the app encouraging a double standard?

The “explanation” Instagram has provided is reminiscent of activist Scout Willis, who said in a piece for XO Jane,“What I’m arguing for is a woman’s right to choose how she represents her body—and to make that choice based on personal desire and not a fear of how people will react to her or how society will judge her. No woman should be made to feel ashamed of her body.”

This doesn’t seem like an explanation, but rather a pointing of fingers. Essentially they’re saying, “Yeah, it sucks that we’re making women feel ashamed of their bodies, but Apple made us do it!” It’s time to fight back, and a large corporation’s outdated policies should not be the end-all, be-all reason why women’s bodies are censored while men’s are not. We have a feeling this conversation will continue, and we are very ready to see things move forward.

The ‘Free the Nipple’ movement is now a movie. You have our attention.

Update! After censorship double-standard debacle, Instagram does the right thing

[Images via Instagram]

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