the #freethenipple movement co-opts male nipples

How one artist is using gender discrimination to get around social media censorship.

by Emily Manning
08 July 2015, 7:35pm

Lately, dudes have been showing a lot of skin on social media. Yesterday, the world was treated to a snap of Justin Bieber's bare ass, which Chrissy Teigen followed up with her own #lookbackatit of husband John Legend's full frontal area. These Mr. New Booties and bare chested bros are cool by Instagram, but as we've widely reported, female nipples are still a no go. But one artist is fighting the image sharing platform's censorship with its own boy's club community guidelines and #freethenipple advocates are following (birthday) suit.

Artist Micol Hebron created an Instagram-friendly template of a male nipple to critique this arbitrary censorship and the gender discrimination rife in Instagram's hotly contested guidelines. Save "post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding" and "nudity in paintings and sculptures," women are barred from showing and sharing their stuff.

Over the past few days, Hebron's template has taken off, with #freethenipple advocates Photoshopping male nipples atop their own areolas to demonstrate just how hypocritical it all is. A quick scan through #freethenipple and #malenipple show these images aren't being removed with the same lightning speed that got Bad Gal Riri booted from the platform last year.

"This one was reported again. So here it is with two MALE NIPPLES stickers that I put on to cover my illegal FEMALE NIPPLES! So now you can't say shit, this is so fucking wrong and this is not equality." captioned user @alinenilsson.

Artists have a pretty solid history of creative solutions to censorship, so as long as Instagram remains unequal, we're sure we'll see more inventive workarounds.


Text Emily Manning