'terms & conditions' celebrates the uncensored female form
"Gendered censorship reflects societal fears and the power dynamics that keep the female body sexualized, rather than understood."
Photo Halle Hirota
Newsflash — the nipple still hasn’t been freed. While men are at liberty to gallivant around shirtless on social media (preferably on a Brazilian beach), female-identified chests are still off limits. Terms & Conditions, a new project from portfolio website builder Format, attempts to address this weird imbalance. They’ve assembled a cast of photographers to discuss what this means, alongside their work. “When it’s hot, I often wish I could fling off my shirt and go topless without feeling awkward, or in many countries, a criminal,” says frequent i-D collaborator Harley Weir. “Gendered censorship reflects societal fears and the power dynamics that keep the female body sexualized, rather than understood,” says Mayan Toledano. And as Michael Bailey-Gates succinctly puts it, “It’s a way of shaming a person.” See a selection of their words and photographs on the subject below — you can see the full project here.
“When it’s hot, I often wish I could fling off my shirt and go topless without feeling awkward, or in many countries, a criminal. I don't think people should hide or be ashamed of any part of their body, what ever gender they are.”
“I spoke with artist Carly Mark who’s featured in this image, and she shared that this form of censorship makes the 'female body inherently pornographic, rather than just a body.' Social media is a tricky parallel world, but changes that happen online can cause ripple effects in our own lives. Censorship on these platforms says that nipples are offensive, but only on a femme body. It’s a way of shaming a person.”
“We should have the right to display our bodies however we want, without fear of being punished and demonized. We take pride in our bodies and everyone should be treated equally. We should be respected to do what we want and on our own terms. It is vital to end gendered censorship on social media—we should be able to express ourselves freely with complete control.”
“The fact that female, femme and non-binary bodies are still policed by censorship is damaging to our freedom of visual expression, and to the way we view and understand each other. Gendered censorship reflects societal fears and the power dynamics that keep the female body sexualized, rather than understood. When nipples are deleted off of Instagram for ‘violation of community standards’ it violates our bodies, never the safety of the viewer.”
“Only permitting imagery of feeding or mutilated chests on social media suggests the natural body is always offensive. How do you gender nipples, charge bodies with your gaze instead of seeing them for what they are? There have to be more ways of being for people with breasts than providing, suffering, or hiding away.”
“We are fearless.”
“Gender equality is important and affects all aspects of our everyday lives. My photographs convey my thoughts on society, and they are also a place where I express positivity, equality, and empowerment. As an artist, I am using this medium to challenge myself and others to express themselves freely, and to challenge social norms in their own lives.”