#freetheeggplant: story of a suggestive emoji

Are eggplant emojis the new nipples?

by Emily Manning
Apr 28 2015, 3:35pm

Image via @mtvnews

A new Instagram update allows users to hashtag and search by emoji, and unsurprisingly, a search of the peach already yields 1,700 images of a certain body part resembling the fruit. But if you're trying to check what's good with the eggplant, take it to Tinder. See, Instagram got hip to the vegetable's reputation as a nefariously used emoji (translation: dick pics) and like the overprotective mom it's become, has shut that party down before it even started.

Instagram confirmed to MTV News that the eggplant's checkered past violates its hotly contested community guidelines, specifically: no graphic or harmful hashtags. The eggplant isn't totally outlawed, you're just not allowed to seek out what potentially explicit images it might accompany.

As a result, a fledgling #freetheeggplant movement has (sorry) sprung up on social media, with Twitter and Instagram users alike advocating for the condemned purple plant. Despite its relative frivolity, #freetheeggplant makes a point similar to that of the more meaningful #freethenipple: the community guidelines are arbitrary garbage that reinforce body policing and a culture of censorship.

A search for the peach, finger-pointing-towards-hand-making-a-hole, gun, cigarette, and needle emoji hashtags—which all yield NSFW results that arguably also violate said community guidelines—are met with no issues. But when it comes to eggplant emojis, female nipples, and period leaks, Instagram puts on the proverbial child block.

It's high time Instagram revisit its community guidelines with the conventional wisdom they normalize and their larger cultural impacts in mind. It's not just about an eggplant anymore. 


Text Emily Manning
Image via @mtvnews