the trans model challenging double standards with topless instagrams

Courtney Demone is documenting her transition using #freeallbodies to discover when social media platforms deem her enough of a woman to censor.

Oct 14 2015, 3:52pm

Image via @courtdemone

When it comes to getting around Instagram's controversial Community Guidelines (and calling out the policies' gendered double standards), many accounts are getting creative. One artist created a male nipple template and encouraged other women to photoshop it on top of their own -- these images were not censored. In response, Orange is the New Black actor Matt McGorry photoshopped female nipples on top of his own and similarly wasn't flagged. Now, one trans woman is using her body as a space to highlight this hypocrisy and probe how we see gender.

Courtney Demone, a 24-year-old Canadian model, is documenting her body's changes as she undergoes hormone replacement therapy, and publishing topless images to Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #FreeAllBodies. So far, these social media platforms have chosen not to censor her posts -- and that's exactly the point she's trying to make.

"At some point my breasts are going to be big enough that these social media networks will have deemed them worthy of censorship," Demone told Buzzfeed Canada. When exactly that will happen is unclear, but Demone told the blog she suspects -- based on the experiences of women who have undertaken similar projects -- that she'll start to be flagged around day 200 of therapy. "Their policies are to censor topless women's bodies and they're not doing it to me, what assumptions are they making about me?"

These "assumptions" are precisely what #freethenipple activists are trying to dismantle. Recently, Instagram co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom explained that the Community Guidelines are in place due to Apple's app store age restrictions (Instagram is presently rated 12+, but explicit imagery is only permitted at a 17+ rating -- a pretty ludicrous argument when you consider Twitter is rated 4+ and is full of porn). Placing an age restriction on women's bodies perpetuates a cycle of sexualization and objectification. Using breast size to determine who qualifies as a woman perpetuates the toxic notion that gender is binary and rooted in biology. 


Text Emily Manning