I posted this image below on social media and it was reported to Facebook. It was then deemed to be content not allowed under Facebook community standards and was removed from both Instagram and Facebook. I realized it was The female nipple effect. The reason I was disappointed is that during the crowdfunding campaign for Transparency: The Gender Identity Project, I had received some critical, some annoying and some threatening messages about my involvement with the LGBTQ community and issues. Due to the personal nature of the comments I’d gotten, I decided to change my Facebook profile and posts from public to friends. Unfortunately this means one of my Facebook friends (for what that’s worth) reported this image. What confounding is that if you’re offended by nudity – why would you follow my posts about fine art nudes, boudoir and sexuality? Could you not just unfriend or unfollow me?
The irony is that while female nipples are banned, male nipples are ok. In fact, women are Photoshopping male nipples over their own to protest Instagram and Facebook’s censorship. Last year, artist Micol Hebron created a male nipple “template” to sardonically comment on how women’s nipples were unnecessarily sexualized. The template was meant to cover any topless photos of women and make them “appropriate” — because according to many photo-sharing platforms, not all nipples are created equal or considered nudity.
Lately, we’ve seen not only a surge in the #FreeTheNipple campaign, but also a considerable amount of backlash against Instagram’s policy stance on female nudity in photos. The company’s community guidelines are complicated; “female nipples” aren’t allowed, unless they’re being used to breastfeed or a photo shows post-mastectomy scarring, which is where things get murky for users.
So is a nipple just a nipple? Not if it’s a female one.