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The #Freethenipple Argument Just Got Louder

Wednesday 08 July 2015

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Words Ailis Mara

LA-based artist Micol Hebron has sparked further areola-based debate after creating a cut and paste male nipple template designed to render a women’s chests acceptable for Instagram– heaping further attention on the #freethenipple campaign.

In the wake of the campaign earlier this year, which was openly backed by celebrities including Chrissy Teigen and Miley Cyrus, protesters are using the tongue-in-cheek artwork’s explosion on social media to pressure Instagram into amending their unpopular Community guidelines.

The company’s policy allows pictures of breastfeeding mothers and post mastectomy scarring, but prohibits literally everything else. For most, the resulting wave of posts is highlighting the hypocrisy of Instagram’s terms of use; but not everyone feels so enlightened by the bizarre barrage of male nipples superimposed onto women’s breasts.


For #freethenipple supporters, online censorship of the female nipple has been an ongoing battle for freedom of expression, with their cause routinely suffocated using deleted posts and banned accounts.

For others this whole controversy has been branded a benign issue by a section of female twitter users, who fail to see any pressing issue with nipple-freedom (yes, that’s a thing now) and maintain that the online movement is doing little to affect the every day sexism that they face. The tweets below represent a slice of opinions clashing against the #freethenipple movement.




Activists behind the #freethenipple campaign will point to the double standards that exist when confronting the censorship of the female nipple compared to men. For many feminists smaller issues such as these are rooted in deeper systemic violence and misogyny and a reflection of inherent sexism in our supposedly post-feminist society.

Instagram user @alinenilsson captioned her viral post (see below): ‘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.’




At the time of publication, Instagram have failed to comment or remove the viral images.

Are Instagram right to conserve their boob-free policy? Should protesting users simply go elsewhere? Or do Instagram have a moral duty to promote equality? Do you care?! We’ll leave you with this food for thought: