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This topless video reveals the fatal flaw in Instagram’s nipple ban

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Kayleigh Dray
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“Sure, I may have my DD breasts out… but, before you delete my Instagram post, let me DD-fend myself.”

The invention of the internet has introduced us to many things – some good, some not so good. In the first category, we have the likes of online shopping, fresh pizza at the click of a button, stylist.co.uk (obviously) and a million ways to stay in touch with friends and family. The latter category, sadly, is dominated by meninists, creeps and social media trolls.

As such, body-shaming has become a widespread problem in the digital era.And it’s worth noting that men are often exempt from the way women’s bodies are dissected and scrutinised in the public domain – a double standard which is seemingly enforced by the censorship placed on female breasts on the internet.

That’s right: while men may be allowed to share nip pics galore, it’s not uncommon for Instagram, Facebook and co to remove photos or even to delete whole user accounts permanently without notice for posting nipple or breastfeeding photos. Female nipples are just that controversial, apparently.

Now, model and activist Rain Dove is shining a light on this hypocrisy.

A post shared by Rain Dove (@raindovemodel) on

In a post entitled “Dear Instagram, This Isn’t Sexual”, Dove has set out to explain the big issue with Instagram’s ban on female nipples.

Shared alongside a video of a topless Dove playing basketball, it reads reads:

Sure, I may have my DD Breasts out. Nipples shining in the sun. But this is simply a game of basketball between two humans. One of those humans is actually a Pro Basketball player (@crissa_ace ) – whose skills on the court are far more worthy of a stare than my swinging sacks of potential food providing flesh.

But before you delete my IG POST let me DD-fend myself:

  1. Your guidelines say “female nipples”. I do not identify as “female”. Or “male”. So I am not violating your guidelines.

  2. Even if I did identify as “female”, “females” can have pecs. “Males” can have Breasts. And if you argue only people with pecs are considered “male” bodied… well, pecs can be bigger than breasts and vice versa. Both can also lactate. Both can also be fetishised. What’s so different?

  3. What is considered “nudity” or “naked” changes culturally globally. In some places eye contact direct to camera is considered sexual. Showing your shoulders is considered lewd. Hugs are considered worse than kisses. Etc. Aren’t you a globally reaching company? Whose opinion is controlling what is considered sexual? Can we have a chat one on one?

I wouldn’t have had much of a chance at my career without my Instagram platform. I’m grateful for this app and what it has done to elevate my opportunities in life. I’m coming TO you. Not AT you. So please consider reviewing the language you use in your guidelines. Either make it so NO one can show their nipples or everyone can. You’re creating a division that’s reinforcing the vulnerable feelings people with breasts already feel. Fear, shame, objectification. Stop targeting “females” specifically. Instead might I recommend addressing INTENTIONS… equally. It’s kind of obvious when someone is creating work with specifically salacious intention. A shirt off is not enough for a conviction.

You reach around the world IG. Therefore you can change it- simply by hanging your language.

LOVE ALWAYS, Rain Dove

Dove is not the first to call social media out on its ban on female nipples: in 2012, the hashtag #FreeTheNipple began trending, with women – led by activist and filmmaker, Lina Esco – hoping to use it to desexualise their breasts. In 2015, Esco’s film of the same name was released, and in summer 2016, topless women took to the streets of 60 cities worldwide, to fightback and reclaim their bodies, fed up of society’s objectification of the female form.

People can go to FreeTheNipple.com to donate and find out more about the campaign.

Image: Unsplash

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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