Nope, Instagram Won’t #FreeTheNipple Any Time Soon

Kendall Jenner Kendall Jenner walking for Marc Jacobs. Photo: Getty Images

No matter how many people call for Instagram to #freethenipple, there’s officially zero chance that the app will relax its controversial policy on nudity or, specifically, nipples. Sorry, Miley.

At an event hosted by Dazed Media this week, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom explained why the app continues to censor women’s nipples, shifting the blame over to Apple’s policies.

Basically, he said that for Instagram to be allowed on the Apple App Store, its content needs to meet strict guidelines that explicitly ban nudity—unless the app gets a new 17+ rating. Because Instagram wants to broadly appeal to users of all ages, it isn’t about to get the adult-only rating needed to #freethenipple.

Systrom went on to explain that “in order to scale effectively, there are [some] tough calls.” Calls such as, say, banning all photos of female nipples.

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FREE THE NIPPLE 💋 #freethenipple

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The #freethenipple movement validly points out a pretty obvious double standard in the policy that allows male nipples while banning female nipples. It’s being led by outspoken celebrities such as Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, Miley Cyrus, Chelsea Handler, and Chrissy Teigen, plus thousands of other online advocates.

In June, Teigen posted to Instagram a topless photograph from a sexy shoot with W magazine—and you can probably guess exactly what happened next. Both Cara and Miley have also publicly spoken out against the rule, and Rihanna even had her Instagram account suspended after she shared a magazine cover in which she appeared topless.

While there’s obvious gender bias at play in the policy, Instagram doesn’t actually censor all female nipples. According to the app’s community guidelines, “photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed,” but “some photos of female nipples” are not.