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Celebrities Challenging Instagram's No-Nudity Policy

Diana Lee |
November 6, 2014 | 10:36 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Rihanna, or @badgalriri, is back on Instagram after taking a six month break. Fans were rejoicing at this news, and it seemed the singer was too– she has posted 42 photos in six days. So what prompted one of the best rock-star Instagram accounts, according to Rolling Stone, to disappear for half a year? It has to do with nudity–which a lot of celebrities have had problems with in the past.

Instagram @chelseahandler
Instagram @chelseahandler
Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler called out Instagram using what she's known best for: her humor. She posted a picture mocking Russian president Vladimir Putin by posing topless on a horse the same way Putin had done. Soon after, Instagram took down the photo. So she publicly challenged the company by posting the notice from Instagram with the comment, "if a man posts a photo of his nipples, it's ok, but not a woman? Are we in 1825?" She also tweeted a screenshot of her original post, saying "Taking this down is sexist. I have every right to show I have a better body than Putin."

Scout Willis

Willis is one of the most prominent protestor against Instagram's anti-nudity policy. She has been active in promoting the #FreeTheNipple campaign by posting on Twitter pictures of her walking around topless in New York City. One of them said, "What @instagram won't let you see #FreeTheNipple." Although she didn't use Instagram to post these pictures (which was the whole point), it clearly sent a message to the popular app.

Lina Esco

Filmmaker and actress Linda Esco sparked the conversation around this issue with her film, "Free The Nipple." Her campaign inspired fellow actresses, models, and singers alike to join in in what she calls a "civil rights issue." She consistently promotes the campaign on her Instagram page. 

(Twitter @mileycyrus)
(Twitter @mileycyrus)
Miley Cyrus

Cyrus showed support for Esco's campaign in a topless photo on Twitter, in which she tagged @freethenipple. Esco says Cyrus has played a huge role in publicizing the film and the issue through social media. 

Cara Delevingne

The well-known model took to Instagram to share several photos highlighting the double standards for men and women on Instagram, including the picture below that succintly captures the disparity.

These celebrities are 100% valid in their points. The double standards for men and women send a wrong message about gender equality, and we must address this policy to truly achieve equality in every aspect. But, I do understand the concerns behind allowing these photos online– and they don't have anything to do with appropriateness or descretion. Although Time makes its argument based on Handler's case, the points made apply to any woman in the world. The consequences of posting such photos leave many vulnerable to having their privacy exploited, which is far more severe than limited freedom in an online space.

(Instagram @caradelevingne)
(Instagram @caradelevingne)

So, I urge everyone to think about what negative, but inevitable, effect changing this policy would have. The issue of gender equality is an immensely important social issue we need to accomplish, but we'll be losing another battle– a battle in which the victims can't defend themselves–by fighting this battle. Perhaps in the future, we will have figured out a way to avoid such repercussions and Instagram as well as other sites will be able to perfectly filter through what was posted by the original owner and what wasn't. But until then, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Reach Staff Reporter Diana Lee here



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