Instagrammers Fight Censorship by Photoshopping Male Nipples [NSFW?]

Instagrammers Fight Censorship by Photoshopping Male Nipples [NSFW?]

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It's no secret that Instagram, and its parent company, Facebook, have some pretty old-school ToS in terms of censorship. Their policy, inconsistently policed at best, has given the boot to many otherwise tasteful images including, notably, an image by artist Ruki Kaur of a woman on her period. Now a trend is taking Instagram by storm wherein people are photoshopping male nipples over a females' nipples to stick it to the man and hopefully result in a meaningful dialog on Internet censorship.

Cover image courtesy of @ShitJimmyShoots.

According to Buzzfeed, the #malenipple campaign was started by artist Micol Hebron who posted the following two days ago:

View this post on Instagram

Just a suggestion for your topless pics... #MaleNipple

A post shared by Megan Hammond (@pretty_eurydice) on Jul 5, 2015 at 5:50pm PDT

Since then #malenipple has gotten quite a bit of traction as photographers, retouches, models, and everyday people awkwardly cutting out the image posted by Hebron and 'shopping them onto themselves and others. Below are some of the funnier examples I've seen.

https://instagram.com/p/4wUWfapQ9n/

https://instagram.com/p/4sQvBYmq2n/

Instagram's current stance on nudity censorship is as follows from their community guidelines:

We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too." (emphasis added by author)

The powers that be at Instagram are still yet to release a statement about the campaign. It will be interesting to see how they respond. In the past they've actually been rather receptive to amendments in their ToS, specifically with regard to posting post-mastectomy and breastfeeding images as noted above.

Author's notes:
  1. The internet can be a beautiful place for staying connected and learning new things. One thing I can whole heartily recommend you not do is search Instagram (or really any place) for #malenipple. You will see things you didn't want to see. I promise you. Just take my word for it.

  2. This article was flagged as NSFW to remain compliant with Google's AdSense standards. While I'm all for fighting internet censorship I won't do it if it would detriment the site. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

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17 Comments

Bruce Walker's picture

I was blocked from Facebook for 24 hours for posting a shot of mine with an insufficiently censored female nipple. But while I was off Facebook I had two more shoots with the model, so I figure Facebook actually may have done me a favour. :)

Aaron Brown's picture

I'm wearing #malenipples as I type this...

Geoffrey Badner's picture

Ok... i'll wade into this with the unpopular position of being a photographer who agrees with IG's stance on censorship for the following reason: I have an 11 year old daughter.

She's a very active IGer and has unblocked access to whatever anybody else posts. IG has been a GREAT tool for her to learn about photography, find a personal vision, document her life and share with her friends. And while I let her see all of what I post on IG and probably 97% of what I shoot (look at my site if you want to know), body image and sexuality is a HUGE area of interest (and worry) for girls at this age. As a parent, I prefer that, as stupid as simply blocking a nipple is, that there be some level of moderation on a site/app that she uses.

I know many of you who don't have kids will say that I should be the one moderating her access to things like IG. In many way's you're right, but with every kid over 9 having a smartphone these days, it's literally impossible to lockdown kid's access to the web. Even if I manage her phone, her friend's phones or her friend's parents phones that they "borrow" are available to view.

I'm no prude, I like nipples! And the truth is, I actually think that the nude photography that I've done and she sees has helped facilitate healthy conversations about body image, but... again, as a parent... I prefer that I get to manage that discussion when and where I want.

And if that doesn't convince you that we should have to live with a little censorship on IG, can I ask you... how much did you pay for the app and what do you pay IG a month to use their service??

We all do pay for Instagram. I watch ads and they make ALOT of money from my eyeballs and the cellphone bandwidth I use to watch those ads. Censoring Penises and Vaginas are ok by me but this whole female nipple thing is retarded. I love the male nipple campaign because it really showcases just how dumb this all is.

Geoffrey Badner's picture

You watch the ads?! Well you must have more free time than 99.9% of us who just scroll past! And you can watch those ads on the free wifi at Starbucks so I don't get the bandwidth expense argument. You don't pay for IG.

Anyway... I agree that, overall, censorship of the female nipple is dumb (I have 21 1/2 female nipples on my homepage right now!), but there IS a value in moderation of a public online community that doesn't have age restrictions. Just trying to point that out to people who might not see both sides.

I think you're missing the point. Taking your stance and particular situation, shouldn't you be shielding your daughters eyes when seeing a #malenipple photo on IG as well? Are you denying that topless photos of her boy-band and sports stars are not sexually stimulating? Why are you teaching her to be ashamed of her upper body while boys can be proud of theirs?

Geoffrey Badner's picture

You're over intellectualizing the issue and what I choose to teach her (or not) is my business. My main point is that there is a value to moderation within a public online community that can be accessed by children.

Sean Shimmel's picture

Doc, a fine example of a compellingly simple example we can all relate to. Agreed.

Sean Shimmel's picture

Geoffrey, I admire your thoughtful thoughts and measured tone and enjoyed browsing your graceful imagery. Keep it up.

Uptight puritan moronic assholes... They should be forced to watch a 6 hour orgy at woodstock to desensitize them and make them realize that nudity is not so shocking in comparison.

There is an enormous difference between seeing nudity which is totally natural and seeing sexual acts.

Geoffrey Badner's picture

Just wondering... of those of you who want equal rights for nipples, would you be ok with IG changing their guidelines to allow female nipples, but censor the female breast. I mean, that makes it equal, right? What a man can show, a woman can now do as well.

And on the topic of archaic rules regarding nudity fstoppers requires you to log in to even see an article that had no actual nipple.
Seems a bit silly too don't you think?

Pete W's picture

Censorship or when we choose to censor content at best can be a slippery slope to traverse! Personally I have no problem with male/female nudity. However I am in favor of Fstoppers approach with respect to NSFW content as it put's the choice to view on the viewer. I would prefer this form of censorship over a site that simply bans such content which in essence say "my house my rules, follow them or get rust."

Geoffrey Badner's picture

Some people have jobs where nipples of any gender are not encouraged viewing.

Should you even be surfing the internet for personal stuff at work? IMO if someone gets reprimanded for looking at nipples or whatever at work they had it coming, they should have been doing their job instead. But in any case the whole NSFW concept is ridiculous.

Geoffrey Badner's picture

Why is it that, aside from the author (who doesn't seem to shoot nipples anyway), it seems that people without portfolios here seem to hate on the subject while those of us who do give it thumbs up?