After facing a ton of backlash, Instagram has updated its nudity guidelines to allow for the cupping/holding of breasts. A small win – but a win nonetheless.
Instagram has recently come under fire for discrimination and double standards when it comes to policing nudity and the censoring of women’s bodies – an issue that plus-size model Nyome Nicholas-Williams took head-on after an image she posted of herself covering her breasts was swiftly removed.
These changes have come about after a plethora of influencers and models (including Australian comedian Celeste Barber) complained that their images were taken down despite adhering to the community guidelines. The images in question depicted plus-size subjects, many of whom were people of colour. Meanwhile, similar images of slim, white women remained on the platform, untouched and unreported.
Captured by esteemed photographer Alexandra Cameron, the images Nyome recently shared of herself featured her posing topless with her hands covering her breasts. However, far from depicting anything sexual in nature, the images instead portrayed her beauty, power, and softness.
Yet Nyome, who is a Black plus-size woman, was met with the inherent racism and fatphobia which seems to lurk between the algorithms of social media sites, and her post was subsequently found to breach Instagram’s community guidelines around nudity.
This week on Instagram I’ve talked about censorship of female nipples & dating/sex as a plus size woman. And now my account is getting repeatedly reported 🤦🏻♀️🙄
— Jessica Cinelli (@jesscinelli) October 8, 2020
In regards to the reason why the pictures of Nyome were taken down, a spokesperson from Instagram told The Guardian: “We do not allow breast squeezing because it can be most commonly associated with pornography,”
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Them:”Why do you always have to post pictures nude? Me: “slim white bodies are praised for being nude and appreciating they’re form on this platform all the time and never have images taken down or asked as to why they are posting them” Them: “why does anyone have to be naked”!? Firstly that response is from someone who doesn’t want to address their inner internalised biases and dislike of bigger bodies. We all have bodies, and we can choose to celebrate them in anyway we wish. Renaissance paintings were mostly based around the nude body, I love art so I know!! How have we become so scared to share our art and celebrate our bodies without us being sexualised or being judged by others.🤷🏾♀️ This is art, I am art! Thank you for always getting it @alex_cameron your work is unmatched 💥
What followed was a huge wave of support for the model and a petition titled ‘Stop Instagram from censoring Black women’ which, at the time of writing, has been signed over 22,000 times.
Following this, the Instagram spokesperson conceded: “As we looked into this more closely, we realised it was an instance where our policy on breast squeezing wasn’t being correctly applied. Hearing Nyome’s feedback helped us understand where this policy was falling short, and how we could refine it.”
Now, a new policy has come into practice as of this week which outlines the difference between ‘breast holding’ or ‘cupping’, as compared to ‘breast grabbing’, the latter of which is deemed to be pornographic. Simple right? Cup don’t grab…
So go forth, post your boob-cupping pics, and hit it with the hashtag #iwanttoseenyome to show your support for the cause.
My heart goes out to the content reviewers at a Instagram who are gonna spend the next week looking at pictures of women grabbing their boobs because IG's algorithm was racist / sizeist to the wrong woman this time.
Hope you like my pics tho 🤗🤗#IWantToSeeNyome
— Efa (@aye_effie) October 27, 2020