My mother has always been one to say that the new generation, in so many words, is overexposed. Let Beyoncé bust a move on stage in little briefs or a young girl basically wear little to nothing on the streets, or even in a fashion spread, and my mom will say, “Why? You can still be s*xy without showing everything God gave you.” In her mind, young people these days don’t understand the importance of maintaining mystery, of keeping some things to themselves, and oh yeah, the importance of putting some damn clothes on. At first I felt like choices in clothing, or lack thereof, were forms of free expression, and that my mom was just speaking as those of older generations do. But I’m starting to agree with her–people are doing too much for attention at this point.
Just a month ago, Rihanna posted pictures on Instagram from a controversial Lui magazine shoot, a French mag known for their provocative images, and Instagram wasn’t having it. The images showed Rihanna’s bare breasts, bare backside, tan lines and all as she posed oiled up for photos. Rihanna was proud of the images, which quickly made the rounds on Twitter and had people talking, but according to Instagram’s policies, the photos were in violation of their quest to keep “nude” or “partially nude” images from floating from account to account. At first the pics were removed, and then the next thing you know, her whole account was shut down. Such a freeze was let up not too long after, but Rihanna, peeved at the move by the social media site, decided she’s done with Instagram. You can see her colorful imagery of living lavishly in fly threads, pink wigs with a blunt in hand on Twitter if you’re missing all the awesomeness with a side of debauchery that she posted as @badgirlriri on Instagram.
Someone else not feeling Instagram so much for its restrictions is Bruce Willis and Demi Moore’s 22-year-old daughter, Scout Willis. She feels that exposed breasts should be allowed on the site for artistic reasons and for promoting breast cancer awareness. The latter I can get with. But what I can’t get with is the way she went about protesting the site’s policies: By walking up and down Manhattan topless and posting the images on Twitter saying, “Legal in NYC but not on @instagram,” and “What @instagram won’t let you see.”
In one photo she picks out flowers with her bare breast, skirt on, as a child and her mother walk not too far behind. I saw the photos and my first thought was: “Out of all this things to protest…”
To be clear, Instagram’s policies on nudity say, “You may not post violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos or other content via the Service.”
They also say that while they will allow images of women breastfeeding, “photos that show a fully exposed breast where the child isn’t actively engaged in nursing aren’t following our Community Guidelines.”
As with all social media, it should be known from jump that you can’t literally strip down for followers and “friends.” But alas, people still try it, and when they’re flagged, Instagram gets on them like white on rice.
With all that said, while I can understand being a little frustrated with possibly feeling artistically stifled on a site like Instagram…I personally don’t want to see the breasts, behind or any of the unmentionables of Rihanna, Scout Willis, Sharde from down the street or anybody else on Instagram. I just don’t. The minute you’re allowed to show off your exposed breasts, next thing you know, folks will be showing off their bare behind in bathroom pics. Few years down the line, the same folks will be commenting on stories talking about, “It’s just a little labia!”
Okay, I’m being a little dramatic with that last one, but you get where I’m going with this. There are such restrictions and clauses put in place on social media for a reason, and I don’t think it’s to sensationalize or make our breasts taboo. But that’s just my opinion.
If you want to share whatever images of your body you so please without feeling regulated, there’s always blogs like Tumblr where you can freely bare your soul and your a** for fans and followers. And obviously, Twitter is letting people freely bare their breasts. But in the case of Willis, trying to strong-arm Instagram into letting us show off our breasts by walking topless around NYC doesn’t seem to get a strong point across (at least that’s how we felt in this office), it just looks like a grab for attention. But hey, it was a successful one, right?
And at the same time, with all the major issues going on in the world, protesting against Instagram because the world can’t be exposed to breasts seems a little ___ (insert your word of choice, as I don’t want to offend and I know, when unfiltered, I often do…).
But then again, it’s a free country. Willis can walk the streets topless to prove a point if she so feels the need to (which she did). But with that same freedom, Instagram has the right to shut down such photos and run their social media app, which seems to connect and please millions around the world, restrictions and all, as they please.