Instagram has been censoring imagery of the female body for quite some time now, and while the fight for equal rights on the platform is still a battle yet to be won, Madonna is the next famous face ready to give it a go.
On November 25, the music icon slammed Instagram for its decision to censor a series of photos she posted that exposed a “small portion” of her nipple.
After Madonna‘s photos were removed by the platform, she reuploaded new versions of the same images that see her posing in bed in black lingerie. But this time, she placed a small heart emoji over the area where her nipple was visible in three of the photos.
“I’m reposting photographs Instagram took down without warning or notification,” Madonna captioned the carousel. “The reason they gave my management that does not handle my account was that a small portion of my nipple was exposed.”
Of course, Madonna was far from finished in her stance against Instagram. She continued to call out the platform for its unequal treatment of men and women, given that men can post a photo sans a shirt—both nipples in plain sight—and suffer no censorship or image removal. For women, even a partial nipple will see the image removed entirely, and occasionally a suspension of the account.
“Perfectly timed with the lies we have been raised to believe about the pilgrims peacefully breaking bread with the Native American Indians when they landed on Plymouth Rock! God bless America 🇺🇸 #artistsareheretodisturbthepeace.”
Naturally, the ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ star’s post quickly became flooded with approval from fans, with many showing their support by commenting, “Free the nipple.”
When it comes to policing women’s bodies, this isn’t the first time that criticism and sexualisation of a female nipple has come under fire.
Take, for example, the latest New York Times documentary, Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson. The documentary dives deep into the mid-noughties scandal that saw Justin Timberlake responsible for causing Janet Jackson to experience a wardrobe malfunction during their 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show. The malfunction saw Timberlake briefly expose her nipple by ripping off her costume and seemingly playing it off as a dance move gone awry.
And while Jackson’s reputation suffered, unsurprisingly Timberlake’s only got better and he was even given his own halftime show years later. Of course, ruining a female’s reputation to better his own is hardly new for Timberlake, just ask Britney Spears. But it was the public’s reaction and destruction of Jackson that proved how society always has and will continue to favour men.
Despite not being interviewed for the documentary, Jackson has agreed to discuss the incident for the first time in a two-part, four-hour documentary, titled Janet, that is set to air in early 2022.
When it comes to the obvious discrimination against women’s bodies on Instagram, Madonna has every right to slam the platform for its blatant sexism through censorship. But alas, did we expect anything less from Mark Zuckerberg?