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@alinenilsson via Instagram

Women are using male nipples to protest Instagram censorship

We all know it – they’re pretty much identical. So why are female nipples so much more taboo than male ones?

If you were presented with two cut out pictures of nipples, one male and one female, it’s unlikely that you’d bet your life on which was which. So if male nipples are inoffensive, then by proxy so are female ones, right? What is the difference? A lot, apparently – men are free to post shirtless snaps as they see fit, but women aren’t allowed. To that end, some women are proving how ridiculous the rules are by covering up their nipples in their phots with cut out male ones. 

Instagram says in its community guidelines that female nipples, except in some circumstances, are banned. “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," it says. "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.”

Artist Micol Hebron created a template of a male nipple last year to make a statement about the online censorship rules that have bothered people from Cara Delevingne to Willow Smith. Now, women are putting the template over their own nipples in protest against the rules and to demonstrate how pointless it is to differentiate between the male and female form when it comes to censorship. Check out examples below and download Hebron’s nipple if you want to get involved.