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Madonna’s exposed nipple photo set, Instagram
Via Instagram/@madonna

Madonna calls out Instagram for taking down a photo of her exposed nipple

‘Giving thanks that I have managed to maintain my sanity through four decades of censorship... sexism… ageism and misogyny’

Madonna has shared a takedown of Instagram’s nudity policy after a set of images she posted on the app were removed for showing her nipple. Ever the provocateur, the pop icon has also reuploaded the (now censored) images alongside the statement, stating: “I’m reposting photographs Instagram took down without warning or notification.”

She goes on to explain that her management (which, she clarifies, doesn’t handle the account) were told by Instagram that her images were removed because a “small portion” of her nipple was exposed.

“It is still astounding to me that we live in a culture that allows every inch of a woman’s body to be shown except a nipple,” Madonna writes. “As if that is the only part of a woman’s anatomy that could be sexualized. The nipple that nourishes the baby!”

“Can’t a mans (sic) nipple be experienced as erotic??!!” she adds (echoing, of course, claims of gender discrimination that have been made by #freethenipple activists for years). “And what about a woman’s ass which is never censored anywhere.”

The Madame X musician also includes a timely nod to Thanksgiving in her criticism, writing: “Giving thanks that I have managed to maintain my sanity through four decades of censorship... sexism… ageism and misogyny. 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.”

A spokesperson for Instagram’s parent company — the recently-renamed Meta — has defended taking down the original photo set in a statement to CNN. “We take down content that breaks our rules whenever we find it, no matter who posts it,” they say. “While we understand not everyone will always agree with where we draw the line, our rules are designed to help keep everyone of all ages safe on our apps, while giving space for as much expression as possible.”

Instagram was forced to apologise earlier this year, however, after censoring a poster for Pedro Almodóvar’s new film, Parallel Mothers, that depicted a lactating nipple. In that case, the post was restored based on Instagram’s decision that the image had a “clear artistic context”.

View Madonna’s censored photo set, and read her statement, below.