When I unlocked my phone this morning at eight o’clock, what was the first item that struck my eye? Tommy Lee is a fictional character. Uncensored. Right there on Instagram, in all of its magnificent full-screen glory, given to me by a friend with a bunch of exclamation marks (and a very excitable voice note). And, of course, both of his nipples are exposed. Tommy lee released video on twitter and facebook and Instagram is viral on internet
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The naked photo stayed on the website after five hours (although it has since been removed). And, while I support people’s freedom to free expression, I must admit that this has rattled me to my core. Because there has been a steady stream of stories recounted by women, particularly those who are plus-size or who are not white, of having their naked images removed off Instagram in a short period of time during the previous several years.
One particularly vivid example is when photographer Alexandra Cameron removed topless images of influencer Curvy Nyome from her portfolio while leaving other photographs of white women with thin proportions untouched. It sparked a heated debate about Instagram’s filtering practises, as well as a massive reaction, prompting the invention of the hashtag “#IWantToSeeNyome.”
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A lot of the time, I hear that images that are in no way, shape, or form a “violation of community norms” are being labelled as such. This is quite aggravating to me. They are imaginative and gorgeous, and perhaps there is a glimpse of a female breast seen through a dress or a vest top.
(Recall how Rihanna stopped using the site in 2014 due to the same issue, when it removed a magazine cover on which she had previously appeared?) Breastfeeding was restricted on Instagram for a long time, and the corporation did not modify its stance on the issue until December 2020. (despite the fact that the change included some restrictions).
Simply said, a large number of images that are diametrically opposed to a conventional dck shot taken by a musician have been declared unacceptable. And the only distinction I can make is based on their gender and skin colour.
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When it comes to the female form, Instagram’s restrictions are clear: only “certain images of female nipples [are approved], [such as] film displaying post-mastectomy scars and people actively breastfeeding” are permitted.
And while we’re on the subject of gender, how about we talk about the comments made beneath Tommy’s photo? There were hundreds of them, and the image received over 50,000 likes before it was removed. It’s almost unbelievable how nice, celebratory, and not at all shameful the majority of their responses were.
Rook, a drummer who frequently collaborates with Machine Gun Kelly, wrote on Instagram, “I’M FUCKIN DYING.” “Your drumstick slipped out,” someone else joked, while stand-up comedian Bert Kreischer added, “I’m going to recreate this photo when I get home!!!”
Even the hook-up and dating app Grindr chimed in on the luca marin laure manaudou debate, yelling, “wrong app, darling!” in response to Tommy’s remarks.
But can you imagine the tremendous disparity in reactions if, say, another female singer were to reveal a picture of her vulva? Consider the response Kourtney Kardashian experienced after posting a semi-naked selfie on Instagram. Tommy Lee’s video was released on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Internet trolls were quick to point out that it was unacceptable for a mother to expose herself in this manner (Tommy Lee is a father of two, by the way).
Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee shares full-frontal naked photo from bathroom
The same can be said of Britney Spears, who has been viciously “called out” for her postings (of course, genuine comments of worry about her mental health differ, but those who simply want to beat her with a stick for having the nerve to have her breasts out on a beach? Gross).
Another example is how the public reacts differently to leaked celebrity images and videos.
When I asked individuals on Twitter if they’d ever had an Instagram photo removed, it didn’t take long for people to come up with examples; moreover, all of the women who did so were the ones who brought it up.
One user said that they posted a black-and-white snapshot from a gallery show to their Instagram Stories, which was “immediately deleted and labelled as ‘violating community guidelines.'” The image depicted a woman with no clothing on her upper body.
Others said that nursing support and delivery accounts they follow had content removed multiple times, once for violating nudity limits, or that underwear photographs were removed from the account (and a temporary ban on their account being put in place).
Given that Instagram portrays itself as a platform that “empowers” women, the question of where the equity resides in all of this arises. Either the regulations should apply equally to both, or none at all. Which choice do you choose?