When you cruise through your Instagram feed, topless men with their nipples out are fine. But when women do it, you get a loud, resounding “no.” The social media app even released a guideline stating that “some photos of female nipples” should be removed when posted. But trans model Courtney Demone is against this double standard. In fact, she’ll be using the app as the platform for her project #FreeAllBodies.
The trans model is currently undergoing hormone replacement therapy and documenting the whole process of her transition on both her Facebook and Instagram accounts. She wants to find out which social media sites will consider her nipples “female” enough to be taken down. “At some point my breasts are going to be big enough that these social media networks will have deemed them worthy of censorship,” she says.
“Their policies are to censor topless women’s bodies and they’re not doing it to me. What assumptions are they making about me?,” asks Courtney to point out the challenge she’s taking on.
A lot more women are freeing their nipples in a bid to challenge censorship and public nudity laws. But the battle also happens in the smallest of places like social media. Instagram’s policy states that “only photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed.” And as mentioned earlier, women’s nipples don’t make the cut.
“One of the things that I’ve been trying really hard to do is making this aspect of my transition not about the medical side of things, not about the personal side of things, but about the loss of privilege,” Courtney says.
The day when the app notices her breasts are “good enough” for censorship has yet to come, but the project has already inspired other trans womento use and follow Courtney’s journey through the #DoIHaveBoobsNow? hashtag, as well.
What she really wants after all is to open up a discussion about the challenges brought by these guidelines on nudity. “If I get the opportunity to talk to somebody from Facebook or Instagram, that would be my dream,” she says.