Instagram has done something it rarely does — apologize — after doing something it does quite frequently: censor a female-presenting nipple. The infamously sex-negative social media platform known for draconian guidelines against nudity — particularly of the female variety — has issued an apology after taking down the official movie poster for Pedro Almodóvar’s new film starring Penelope Cruz, Madres Paralelas, which shows a lactating nipple.
In a statement to the Associated Press, Instagram’s parent company Facebook said the images of the movie poster were initially removed from the platform for “breaking our rules against nudity.” It’s important to note that while female-presenting nipples break these rules, nipples presumed to belong to a male body do not. Because the nipple on the Madres Paralelas movie poster is lactating, Instagram presumed it to be female, and thus deeply offensive.
Fortunately, Instagram ultimately decided that this offensive display of an uncovered, presumably female nipple was different.Why? Because it’s Pedro Almodóvar’s nipple — though not literally, to my knowledge — which makes it art.
“We do, however, make exceptions to allow nudity in certain circumstances, which includes when there’s clear artistic context,” the company continued. “We’ve therefore restored posts sharing the Almodóvar movie poster to Instagram, and we’re really sorry for any confusion caused.”
Javier Jaen, the Spanish designer behind the poster, is not having it, however. “This is probably the first image I saw when I was born. A company like Instagram tells me my work is dangerous, that people shouldn’t see it, that it’s pornographic. How many people are they telling that their body is bad, that their body is dangerous?” he told the AP.
Instagram’s excuse for the “confusion” is that the platform’s female-nipple-policing technology can’t differentiate between the arbitrary distinction Instagram believes exists between nipples that are “art” and regular nipples, which are, of course, offensive and bad. Jaen, for his part, isn’t buying that either. “They say their technology can’t differentiate the context. I don’t care. Change your technology then.”
Tell ’em, Javier.
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