The ‘Free the Nipple’ campaign was created by filmmaker Lina Esco (who made an eponymous film) in 2012. What started as a small, but powerful movement in New York City became all the rage at the time with proponents for and against the issue. The campaign argued that while it was entirely normal for men to appear bare-chested in public, it was deemed indecent for women to do the same. Those for ‘free the nipple,’ argued that not only should such a practice be sexualised for a woman, but should be culturally and legally acceptable to do so. The movement caught the attention of celebrities such as Miley Cyrus and Rihanna. However, those against stated that it was simply inappropriate, and in 2013, Facebook even banned a few video clips from the film made by Esco.
Now, years after the initial movement, Facebook and Instagram parent company, Meta's oversight board has recommended it to modify its policies pertaining to adult nudity, with regards to topless images and videos, “so that it is governed by clear criteria that respect international human rights standards” as reported by Guardian. The board, also referred to by Zuckerberg as the company’s Supreme Court, ordered an overhaul of a previous rule, thereby lifting the ban on topless images of 'anyone who identifies as transgender or non-binary (that is neither identifying as a male or female).'
“The same image of female-presenting nipples would be prohibited if posted by a cisgender woman but permitted if posted by an individual self-identifying as non-binary,” the board stated, “It prohibits images containing female nipples, other than in specified circumstances, such as breastfeeding and gender confirmation surgery,”
The decision comes after a recent post on Instagram, which shows a couple that identifies as transgender and non-binary, posing topless but with their nipples covered. The image was flagged by several users and was taken down by Meta. However, the couple won in their appeal to the company and the image was restored. “We know more can be done to support the LGBTQ+ community, and that means working with experts and LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations on a range of issues and product improvements,” a Meta representative told the New York Post.
We wait to see the reactions.