Scout Willis, the 22-year-old daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, walked around New York City sans top on Tuesday to protest Instagram's policy on nudity. The photo-sharing app deleted Willis' account after she shared photos that violated its community guidelines, so she tweeted a picture of her shirtless walk through the Lower East Side with the caption "Legal in NYC but not on @Instagram." Then, she shared a second, similar photo with, "What @Instagram won't let you see #FreeTheNipple." That hashtag caught the attention of Rihanna, who was recently banned from Instagram for posting a topless picture of herself. It's fitting, then, that Willis has now changed her Twitter profile picture to the very image that ended Rihanna's account.
Ed. note: The image ahead contains NSFW content.
Willis has taken her time in the spotlight to remind the world that this isn't an issue specific to her, nor is it just about topless photos. She's pointing out inconsistencies she sees in what Instagram defines as "flaggable" material. For example, she's posted images of breast cancer survivors, men showing their nipples, men getting lap dances, and other images where a covered, female nipple is allowed. Before her account was deleted, she also reportedly changed her name to Scout (Areola) Willis to highlight the app's arbitrary policies on nipples.
Though women are technically allowed to be topless in NYC, it's worth noting that it's not as black-and-white a law as it sounds. Photographer Allen Henson has illustrated the gray areas of women's topless rights by attempting to photograph them that way in Grand Central Station and the Empire State Building. Both events resulted in police action, and one in a lawsuit against Henson. There are, however, groups working to eradicate such problems. Elizabeth Siematkowski, for example, has founded ToplessbladingTM, a rollerblading coalition and self-proclaimed "social, cultural movement."
While each social network will have its own guidelines, Willis has successfully shown how some of these policies are in need of evaluation. (People)