Instagram Will Finally Allow Breastfeeding Photos

Photographed by Mark Iantosca.
Instagram has run into criticism in the past for its strict, possibly sexist rules on what images can and cannot be posted to the platform. In its community guidelines, Instagram explains that it strives to “foster and protect this amazing community.” But, its prohibition of nudity meant that harmless and natural images — such as women breastfeeding their children — could result in account suspension for the poster.

While Instagram did allow some breastfeeding images in the past, its guidelines were unclear. The new policy, however, offers clarification that images of “women actively breastfeeding” are permitted on the site. Additionally, images of "post-mastectomy scarring" are now explicitly allowed. The platform's nudity policy remains strict: Images containing “sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks” are still banned. 

“We know that there are times when people might want to share nude images that are artistic or creative in nature, but for a variety of reasons, we don’t allow nudity," Instagram explains. "But, photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too.”

The new guidelines are also stricter and more explicit about online harassment, terrorism, hate groups, and organized crime. As for #freethenipple, we may have a ways to go: Instagram says that only "some photos of female nipples" are permitted. Who decides which nipples pass muster is anyone's guess.
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