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Instagram Relaxes Nudity Rules for Body Positivity

A plus-sized model sparked the shift.
by Agence France Presse
Oct 28, 2020
Photo/s: Unsplash

Instagram has relaxed its nudity policy in response to a campaign to let people show pride in their bodies even if they don't fit beauty stereotypes.

Instagram modified its rules to allow showing people hugging, cupping or holding their breasts after controversy over the removal of images of Black plus-size model Nyome Nicholas-Williams.

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View this post on Instagram

Them:”Why do you always have to post pictures nude? Me: “slim white bodies are praised for being nude and appreciating they’re form on this platform all the time and never have images taken down or asked as to why they are posting them” Them: “why does anyone have to be naked”!? Firstly that response is from someone who doesn’t want to address their inner internalised biases and dislike of bigger bodies. We all have bodies, and we can choose to celebrate them in anyway we wish. Renaissance paintings were mostly based around the nude body, I love art so I know!! How have we become so scared to share our art and celebrate our bodies without us being sexualised or being judged by others.????????‍?? This is art, I am art! Thank you for always getting it @alex_cameron your work is unmatched ????

A post shared by Nyome Nicholas - Williams (@curvynyome) on

UK-based Nicholas-Williams prompted the controversy after posting pictures of herself topless but covering her breasts with her arms on her @curvynyome Instagram account.

"We are grateful to our global community for speaking openly and honestly about their experiences and hope this policy change will help more people to confidently express themselves," Instagram global head of policy programs Carolyn Merrell said Tuesday in response to an AFP inquiry.

"We know people feel more empowered to express themselves and create communities of support - like the body positivity and acceptance communities - if they feel that their bodies and images are accepted," 

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Instagram policies on nudity keep in mind that the platform is intended for people as young as 13 years of age.

Images of breasts being squeezed were banned because they are typically associated with pornography, but images of plus-sized women hugging themselves topless in artful expressions of pride caused Instagram to amend the policy.

Imagery of breasts being grabbed and squeezed still break Instagram rules.

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