The international supermodel posted an image Monday from her recent photoshoot with W Magazine, before instagram cottoned on. Because of its weirdly puritanical, hypocritical and arbitrary rules on nudity, and nipples in particular, after a few hours, Instagram took the image down.
After the photo was removed, Teigen responded to Instagram on Twitter, essentially saying, "challenge accepted."
Perhaps playing with and highlighting the absurdity of the site's restrictions on nipples, Teigen shared the same image repeatedly, but with different filters, making them appear as though they are all in different mediums — colored pencil, monochromatic pencil and oil paints.
"Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK," the site's community guidelines state. But then what happens if it's a photo that looks like a painting? That, apparently, is unacceptable, given the following were all removed too. Only pictures of paintings were allowed, no paintings of pictures. Duh.
Teigen is one of many high-profile celebrities taking a stand against Instagram's gender-biased and arbitrary rules on nudity. Miley Cyrus has repeatedly posted topless or half-naked pictures of herself in defiance of the regulations. Chelsea Handler drew attention to the sexist double standards by posting a photo of her topless on a horse, next to an identical one of a topless Vladimir Putin, which has been permitted all over social media. But, rather than prompting some soul-searching, Instagram responded by swiftly deleting Handler's picture and moving on.
The only other exemptions to female nipples, aside from paintings and sculptures, are breastfeeding and post-mastectomy scarring. Amendments on nudity restrictions to include these two exceptions were made in April after backlash against the platform's removing pictures of breastfeeding mothers, a natural process to be celebrated and not shamed, many contended.
Teigen is pushing the fight forward. The more attention given to social media's arbitrary and sexist rules against the female body, the more likely it is to change. Women's bodies are no more shameful or scandalous than men's bodies and they shouldn't be treated as though they are.