The sexist history of censoring nipples is senseless and due to change with better understanding of gender and trans identity.
Look closely at Jason Momoa's nipple. Do you find it offensive? Amber Heard wants to know.
Recently, the Aquaman actress called out Instagram's sexist censorship policies. When promoting her recent feature in Interview Magazine, Heard posted to Instagram a shot from the black and white photo shoot in which she is bare chested underneath a black blazer. After the photo received nearly 750k likes, Instagram took it down as a violation of their "community guidelines." In response, Heard criticized the policy by posting a picture of costar Jason Momoa in an identical pose and semi-nude state.
"In honor of IG's rigorous and equitable Community Guidelines against showing the Female nipple," she captioned, "and since mine enjoyed the brief privilege that's afforded to my male counterparts.. I decided to pay homage by replacing it with a picture that DID meet IG's strict nudity guidelines and such careful gender policies." She also took to her Instagram stories to ask viewers to vote "on which edit you prefer the most." She thanked Instagram and said, "here's to 2019!"
For what it's worth, Instagram's policy acknowledges that nudity can be artistic rather than lewd or pornagraphic; they just don't care. Their policy reads: "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 on Instagram. This includes photos, videos, and some digitally-created content that show sexual intercourse, genitals, and close-ups of fully-nude buttocks. It also includes some photos of female nipples, but photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed. Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too."
Really, Heard harnessed the elegance of Jason Momoa's right nipple to add to a conversation about double standards and the social shaming of the female body that dates back to the early 19th century. Before then, in the 17th and 18th centuries, toplessness wasn't even taboo. In France and Britain (influenced by French culture), "the latest fashions were cut so low that applying nipple make-up or nipple rouge became a part of some women's beauty routine at the vanity table."
Portrait of Princess of Lamballe by Duplessis, 18th century, ALAMY
Then came the Victorian era, during which Queen Victoria imposed rigid restrictions on how females should express their sexuality—or, more specifically, that they shouldn't. As writer Sara Sheridan recounted for the BBC, "Victoria's childhood had been scarred by her domineering mother, the Duchess of Kent, who left the Queen with a lifelong horror of sexual impropriety."
So, thanks to one queen's childhood trauma, Instagram (along with most media outlets) bans female nipples but condones graphic images of slain hunted animals, pus-filled pimple popping, and "stomach-churning" medical accounts. And, of course, men's nipples.
Portrait of Nell Gwyn, Simon VerelstALAMY
But Heard's sly salute to 2019 also highlights that time is running out for out-dated double standards. Namely, with trans and non-binary individuals expressing themselves more freely and finally being represented in the media, society is becoming more aware that gender is a social construct, and gender identity exists on a spectrum. When Robyn Kanner writes about being a trans woman in media, she admits that, to a degree, she understands Instagram's problem and attempt at a solution: "Its algorithm attempts to track and delete nudity. If that doesn't work, it's up to an Instagram user to see and report it. That's when a 'global team' at Instagram decides if it should stay or go." But, she wrote, "In 2013, when I had just started estrogen, there was a strong possibility that Instagram would have let me upload a picture of my breasts…It's 2018, and my C-cup breasts are too scandalous for Mark Zuckerberg and Kevin Systrom's photo-sharing platform." She concludes, "Instagram has successfully shamed women into believing our nipples and breasts are cursed images. It should reconsider its policy. Pretending nipples aren't family-friendly in 2018 is a massively silly endeavor." In 2019, Instagram is now, more than ever, "failing its community" by shaming female nipples.
Twitter / @Robynkanner
But, with censorship and shame around the human nipple based solely on gender, what could more inclusive gender expression mean for the nipple?
Freedom, according to the Instagram account @genderless_nipples. Since 2016, the account has been publishing user-submitted close-ups of nipples, both male and female, with no indication of what gender (or agender) the body is. Instagram doesn't ban the images, because A) there's no way to tell which one is a female nipple and so a violation of their policy, B) there's nothing innately shameful or lewd about the body part, in the first place, and C) anyone who reports the account in attempt to have the pictures banned is close-minded and trapped in a Puritan mindset that clearly needs to be expanded by watching Fleabag or anything on HBO or any of Laura Dodsworth's celebrated photography projects of 100 penises and vaginas.
So while you freely gaze at the beauty of Jason Momoa's nipple, remember the long history of nipples that came before his and the arbitrary reason you're not allowed to gaze at so many more.
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The hit musical will drop on Disney+ July 3rd.
Lin Manuel-Miranda's Hamilton has taken the theater world by storm since its 2015 Broadway premiere.
A hip-hop musical about America's founding fathers doesn't sound immediately appealing, but Manuel-Miranda's brilliant song writing and diverse casting not only captured the attention of audiences, but proved that major change is possible within an art form as encumbered by traditions as musical theater.
The Price of Prejudice in 2019: A "Crazy Rich Asians" Screenwriter Refused to Be Paid Less Than Her Male, White Co-Writer
The gender pay gap is ingrained in the very fabric of American capitalism and our weird Hobbesian individualism—but that doesn't it make it any less sh*tty.
What's the difference between $110,000 and $800,000? It's a trick question with two answers: racism and sexism.
Crazy Rich Asian screenwriter, Adele Lim, has left the franchise after being offered significantly less than her male, white co-writer, Peter Chiarelli. On Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter published that Lim had walked away from the sequel to the $238 million hit film, which is based on Kevin Kwan's best-selling trilogy. Lim's publicist has confirmed that disparity in pay is what drove Lim to leave the creative team.
While Lim refrained from giving specific numbers, sources at Warner Bros. state that Lim and Chiarelli were given "industry-standard" quotes, meaning that writers' pay scales are based on their previous credentials. The problem with this is that major studios infamously fail to give equal opportunities to women and people of color. For instance, before Crazy Rich Asians Chiarelli was credited with two feature films, 2009's The Proposal (as writer) and Now You See 2 (as a story developer). On the other hand, Lim was a veteran TV writer and producer with 12 prior writing credits, from OneTree Hill and Private Practice to Reign and Fox's Lethal Weapon. Yet, Chiarelli was reportedly offered between $800,000 and $1 million to work on the Crazy Rich Asians sequel.
Chiarelli suggested splitting his pay with Lim in order to keep her on board. As Lim told The Hollywood Reporter, "Pete has been nothing but incredibly gracious, but what I make shouldn't be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer." She added, "If I couldn't get pay equity after CRA, I can't imagine what it would be like for anyone else, given that the standard for how much you're worth is having established quotes from previous movies, which women of color would never have been [hired for]. There's no realistic way to achieve true equity that way."
The gender pay gap is ingrained in the very fabric of American capitalism and our weird Hobbesian individualism—but that doesn't it make it any less sh*tty. Whether we're talking about the average full-time working woman earning only $0.80 for each dollar a man earns or U.S. female soccer players making only $0.38 for every dollar their male counterparts make, 2019 is still a good time to call out gendered and racial pay discrimination. In Hollywood, Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo (who became TV's highest paid actress after 14 seasons) has long been outspoken about the entertainment industry's unfair treatment of women. As she frankly told The Hollywood Reporter, a young successful actress is paid "certainly less than her male co-star and probably with no backend. And they're going to pimp her out until she's 33 or 34 and then she's out like yesterday's trash, and then what does she have to take care of herself?"
The Hollywood Reporter
Similarly, pay disparities between people of color and white actors continue to plague TV networks and major film studios. In 2017, Asian American actors Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park allegedly left CBS's Hawaii Five-O due to unequal pay. For writers, Lim describes studios treating people of color like "soy sauce"—only hired to add cultural touch-ups and create a veneer of legitimacy to a "diverse" screenplay, but not taken seriously as professional writers. "When I came on, we basically talked about how I grew up in this culture," Lim said. As a woman with a Chinese Malaysian background, she brought a much-needed female and Southeast Asian perspective to Crazy Rich Asians' writing room: "Important doesn't begin to describe it when you're talking about describing a culture and a family that the world—that America—hasn't seen before. You want it to come from an authentic perspective." She added, "Even if it goes over the head of the mainstream audience, the Southeast Asians of the world can see it was very much done for them. It's very much a love letter to all those people."
Crazy Rich Asians inspired high hopes for better representation of Asian Americans in mainstream media (which has been, thus far, a failed promise), but the development of the sequels was at glacial pace even before Lim's departure. Director John M. Chu says there's "still too much work to do. Our focus isn't on the timeline, it's on getting the story right," mostly because "there's too much responsibility and too much precedent from the first movie" to disappoint viewers. But the entertainment industry's deeply ingrained sexism and racism will continue to derail hopes for fair media representation as long as society's basic standards, like a fair living wage, remain biased.
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