Instagram's Community Guidelines Now Allow Breastfeeding Photos and Photos Of Mastectomy Scars. Woohoo!

People have long pointed out the hypocrisy of what images social media sites like Facebook and Instagram deem to be "inappropriate." But in a victory for common sense, Instagram's community guidelines now explicitly allow breastfeeding photos, as well as photos of post-mastectomy scars — which is awesome because not all things involving women's breasts are inherently sexual or "inappropriate." It's nice that social media companies are finally recognizing that plainly.

Over the past few years, there have been numerous campaigns to change societal attitudes towards women's bodies and women's breasts, such as #FreeTheNipple. Many of these campaigns have focused on social media sites; one of my favorites, the #Brelfie campaign, involved moms posting selfies of themselves while breastfeeding to push back against the stigma surrounding it. And plenty of women have long pointed out the hypocrisy of removing depicting women breastfeeding or women's mastectomy scars and cite them as violations of their terms of use or community guidelines, only to leave untouched whole pages devoted to glorifying misogynistic or racist attitudes. These such pages are also arguably a gross violation of those same standards, and the lack of consistency when it comes to enforcing them has been intensely troubling and problematic.

Facebook has already lifted their ban on showing women's nipples, and now Instagram has also amended their policy. Although they still don't allow nudity, including "some photos of female nipples," they add that "photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed." And also, "Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too."

So obviously this is happy news. After all, bans on photos of breastfeeding or of mastectomy scars only really make sense if you either consider such photos to be somehow sexual — which, in turn, only works as an idea if you consider anything involving women's breasts to be sexual. Or just consider women's breasts to be inherently inappropriate. All of which is not just baffling, but also fairly troubling, since, you know, bodies aren't inherently sexual.

After all, a woman feeding her child is not a sexual act; that's what breasts are biologically for. Similarly, surgical scars — typically the result of a battle with cancer — are not sexual by default, either. These things are, however, parts of women's lives, and they have a right to be allowed to post about them on social media if they so choose. That's kind of the point of social media.

Fortunately, it seems that restrictions are easing, at least for the specific cases of breastfeeding, mastectomy scars, and theoretically for other forms of toplessness as well. I'd call that a victory.

Image: Giphy