Scout Willis’ Nipples, Irony and Gender Equality

Today’s young women equate too much of their power with their bodies and forget the power that their brains hold. Last week, Scout Willis, the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis took to the streets of New York City topless, an action that is legal. Her protest was to bring attention to Instagram’s community guidelines. The idea was so absurd to me that I immediately began tweeting her.


And then, she tweeted back.


I didn’t post my meanest comments here, the ones that talked about her father’s violent films or the fact that she should get a minimum wage job and learn about real equality. I need to find those and delete them:( At 22, I have to say she was unflappable, even poised and obviously committed. She didn’t flinch like most young women her age might by the many comments that dismissed her protest.  Throughout the night and into the weekend, she continued to tweet out her points as calmly and intelligently as possible. Today, she released a statement about her protest. This caught my attention:

“My situation was in no way unique; women are regularly kicked off Instagram for posting photos with any portion of the areola exposed, while photos sans nipple — degrading as they might be — remain unchallenged. So I walked around New York topless and documented it on Twitter, pointing out that what is legal by New York state law is not allowed on Instagram. “

And then, I understood. How is it that Instagram (co-founded by two men – just saying) can be ok with images like this below, but nipples are banned?



While Instagram has banned the areola, it does allow #underboob. So the breast is ok, the nipple, not ok. See here.  In essence, women’s images on Instagram need to be vetted by a male patriarchy and only approved if sexy, provocative, playful. Breastfeeding mothers, cancer survivors – not even a chance – no nipple.

I’m not a big Instagram user, but I get it now. Sex sells, nipples don’t and irony is sexism. Scout, did I get that? Thanks for the lesson.