On Thursday, pop sensation and rock and roll queen Madonna took it out against social media giant, Instagram, when the latter took down her pictures of her exposed nipples on the pretext that they were inappropriate. The 63 year old singer and musician, who transformed the music industry and made it more acceptable and open to women and played a huge role in the second wave feminist movement, retorted by reposting her photos. She expressed shock and disbelief at how, even in the 21st century, a woman’s exposed breasts could be a topic of debate and debacle ; not only that, it could also be termed inappropriate and indecent.
So what was the photo that actually sparked up such a controversy?
Madonna had previously posted a picture of her on her bed wearing black lingerie and fishnets on the gram. Her left breast was pretty much exposed with her nipple visible to the naked eye and that did not go down well with the Instagram authorities. Even without a prior notification or warning, the picture was taken down by the media site itself which made the singer pretty much furious with the double standards practiced and preached. She retorted by immediately re-uploading the same, only this time with a heart emoji to cover up her exposed left breast. She then wrote a caption that pretty much blasted the pants off the censorship board figures.
In her caption, she explained disbelief and genuine disappointment at how society has yet not been accepting of women who have learned to not hide their sexuality, instead owned up to it and embraced it. The double standards, the hypocrisy and the sheer judgemental mind-set, no doubt dictated by warped patriarchal notions, got exposed or rather triggered at the mere sight of a woman’s exposed breasts and nipples. She proceeded to comment on how the very physical attribute that was so vilified and sexualised, is indeed a life-giving structure and devised for nurture and nourishment.
“I’m reposting photographs Instagram took down without warning or notification….. The reason they gave my management that does not handle my account was that a small portion of my nipple was exposed,” her caption read.
“It is still astounding to me that we live in a culture that allows every inch of a woman’s body to be shown except a nipple. As if that is the only part of a woman’s anatomy that could be sexualized. The nipple that nourishes the baby!”
She went on to say further how this same treatment or discrimination wouldn’t have been meted out to a man. “Can’t a man’s nipple be experienced as erotic ??!! And what about a woman’s ass which is never censored anywhere. Giving thanks that I have managed to maintain my sanity through four decades of censorship”, she said before labelling the authorities behind this as sexist, ageist and misogynist.
She had previously made a huge impact on the second wave feminist movement, with her sexually liberating songs and music videos. She kick-started a whole new genre of music and opened doors to a lot of young women like Britney Spears in what was previously a more male-dominated industry. For this and many more feminist indulgences, Madonna is still looked up to and worshipped like a deity.
True to herself, she has never shied away from speaking up against such sexist malpractices. In April she had posted a slideshow of pictures on the same site, on her profile, essentially topless with her hair covering both of her breasts. Donning a serious expression she had captioned it, “Why do I have to Explain Everything …”.
This time she took her perfect revenge on Thanksgiving day by calling them out on their double standards. “Perfectly timed with the lies we have been raised to believe about the pilgrims peacefully breaking bread with the Native American Indians when they landed on Plymouth Rock! God bless America 🇺🇸 ♥️❌ #artistsareheretodisturbthepeace”, she wrote.