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Madonna hits out at Instagram for removing photos over nipple exposure

The site deleted risqué photos of the pop icon over breach of its guidelines

By Joe Goggins

Madonna wears black and sits on a sofa at The Jimmy Fallon Show
Madonna has lashed out at Instagram for removing the provocative photos. (Photo: YouTube/ The Jimmy Fallon Show).

Madonna has criticised Instagram for deleting a series of risqué photographs from her page.

The pop legend first shared the snaps, in which carefully-placed heart emojis covered her nipples, earlier this week, making headlines in the process. Re-sharing the photos today (November 26), this time with the emojis repositioned, she claimed the originals were removed because a “small portion” of her nipple was exposed, according to what the platform told her management.

That would have represented a contravention of Instagram’s regulations, which forbid nudity unless in certain health-related contexts, such as breastfeeding or post-mastectomy scarring. Nude sculptures and paintings are also permitted.

In the caption on the new post, the 63-year-old said: “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,” the singer said. “As if that is the only part of a woman’s anatomy that could be sexualized. The nipple that nourishes the baby! Can’t a mans nipple be experienced as erotic ??!!”

The ‘Like a Prayer’ star continued: “”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…… sexism……ageism and misogyny.” She ended her message with the hashtag #artistsareheretodisturbthepeace.

Instagram has yet to comment on the situation. Madonna remains no stranger to controversy, and has pushed boundaries with her wardrobe choices her entire career, from the now-iconic Jean-Paul Gaultier cone bra corset he wore on her 1990 Blond Ambition tour to her get-up at 2016’s Met Gala, a bondage-inspired outfit by Givenchy.

In August, Instagram apologised for taking down the poster for the latest Pedro Almodovar film, ‘Madres Paralelas’, because it featured a lactating nipple. In reinstating the poster, the platform said in a statement that exceptions were possible “to allow nudity in certain circumstances, which includes when there’s clear artistic context”.

Madonna’s latest album, ‘Madame X’, was released in 2019 to generally positive reviews. The album became her ninth number one in the US, and reached number two in the UK.