As a woman, I can’t post pictures containing my nipples on Facebook. Facebook’s nudity policy considers male nipples acceptable to publish, but female nipples are considered against their nudity rules unless engaging in breast feeding, with direct mouth to nipple contact shown.
I can technically exist topless in the UK, but as a woman my nipples being visible is accepted only on the vague wording that I not display “intention to cause distress, alarm or outrage”, a distinction that doesn’t apply to men’s nipples.
I can’t post pictures containing my nipple to Pintrest or Instagram either, where as male users of those services can post topless pictures.
Today, I want to answer a simple question. As a trans woman, what day did my nipples begin to break rules, laws and community guidelines?
So, let’s start a ways back. This is a picture of me at age 16. At the time, I wasn’t out as transgender to myself, or to my family. Most people who saw this picture without the context of me later transitioning would agree that this picture doesn’t break facebook or instagram’s guidelines for nipple posting.
Still, when I eventually sort a gender recognition certificate, my birth certificate will be reissued to list my gender at birth as female. That would make the above nipples “female nipples”. Are those considered indecent exposure by virtue of a later altered piece of paperwork? Will the day I get my birth certificate altered be the day my nipples start to break rules? Did they always break the rules?
Let’s move forward a little to when I came out as trans in my late teens into early twenties. I was stuffing my bra with mastectomy breast forms at the time, but underneath all that I had nipples. I had not taken any form of homone replacement therapy at this time. Were my nipples breaking the rules as soon as I came out? Did they start breaking the rules when I first started living as Laura full time, but had not yet started hormones?
Did my nipples become a problem when I started developing breast tissue in my mid twenties? If so, how much boob did it take before my nipple became an obscene nipple? Why is it that once I started growing breast tissue the breast tissue itself was fine to show, but the previously fine nipple became a problem?
My point here is that bans on the public exposure or online posting of female nipples make no real sense when examined in any kind of depth. There are so many different dividing lines one could draw regarding my nipples and their level of acceptability that the idea we need to censor female nipples is rather ridiculous.
Let’s get freedom for all kinds of nipples. Mine didn’t become obscene overnight, but the world at some point decided they were. That’s a problem.