When does posting a photo on Instagram cross the line? Is it the perception of the person sharing the images, or is it the perception of the followers? Instagram as you all know is a social media platform where individuals can share images of whatever they like… with some restrictions of course. However, when is it too far for a woman to post an image on Instagram?
When does a picture cross the line and become inappropriate?
This debate started out during a friendly conversation I was having with two friends, as we spoke about an instance when one of us felt uncomfortable sharing a picture because of the worry that it was sending the wrong idea to the public. Women have been seen as objects and are often sexualized, even when they don’t necessarily intend to be. Instagram allows male nipples to be shown but not female nipples, and to many this seems unfair. Of course, pornography is not allowed on Instagram but a female nipple is different. Is it society that takes an image and sexualizes it? Or is it the women posting the image? Who can be sure?
When an image of the female or male body is seen with minimal clothing it usually becomes sexualized. There are those who would argue both sides to the story. If a woman is posting an image with minimal clothing “she is asking for it?” or perhaps it is society that isn’t ready to view the female body without sexualizing it. Of course one does not want to send the wrong message, but why does the message have to be distorted into something it is not. Perhaps it’s time for us to evolve and realize that the human body is a beautiful machine, and rather than sexualizing a bare body, it should be respected.
To some it seems unfair that women’s nipples are banned on Instagram while men’s nipples are not. This is the double standard reality we live in. A nipple is a nipple no matter what body it comes from. All people should feel comfortable to free the nipple, while reading the context of the situation, no matter what sex they are. Maybe it is society who needs to mature and stop sexualizing the female body. According to Dr. Stephen De Wit, a Toronto-based sexologist “men have been conditioned to see the female breast and nipples as sexual accessories”. Yet, this has not always been the case.
In Ancient Greece anyone could walk around naked without being mocked or given a second look. In Ancient times, naked bodies were not looked upon in a sexualized way, especially women’s body. Throughout time and history something has changed in the way we see the naked body; and now when we see someone wearing minimal clothing we immediately inclined to sexualize them. More often women than men.
Social media content and its impact at work
Over the years Facebook has been a great database to collect images, interests, and statements from users all over the world. This is a jackpot for companies to do some research on the private lives of potential employees. Like Facebook, Instagram can also be used as a platform for businesses to see what a potential candidates are doing in their private lives. That is why people must be careful when it comes to posting images and statements on these platforms. Marketing yourself via these platforms may coincide with the way you want to be viewed through the public eye. Of course, it is crucial to be aware of what you post on Instagram, but should women be scrutinized when they post an image of themselves in a bikini on a beach when men are not scrutinized to the same extend? A picture is a visual story and the body is a vessel in which one can tell a story, it’s not just a sexual object.
Many would argue that it would be a shame to miss a job opportunity because of an inappropriate picture. But who is to judge whether a picture is inappropriate or not? Maybe the message the viewer is receiving isn’t exactly what the sender intended. It is often hard to find a middle ground between what should be posted, because everyone’s views are different. In regards to marketing yourself on Instagram, it is important to be conscious of how you present yourself. If you are looking for a job or looking for a career change, it is probably important that your social media accounts are not crossing the company’s perception of what is considered inappropriate. The next question to consider is whether you even want to work for a company that sexualizes images?
Women should have the same freedom as men when it comes to posting an image. The next step is nudity, but there is still much progress needed before nudity will be considered art, or a vessel to tell a human story. Having that choice is important, but we must use it with responsibility. Society is not ready to see an image of a naked body, male or female, and not react in a way that sexualizes the human body.
Written by Daniella Janis