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Chelsea Handler Joins Ranks Of Women Challenging Instagram

Chelsea Handler posted a topless photo of herself on Instagram in protest of the site's nudity policy, reigniting discussion about sexualization.
Posted at 5:20 PM, Oct 31, 2014

Chelsea Handler is the latest celebrity to challenge Instagram's nudity policy. 

She posted this image to Instagram, which she re-posted on Twitter, spoofing a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin riding a horse while topless.

And, of course, Instagram took it down and sent her a message explaining it violated their community guidelines. 

So, just like the rest of the Internet, she went on Twitter to express her frustrations, saying"Taking this down is sexist. I have every right to show I have a better body than Putin." And, "If Instagram takes this down again, you're saying Vladimir Putin has more 1st amendment rights."

The stand-up comedian posted the photo two more times, but Instagram also took it down two more times. 

Instagram's response isn't remotely surprising. Rihanna had her account suspended after posting a topless photos of herself on the site earlier this year.

And Scout Willis had her account shut down after posting photos of herself walking around New York City topless in support of the "FreeTheNipple" movement. 

Members of that group criticize an attitude that images of clothed women that are also overtly sexual are accepted, but photos of women breastfeeding or pictures of breast cancer survivors are censored on social media. A spokeswoman for the group told The Huffington Post:

"It's just a nipple, and that's the whole point. Why do we sexualize it so much that it's banned? A great way to start a conversation is how much violence and guns we can sell on Instagram, but a nipple is obscene."

However, Complex writes"Handler's beef that the policy is sexist has some merit, but the other side of this is that Instagram is a private company that has a right to set its own 'decency' guidelines. Like it or not, they can control what is and isn't OK to appear on their website."

Instagram has previously defended its policy, with the CEO telling the BBC it is there to ensure the site remains "the safest place possible for teens and adults."

But even if Instagram changed their policy to allow nudity, that probably won't solve their problems. They then wade into the incredibly murky waters of defining which images are overtly sexual and which aren't. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.