The XX Factor

The Genderless Nipples Instagram Proves That Nipples Are Universally Weird-Looking

Nipples, in addition to being funny and occasionally useful, serve as reminders that, despite the civilizations we’ve built and cultures we’ve created, underneath it all humans are just animals with weird nubbins sticking out of their chests. A new Instagram account specializing in genderless nipples emphasizes this weirdness, and shared humanity, by collecting pictures of various human nipples close up and out of context.

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The account, which came to Slate’s attention through Farhad Manjoo’s prolific Twitter feed, ostensibly exists as a protest against Instagram’s nudity policy: The platform is fine with male nipples but gets all bent out of shape over female ones, as activists as diverse as the Free the Nipple advocacy group and the comedian Chelsea Handler have both pointed out.

With this account, the proof is in the pudding, or rather, the nipples: It is indeed impossible to tell what gender the people these nipples are attached to identify with and therefore also impossible to determine which ones you are supposed to consider sexy and get turned on by. They look like they should be hanging on the wall in some sitcom’s idea of an outré art gallery: They’re bumpy and weird and asymmetrical and a good reminder that evolution is a trip, man.

The account’s first post went up a week ago, and it’s achieved a modest following of about 1,000 people so far. On Monday, it posted that its account had been disabled and a post removed due to not meeting the platform’s community guidelines. Instagram fell right into Genderless Nipples’ trap with that one, because the post the platform removed was a man’s nipple. If you want to watch Instagram play a long game of Whac-A-Mole with a bunch of human nipples, follow along at @genip_ and @genderless_nipples.

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