Madonna’s defiant lingerie photoshoot removed by Instagram for violating its nipple policy

Madonna, in leather and fishnets, posed for her followers

All Madonna was doing was expressing herself – but this was too much for Instagram, apparently.

The legendary “Vogue” hitmaker has slammed the social media service as sexist after Instagram allegedly removed her recent sensual photoshoot without warning.

Across a series of photographs, the 63-year-old posed in leather lingerie and fishnets sprawled across – and under – her bed. In some shots, one of her nipples can be seen.

It was Madonna doing what she does best – fighting against the pernicious idea that older women no longer matter.

But the post was scrubbed off her feed entirely, she said, because her nipple was showing. On Thursday evening (25 November), the trailblazer re-uploaded the shoot on Instagram – her nipples now covered with emojis.

“I’m reposting photographs Instagram took down without warning or notification,” she wrote in the caption.

“The reason they gave my management that does not handle my account was that a small portion of my nipple was exposed.”


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Madonna: ‘Can’t a man’s nipple be experienced as erotic?’

Instagram removing the post left Madonna hurt and frustrated, she said, as it captures how nipples – which can feed new life – are still sexualised today.

“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,” she wrote.

“As if that is the only part of a woman’s anatomy that could be sexualised. The nipple that nourishes the baby!

Madonna Madame X

Madonna performs onstage during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Kevin Mazur/Getty/dcp)

Madonna also laced into the unfair double standards that mean men can freely show their chest while women cannot.

“Can’t a man’s nipple be experienced as erotic ??!!” she fumed. “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.

“Perfectly timed with the lies we have been raised to believe about the pilgrims peacefully breaking bread with the Native American Indians when they landed on Plymouth Rock!”

For years, campaigners have put pressure on Facebook and Instagram to treat all nipples equally. Yet such change has proved too radical for Silicon Valley, forcing users to self-censor or else be penalised by the platforms.

According to Instagram’s community guidelines, nudity is banned other than for health reasons, such as people breastfeeding or post-mastectomy scarring. Nudity in art, such as in paintings and sculptures, is allowed.

Madonna has long been a pioneer in squaring off against sexist attitudes and beliefs. Even by 1992, members of the press had already begun to ask whether the then 34-year-old would rail against ageism.

On BBC One’s Jonathan Ross Presents, the singer said: “I mean a lot of people have said: ‘Oh, that’s so pathetic, I hope she’s not still doing that in 10 years’.

“I mean, who cares? What if I am? I mean, Is there a rule?

“What are you just supposed to die when you’re 40? That’s basically what everybody wants people to do.”

A spokesperson for Meta, the umbrella company which owns Facebook and Instagram, told PinkNews: “We take down content that breaks our rules whenever we find it, no matter who posts it.

“While we understand not everyone will always agree with where we draw the line, our rules are designed to help keep everyone of all ages safe on our apps, while giving space for as much expression as possible.”