One of our very first posts on SocImages was a Wrestle Mania billboard.  It featured a bunch of muscle-bound men without shirts, but their nipples were photoshopped out. They were too suggestive of women’s nipples (which are obscene, obviously) and possibly against the law.

Nipple-phobia is back with a particularly amusing example from Facebook.  Company policy requires deleting images of “female nipple bulges” (defined as “naked ‘private parts’”; male nipples, with or without bulges, are excluded from the ban).  This prompted Facebook to take down a New Yorker cartoon by Mick Stevens, see if you can figure why:

Robert Mankoff mocked the incident.  ”Just to be clear,” he says:

The cartoonist, upon hearing of the problem, re-drew a Facebook-compliant version of the joke:

To be fair, and here I begin my own mockery, we are talking about Eve here.  And she had lost her innocence — and the innocence of the entire human race — with her “original” idea.  So… you know, she was a dirty, dirty gal who did a bad, bad thing and would realize the importance of covering up those “dirty pillows” sooner or later.  Facebook was just ahead of the curve. I guess.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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