According to Billboard, Miley Cyrus broke Instagram on April 17. Or rather she forced the popular online picture site to clarify its nipple policy. After Cyrus shared her thinly veiled nipples, Instagram said sorry they're still nipples, still breasts, still sexual organs. Breasts can't be bared pointlessly--no pun intended---because it's still “pornography" and verboten on PG-13 social network sites. This caused Cyrus and other celebrities like Scout Willis, Madonna, Rihanna and to join the #freethenipple campaign.
The policy of Instagram is that nipples can't be shown at all and breasts can only displayed for utilitarian purposes, like breastfeeding with an infant attached (which implies the nipple and most of breast isn't showing). Photos showcasing the lack of breasts may be shared for educational or therapeutic purposes such as if the Instagram user had a mastectomy. That clarification was important as breastfeeding moms and mastectomy patients have had their photos banned.
Breasts may be flashed if they are in a classic work of art, say a female nude Greek statue or painting by Titian. This has been a gray area as well. Some sites deem nudes in art pornography, even if the models have been dead for 700 years! This isn't just an Instagram rule. It's part of the Federal Communications Commission's code.
Miley Cyrus is clearly an exhibitionist who has worked hard to shed the child star persona of her Disney Channel days. She' been able to do something many child stars have not been able to: transition to performing as an adult. As the movie “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” showed us, many adult has-been child performers deal with negative repercussions just because they were child stars. Whether Miley is more talented than most or whether she’s just lucky, that successful transition should not be taken for granted with outrageous publicity stunts.
They may not harm her career. They might even gain her more fans. But like the old saying about boyfriends goes, if they they only like you because you’re willing to put out, is it love or just lust?