Exclusive: After Topless Uproar, Scout Willis Says, "This Is So Much Bigger Than Instagram"

Scout-Willis-topless.jpg
Image via Twitter
Sometime in the past two days, you've probably seen Scout Willis's breasts. The 22-year-old is best known for being Demi Moore and Bruce Willis's child, but in the past 48 hours, every media outlet on the planet has covered her topless walk down a Lower East Side street, which she did to protest Instagram's draconian rules against the female nipple.

To refresh, on Tuesday, she tweeted the photo above, captioned "What Instagram won't let you see," along with this:

"It would be naïve to say I didn't think it would cause a controversy, a buzz," she told the Voice yesterday, in an interview at our offices, the first she's given since her nipples nearly broke the Internet. "But never did I expect the outpouring - both of media attention, as well as incredibly positive support."

And some less positive reactions as well: "Some people either aren't aware enough of the facts to know what it is I'm actually fighting for and talking about, and some people really just don't want to take me seriously, and would rather write me off as someone who's just attention-seeking."

Willis is well aware of how she might be perceived -- she's wealthy, beautiful, has famous parents, and describes her occupation as "a professional dabbler." She only signed up for Twitter in February, and her Instagram was private until a month ago.

"I wanted to live my life privately," she says. But after she made her Instagram public, in the first week she'd already received two warnings from the site about posting "inappropriate" content.

"I wasn't even sure why," she says. She combed through her photos and figured out the warnings were due to other users reporting photos where she was wearing sheer tops. "It wasn't like I was posting blatant nudes." The deletions were particularly galling for Willis because she had a breast reduction surgery several years ago, and has only recently come to feel comfortable with her body.

"It was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had. It completely changed my relationship to my body," she says. "I felt so empowered and love my breasts so much. I don't feel like wearing a bra."

It's not just 22-year-olds in sheer tops being knuckle-rapped for showing their nipples -- breastfeeding mothers and breast cancer survivors are also mostly unwelcome on Instagram. Instagram's content guidelines explicitly state: "Photos that show a fully exposed breast where the child isn't actively engaged in nursing aren't following our Community Guidelines." And the site says some post-mastectomy photos aren't okay either: "Photos with fully exposed breasts, particularly if they're unaffected by surgery, don't follow Instagram's Community Guidelines."

For Willis, the final straw came when she posted a photo of a bomber jacket she'd designed. It featured two of her friends, topless, on the back of the jacket. That, too, was promptly taken down. Soon after, her account was deactivated altogether.

'A picture of a picture of breasts got deleted," she says. "That's when I got incensed." Particularly when she compared her photos to Dan Bilzerian's, a millionaire poker player who's best known for throwing a woman off a roof and severely injuring her. Bilzerian's Instagram could best be described as wall-to-wall boobs, interrupted occasionally by pictures of boats, cash, and the occasional butt.

"You people may think it's easy to ride motorcycles around the house butt naked and fuck big titty broads," he wrote in the caption of one representative photo. "Well, it's not, but.. #IDoItForThePeople." (To be fair, the topless woman in that one has a modesty shield over her nipple, and while Bilzerian is clearly nude, his penis is obscured by the motorcycle he's sitting on and the woman straddling him. It's all very tasteful.)

"I didn't mean to target him, but he was a good juxtaposition for what I was talking about," Willis says. "His photos are outrageous. They're just so rude and so mean and every woman is called a bitch," by Bilzerian himself or his legions of fans. "It was easy. All I had to do is post that next to the bomber jacket."

Still fuming, she went out for a walk with her boyfriend on the Lower East Side and decided, en route, to make it a protest. She pulled her shirt off, her boyfriend snapped some photos, and the world, unlike Instagram, did not react. (Toplessness has been legal in New York state for 22 years .)

"People were really blasé about it," she says.

See also:
- Photographer Spencer Tunick Can't Stop Running Afoul of Facebook's Baffling Rules on Naked People

- Zeroing In On Adolescent Girlhood, Petra Collins Shoots From the Hip


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46 comments
ljosephs1
ljosephs1

Ok, well played miss scout. You've made a good point, was always a bit jealous that boys could whip they're tops off when and whereever. However, can't see it happening for us girls yet, or ever. Modesty is a trait that as a gender we should keep I feel. Nice boobies tho miss Willis, and strong stance, you should be proud of yourself.

Ieak
Ieak

She's got some pretty saggy pancake hangers. I'd love to tug on them.

I hope whores start giving out free poon as a protest over something.

Kate-Zielman
Kate-Zielman

Damm a no talent star is born. But Kim Kardashian took that honor already.

christopher-hampton
christopher-hampton

i love it i think looks sexy topless and she is beautiful and pretty with beautiful long red hair and I'll take her and i'll getmy picture take with her, i think going topless in public is sexy,her breast is beautiful and i like it. and i love boobies and that's a good cause i support you going topless and i' happy for you as well

christopher-hampton
christopher-hampton

i love it i think looks sexy topless and she is beautiful and pretty with beautiful long red hair and I'll take her and i'll getmy picture take with her, i think going topless in public is sexy,her breast is beautiful and i like it. and i love boobies

Alfred J Bev III
Alfred J Bev III

freedom of expression is the right here and is her right !

John T Sahtila Jr
John T Sahtila Jr

Big star is born.. Congratulations on not having talent.. Take a seat with the Kardashians

millyanderson75
millyanderson75


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Matthew Storey
Matthew Storey

Wrong. Censorship has no place in social media or the Internet. And hundreds of millions of us live in the 1st world.

joedee
joedee

I never heard of Bilzerian before this article, and after looking at his page I really wish I hadn't.


He's why there were Bolshevik's. And in this day, and age, with stagnant wages, and rising poverty, to flaunt your wealth like that makes you a miserable piece of shit. It's because of douchebags like him that people hate Americans. 

Kristi Marie
Kristi Marie

Is she losing her mind like her mom did?

JustSaying
JustSaying

Scout is the Rosa Parks of nipples. If Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in order to get twitter verified, that is.

Mike
Mike

She ain't all that. Demi was alot hotter back in the '80's. I'd do her after a couple of lines and some Moet. She doing this for publicity.

Patricia Flores
Patricia Flores

So Instagram has a no-boob policy only for women's breasts? Because some Man-boobs can be pretty disgusting too;-)

jackhammer47
jackhammer47

Women are being stoned to death in Pakistan.  300 little schoolgirls are being held captive in Africa -- and "bare breasts" are this brat's issue?  Nice job, Demi -- an exhibitionist begets an exhibitionist.  Celebrity culture is so tiresome and yet the American public keeps feeding this nonsense.  Get a life, people.  Please.

Jay Goldsworthy
Jay Goldsworthy

This never had anything to do with Instagram. This is about Scout Willis promoting herself.

toplessnewyork
toplessnewyork

It's only been legal for women to be topless in public in New York State since 1992, not for thirty years - but obviously millions of people still have no idea about it. I've been documenting the issue for several years.


http://toplessnewyork.deviantart.com/

Quay Quayhaylaya
Quay Quayhaylaya

My kids like instagram. Nudity s cool, but I'd like them to be able to chill with our friends and family and remain innocent just a bit longer. 18 would be a good age. Maybe they could start "Nudestagram".

Sergio Fermin
Sergio Fermin

wow look how priveleged this white girl is. another one sued and won 29k. no other race would get away with that.

Spencer Tiberius Rappaport
Spencer Tiberius Rappaport

Instead of going topless in the LES during the day and saying "people were blase about it". Try the Bronx or Brownsville at night....or Cleveland or Detroit or Baltimore (Those states have legal topless laws as well) I get it, choices. But shes right. There are whole industries (america yay!) DEVOTED to hyper-sexualization that will NOT GO AWAY. A few # wars are not going to change society and how a lot of men view women.

mary
mary

@jackhammer47 Ah yes, the "It's worse somewhere else, stop complaining" argument... Sound logic.

tayvlhunt
tayvlhunt

@jackhammer47 Way to miss the entire point. But don't let that stop you from running your ignorant mouth...

jackhammer47
jackhammer47

She's part of the problem -- not the solution.

JustSaying
JustSaying

@Anna_Merlan_Voice Yup. Your tweet about the hipsters in St Louis not quite being sure what was wrong with you made me laugh out loud. So naturally that transitioned into me reading your exclusive.

JustSaying
JustSaying

@Anna_Merlan_Voice As I was reading it I thought that maybe they were picking up on your NYC vibe. The hashtag made sweet iced tea shoot out of my nose.

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