The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Chelsea Handler’s photo: publicity stunt or feminist stance?

Attention-seeking comedienne Chelsea Handler accused Instagram of sexism after her spoof of Vladmir Putin’s famous bare-chested horseriding picture was removed from the service. Handler recreated the photo, baring her breasts on a horse, with the caption: “Anything a man can do, a woman has the right to do better. #kremlin”

After her post was removed, she reposted the picture and said, “If a man posts a photo of his nipples, it’s ok, but not a woman? Are we in 1825?” Because those things are completely equivalent.

Instagram pulled the photo because it says explicitly in their Terms of Use that “Accounts found sharing nudity or mature content will be disabled and your access to Instagram may be discontinued.” In fact, Instagram was quite gracious to leave her account active at all after the deliberate contempt she showed for the site’s rules by reposting the photo.

Handler is peddling unabashed, cynical, “look at me” tripe. From the language of her original post, it’s clear she intended to stir the ever-popular gender politics pot from the outset. If that wasn’t clear at first, it certainly was after seeing her reaction to Instagram predictably removing her topless picture.

“Taking this down is sexist. I have every right to show I have a better body than Putin.” Give me a break. Let’s pretend she has a better body than Vladmir Putin, a black-belt in Judo and all-around badass Russian. She’s still ignoring the fact that she knowingly broke Instagram’s policy against mature content twice, and once deliberately.

Her rebuttal, of course, is that it’s a double standard that men can go topless and women can’t. It’s a problem with culture, you see. What facile garbage. There are all kinds of different expectations in our culture concerning men and women’s bodies because, get this, men and women’s bodies are different.

Culture is nuanced and complicated, but something decidedly uncomplicated is Handler’s insatiable hunger for attention and publicity. Handler has a history of selectively going nude to boost her career (recall the last episode of her talk show where she performed a nude sketch with Conan O’Brien). I point this out, but it’s likely to fall on deaf ears because it’s so much easier and more effective from a PR standpoint for her to shout, “Double standard! Misogyny!” Those are convenient, catch-all complaints that deflect attention away from any real issues with substance.

Handler isn’t even sure what she’s upset about, really: she seems concerned with Instagram’s policies, culture in general and constitutional rights all at once. “If instagram takes this down again, you’re saying Vladmir Putin Has more 1st amendment rights than me.”

Instagram is a privately owned company, and they have no obligation, constitutional or otherwise, to let you share your opinions or your breasts on their site.

I’d be more inclined to give Handler the benefit of the doubt here if this whole social media spectacle didn’t end up with her posting to her Instagram: “You can now find my dogs and my breasts on Twitter only where my followers have the right to choose what they say. Bye bye instablock.”

Of course. Of course all of this concludes with a plug of her Twitter.

Make no mistake, this completely manufactured drama has nothing to do with making a difference. This isn’t about Chelsea Handler promoting a cause she believes in; this is about Chelsea Handler promoting Chelsea Handler, and we’d all do well to let her throw her tantrum and move on.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Greyhound Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Chelsea Handler’s photo: publicity stunt or feminist stance?