Michelle Battersby, who cofounded social media platform Sunroom spoke to ELLE Australia about why Tommy Lee’s post has angered so many people, explaining that, "it's a frustrating reminder that moderation on mainstream social platforms is often inconsistent and stacked against women."
"Whether it be losing accounts for sharing birthing stories, having posts removed for speaking about pleasure, or being shadowbanned for being a sex worker. The penalties are frequent and it often feels like the algorithms and AI used to detect breaches of community guidelines don't consider women's needs as fairly as they should."
And it’s clear Michelle Battersby’s view is shared by many others, with journalist Lola Méndez taking to Twitter to highlight the double standards.
“So Tommy Lee can post a picture of his penis on @instagram that’s still up three hours later but a picture of my curvy booty in a thong bikini gets taken down? Cool, cool,” she wrote.
Model and actress Nyome Nicholas-Williams, who boasts over 80 thousand followers on Instagram, further explained why Tommy Lee’s exemption from the nudity ban was such a double standard.
“The double standards on this platform are so ridiculous,” she explained in a video on Instagram.
“How is Tommy Lee posting his whole genitalia when nobody asked to see it…yet I’m being censored for simply speaking up about the constant c**p that keeps happening.”
Nyome also referenced an incident she had on Instagram in 2020, when a photo of hers - which was “showing nothing” was removed in “0.1 seconds.”
The photo Nyome was referring to made headlines around the world after the picture was deemed sexually explicit by Instagram and removed - even though it went against no Instagram guidelines.
The incident saw Instagram agree to change its policies in an effort to eliminate the censoring of plus-size women.
However, it’s clear today that Instagram still has a long way to go, especially when you look at the social commentary around Tommy Lee’s photo.
As women’s posts are getting removed almost instantaneously, Tommy’s image garnered over 50 thousand likes before its removal and hundreds of positive comments.
And it isn't just the double standard of Instagram’s policies and community guidelines, there is a clear double standard in users' responses to these photos.
Bachelor star Alex Nation also pointed out this hypocrisy, commenting “if this was a woman..” on Tommy Lee's photo.
Whereas Tommy, a father of two, was praised by fans for the image, Kourtney Kardashian was shamed for posting a semi-nude pic and Britney Spears has repeatedly been called out for her naked posts. All too frequently do these mothers cop complaints that they're being "disrespectful" or "bad role models".
Tommy Lee’s post was eventually removed, but the incident has led to a strong response from the public, highlighting the hypocrisy of gender standards and calling for equality on Instagram.
The message is clear: either Instagram needs to apply its rules and guidelines to all genders, or none, but restricting one gender and not the other is blatantly unfair and discriminatory.