Scout Willis, the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, posted pictures of herself on Twitter roaming the Big Apple without a shirt or bra to highlight her disagreement with Instagram's policy on female nudity.
Alongside the photos, the 22-year-old tweeted "What Instagram won't let you see. FreeTheNipple" and "Legal in NYC but not on Instagram".
In a blog post on the xoJane website, Willis explained her decision to bare all, claiming Instagram deleted her account when she posted a photo of herself in a sheer top and a photo of a jacket she made that featured two topless friends.
"What began as a challenge to Instagram and its prejudiced community guidelines became an opportunity for dialogue," Willis wrote on the site.
"I understand that people don't want to take me seriously. Or would rather just write me off as an attention-seeking, over-privileged, ignorant, white girl.
"I am white and I was born to a high profile and financially privileged family. I didn't choose my public life, but it did give me this platform. A platform that helps make body politics newsworthy."
Willis said that for every "nasty" comment she had received, there were "10 more of support, appreciation, and empowerment".
"I am not trying to argue for mandatory toplessness, or even bralessness," she added.
"What I am arguing for is a woman's right to choose how she represents her body - and to make that choice based on personal desire and not a fear of how people will react to her or how society will judge her.
"No woman should be made to feel ashamed of her body."
The FreeTheNipple movement appears to have gained the support of pop superstar Rihanna who retweeted Willis's topless picture.
The Barbadian singer reportedly had her Instagram suspended recently after she posted several racy photos of herself taken for French magazine Lui.
Instagram urges users not to post "nudity or mature content of any kind" in community guidelines posted on the website.
Vogue creative director Grace Coddington had her Instagram account suspended temporarily after her first post on the platform last month - a self-portrait sketch of her bathing topless.
According to reports, Instagram said the decision to block the account was an accident, and that a mistake was made while processing a complaint against the photo.