A minirevolt is underway at Facebook after photos of mothers nursing their babies were removed from their personal pages. ¶ More than 58,000 people have joined a Facebook group called “Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!” to complain about the censorship.
The article’s comment thread is a real study in how ignorant some trolls can be about this issue.
Facebook’s assertion that they only remove images where the entire breast is exposed is weak. The bottom line is that breastfeeding is about as natural of an act as any that a woman can participate in. Whether the baby is latched on or not should make no difference in judging the context of the image. A breastfeeding mother that chooses to post such a picture is doing it with full knowledge of how she is depicting herself and her baby; there is nothing obscene about it. The article referenced above has the following quote from Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt:
“These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children [over the age of 13] who use the site…”
…and from exactly what are we trying to protect these children? Babies getting their snack on? A nipple?
It’s a sad state of affairs when the hyper-sexualization of a woman’s body leads to poor policy decisions like this. The assertion that it’s motivated by the desire to create “a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users” doesn’t resolve — there’s plenty of advertising on their network to the contrary.
Which is not to say that I’m advocating pulling that shit down. Just a little common sense all around would be nice.
The virtual nurse-in is scheduled for Saturday, December 27. Facebook users can join the group here. For more information about breastfeeding, check out Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher & Kathleen Kendall-Tacket or The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (a La Leche League publication).