A quick Google search reveals Facebook has been under fire for removing breastfeeding photos in 2007, 2008, 2009, and now 2010. In fact, there is even a Facebook group called Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene! (Official petition to Facebook).
The current victim of Facebook’s pornographic obsession with breasts that is misguidedly applied to breastfeeding are photos by Christopher Rimmer of Himba women in Africa. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
Melbourne-based art dealer and photographer Christopher Rimmer travelled to Africa to shoot pictures for an upcoming exhibition documenting the continent’s western aspirations, their affect on Africa’s natural environment and tribal culture.
He posted a sample of his work featuring bare-breasted Himba women on Facebook, which deemed them unsuitable for children and tore them down overnight…
“I suspect we are moving into unfamiliar territory when an organisation the size of Facebook acts as an arbiter of what constitutes art and what constitutes pornography, especially considering some of the material and language they do allow.”
Banning the pictures sexualised the women in them, which was never his intention, Mr Rimmer said.
Rimmer had permission from every woman photographed.
Facebook deemed the images, which are not only artistic but anthropological, “unsuitable for children”. What are children doing on Facebook anyways? It clearly states under the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities that, “You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.” Besides, most children have seen women breastfeeding before, and as many users have pointed out, there are far worse, sluttier, vulgar photos and comments on the site than African women nurturing their children.
Seriously, how could these innocent pictures be deemed as “hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence”. As I write this, I just received Facebook message from someone that was sexual harassment. I’ve blocked the user, but frankly, that’s the kind of thing I would quit Facebook over rather than images of breastfeeding.
I think Rimmer’s response to the removal was perfect:
Mr Rimmer said he would sent Facebook’s billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg a signed print of one of the pictures that had been removed.
“I hope that he deems the work inoffensive enough to hang on his wall,” he said.