It’s not enough that Motrin posts a snarky ad advising moms that it’s only a theory that nursing is good for your baby and creating a social media uproar on Twitter. Now a social media giant, Facebook decides it’s a good idea to ban bare breasts from their site.
Doesn’t anybody get it? From the social media experts at Mashable
A group of moms staged a protest outside Facebook’s Palo Alto offices yesterday over the site’s policy to remove photos of bare breasts. While Facebook’s policy is to remove photos where the nipple or areola is visible, attendees of the MILC (Mothers International Lactation Campaign) “nurse in” want an exception for breastfeeding moms.
I should say so!
Only a hand full of protesters turned out, but as of Sunday afternoon, 73,000 of us have joined the Facebook Group with the official petition. These things take time.
It’s hard to say whether either demonstration will move Facebook executives — who appeared to not be at work Saturday — to lift the site’s prohibition of breasts displayed on members’ profiles and albums. Facebook says the areola, the dark skin around the nipple, violates a policy on “obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit” material.
On their Facebook group site, which also serves as an open petition to the company, nursing advocates by Saturday evening had posted more than 10,000 wall comments, two dozen videos and nearly 3,000 photos of breast-feeding, while starting more than 1,500 discussion threads. Facebook, it seemed, was not removing them.
All this might not have happened had the social networking site simply answered Heather Farley’s e-mail asking why the networking giant in October removed photos of her breast-feeding her baby.
When she posted another photo and then received a letter threatening to delete her account, she went public.
Another day, another corporation that doesn’t get it. I’m, tweeting this.
How about you?
Motherhood Uncensored says
And this isn’t the first time. They banned photos back in September 2007.
In a way I understand where they are coming from, but unfortunately, in this society, breasts are for sexual purposes only. I think it’s a pretty sad statement about how things are, but at the same time, I think things like this motivate the masses to rise together to make a stand. Hopefully this will help make a positive change about many peoples views on breastfeeding.
I must confess that this controversy is fascinating to me… enough that I found myself reading posts from a number of sites (including Mashable) on this topic.
On many sites there is a large group that is quick to note that the company has the right to set policies as it sees fit. But on closer review of the story, I don’t think that fact was ever disputed by MILC. Those who are protesting are among the site’s users / customers. And history shows that many, many customers have leveraged either the power of protest, boycotts, or the prospect of generating unfavorable publicity to bring about change.
In the 1980’s, for example, many stockholders and customers pressured their companies to divest in stocks with any ties to South Africa as long as the country supported apartheid. Rosa Parks took what was once a perfectly acceptable “ban” in the Montgomery, Alabama bussing business—against black persons sitting in the front of the bus—and helped lead the charge that challenged the company and our country to think differently.
While restricting breastfeeding publicly (or banning it from publicly posted photographs) may not quite rise to the level of outright gender or race discrimination in the minds of many, there are significant reasons why women feel the need to rally for the freedom to celebrate breastfeeding on the screens of their Facebook pages.
It has to do with challenging a mindset I encountered on many blogs discussing this topic: that while breastfeeding may be a healthy way to nourish infants, it should be private.
The reasoning—which I can understand if not fully agree with—could be analogized to how most feel about using the restroom. It is natural. We all use restrooms. But we don’t wish to be reminded of it or have our children see pictures of people using restrooms on Facebook.
However, I believe such considerations are greatly outweighed by what MILC is trying to accomplish. And that is to mainstream breastfeeding itself. While there are moms who have posted that they breastfed their own children (hooray!) but would still insist on it being done in private, the fact is that you can only have so many times where a breastfeeding image is labeled “bad” before breastfeeding itself is viewed as “bad.”
How many blog posts that describe witnessing the activity as “disgusting” will there be before that becomes the mindset of future moms? It has taken millions of dollars and countless hours of public education and hospital instruction to convert a culture with “Leave it to Beaver” notions that even private breastfeeding is okay, and indeed better for the baby.
All the while, powdered formula companies chuckle on their way to the bank knowing that despite occasional “breastfeeding is better” reminders in their promotional literature, many moms will opt for their product out of embarrassment, in addition to situations where formula is necessary.
Perception drives practice. Only when we can be more matter-of-fact about the depiction of this healthy bonding between mom and her newborn will more moms will be matter-of-fact about nursing.
Crimson Wife says
I’m fairly conservative when it comes to sexual morality and find MANY of the photos posted on Facebook to be distasteful & not particularly appropriate for minors. But I have absolutely no problem with moms nursing in public if they so choose. I may personally feel more comfortable with a bit more private a setting, but I totally support the right of other moms to BF wherever they want. It’s natural (I would add God’s design for women) and most definitely NOT obscene!