hey Facebook, breastfeeding isn’t obscene

In case you haven’t heard the latest moms-in-cyberspace kerfuffle, apparently Facebook has been pulling down any profile photos that moms post of themselves breastfeeding.

Facebook is saying that it’s the visible nipple that makes them obscene. Sorry, Facebook, when a baby nurses, there is no visible nipple. Just on the way on, and on the way off, before Mommy pulls down her shirt, you losers.

Anyway, if you’d like to be a mom activist, join the Facebook group Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene! by clicking the link. Over a million moms have so far.

In solidarity, I wanted to post a picture of myself breastfeeding, but um, I don’t seem to have any. While I more than honor any mother’s right to commemorate such a special time in hers and her child’s life, I seem to have avoided that opportunity myself.

So here is a photo of Cooper nursing Mitchell, his Cabbage Patch doll, in 2004, complete with a My Brest Friend pillow. That’s right, a boobie pillow. Take THAT, Facebook!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mollie January 6, 2009 at 3:22 am

I’ve been skeptical of this whole protest, because how do we know the original, censored photos (assuming they existed at all) didn’t show “visible nipple”? Just because someone says they were inaccurately classified as “obscene” doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth. It all seems too underdocumented to be worth getting worked up about. I love that picture of Cooper and Mitchell, though.

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Roxane B. Salonen January 6, 2009 at 7:13 am

(Trying again with fewer typos)

Good for you for taking a stand. I didn’t know about the controversy, but am an advocate of breastfeeding and of eliminating the phobias over public breast exposure due to nursing. Most mothers I know who breastfeed their children are respectful about how they expose their “feeding devices” in public. Funny how it’s completely okay on the big Hooter’s billboard I drive past with my kids everyday, but not on regular photos of mother and child depicting this very natural act. Hmmmm…

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Marketing Mama January 7, 2009 at 5:19 am

Okay, you inspired me. I just joined that group and uploaded a picture of me bf to my album. So there. 🙂

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Amy January 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Responding to Mollie’s original comment:

– even if there were visible nipple, who cares? I mean, I really don’t get why women would post pictures of their enormous pospartum areolae, but so what if they did? It’s not obscene, because believe me, it ain’t sexy.

– Apparently this has already happened on MySpace and LiveSpace, or some name like that, so Facebook is part of a regrettable trend.

There is a good point here. As Roxane said, soft porn in advertising? Fine. Breast being used as it was intended, with adorable baby? Disgusting.

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Mollie January 7, 2009 at 7:34 pm

I just have trouble getting outraged by Facebook’s reserving the right to remove images it deems inappropriate — however erratically they apply their standards. It’s part of the deal you accept when you use Facebook for photo-sharing. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Facebook to expect someone who really wants to post a BFing photo to adhere to certain guidelines… And if she objects to the ban on exposed nipples, then there are other venues for sharing that picture.

It’s worth noting that “obscene” and “sexy” are distinct concepts — there are lots of things that are completely unsexy that I nevertheless consider obscene and wouldn’t post a photo of on Facebook. I’m not personally offended by female breasts, of course, but if the Facebook standards hold that an exposed nipple is objectionable, then they have to apply that decision regardless of the context in which the nipple’s being exposed — whether it’s a college girl flashing the camera on spring break or a mother breastfeeding.

There’s no harm, and maybe some good, in forming a BFing-pride group for its own sake. But it seems to me this protest invalidates itself — the fact that all these women were able to upload BFing pics to Facebook demonstrates that breastfeeding itself was not and is not deemed “obscene.”

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