Facebook Breastfeeding Pictures Are a Big Issue

| February 8, 2012 | 4 Comments

Facebook Breastfeeding Pictures Create Controversy

Facebook Breastfeeding Pictures and Issues Explained:

Facebook Breastfeeding Pictures – Women across the globe find themselves fighting for liberation and equality once more, not just in public but online in social networking sites, particularly Facebook. After nearly over a decade of struggling back and forth with Facebook regarding what is appropriate and what is offensive, Facebook finally opens up to the public stating that its policy allows moms to post their breastfeeding photos only of babies actively nursing.

They further acknowledge that they do their very best to go by this policy and there may be a time when errors are made only because the item is flagged as inappropriate.

Facebook has clarified its policy when it comes to photos of breastfeeding: only photos of babies actively nursing are allowed. Everything else is considered nudity and will be taken down if reported.

Now how did this battle start you may ask? Well simply put, Facebook moderators deleted images of women breastfeeding under their “no nudity” clause even while it is not illegal to breastfeed your child in public. Too many women got fed up with their photos being deleted or had their profiles suspended just because they showed breast or partial nipple while nursing their babies without a covering.

When push came to shove these mom’s decided it was time to fight back through means of protest. A group formed on Facebook which accumulated close to 5,000 members “Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is not obscene!”.

Last Monday worldwide events were coordinated by this group, that encouraged mom’s to congregate with their children at Facebook headquarters. (View List of Locations) This group also started a Facebook page that currently contains over 6300 likes.

Melissa Ralph feeding son Ashley

Melissa Ralph breastfeeding son Ashley

A similar rivalry further falls off of the Face of the Book in a situation that occurred at Target when a woman was harassed by 3 employees for feeding her child in a discrete location of the store while covered. In protest of this event, women across the nation staged a “nurse in” at their nearest Target store. Watch this ABC video for more details:

As a member of WIC (Women Infant Children), I’ve learned the importance of breastfeeding my child to insure that he meets all the nutritional needs that formula may not provide. Why? Because it is natural! Breastfeeding is a vital asset to human survival and has long been way before the days of formula.

So how could we have come this far to shun the naked body and not accept the human culture within? For starters it’s the degradation of the female anatomy where man places a label on the female breasts claiming them as sexual organs for lust rather than reproductive organs for human development. An interesting question arises: sex and reproduction…those are the same, right? Not entirely.

The female breasts are only considered reproductive organs during the parenting stage of reproduction; however, in most classifications breasts are not considered to be part of the female reproductive system. For one thing, my man does not consider my lactating breasts sexy so it hard for me to understand why they would be censored as pornography unless certain men are afraid they are going to find themselves having an adult baby fetish. Breastfeeding is beautiful and beneficial, not entirely sexy.

Dont shy away from breastfeeding

Dont shy away from breastfeeding

While visiting WIC‘s Long Beach facility, I discovered a poster in their bathroom stating “Embarrassment? Don’t shy away from breastfeeding”. WIC could not have placed this poster in a better location as though it was there to tell women who were hiding themselves away while “nature took its course”. This phrase should not be mistaken to reference excretion of bodily wastes which is what one does in a bathroom, but rather the feeding of essential bodily nutrients to a young child. Breast milk provides antibodies against pathogens and has been associated with reduced morbidity and mortality from gastrointestinal, respiratory and other diseases.

Do you see the irony in breastfeeding a child in a restroom? How many of you would eat your meal on the toilet?

Even while breastfeeding is encouraged by doctors, pediatricians, the State Department of Health and other public nutrition affiliations it is hard to understand why women would even feel embarrassed about feeding their kids in any public setting and/or would not be able to share with other women this important part of life on Facebook. It is also a greater wonder why society in general would cause such a ruckus at the sight of child attaching its lips to the breasts of its mother.

According to a report on ABC “Health experts agree that “breast is best” for growing infants : About 75 percent of new moms in the U.S. start breastfeeding their newborns, but only about 13 percent continue to breastfeed after the baby is six months old, according to the CDC.

When I think about these statistics, I try to think to myself why these women would waste this valued source of nutrition and substitute for something of lesser nutritional, unnatural quality. It is possible that most women find it extremely time-consuming and stressful to have to pump her breasts just to feed her baby while on the go.

Others may be too embarrassed to do it around friends, strangers or even their own families. In some instances, possibly even most, women fear their men may find them less attractive and thus allow their milk to dry out and revert to formula for their child. All of these excuses are selfish, just as all those people who make it difficult for women to breastfeed are selfish through an opinion or other form of action.

Melissa Ralph Breastfeeding son at Getty Museum

Melissa breastfeeding son at the Getty Museum underneath a medieval painting of a women breastfeeding her child.

I am proud to say that I somewhat participated in this Target bf awareness just last weekend when I found myself feeding my 3 1/2 month old child in a local store, not really for the means of protest, but out of respect for the need to feed. Other places I fed my son without concealing the matter were in Babies R’ Us, Toys R’ Us, Getty’s Museum at the Getty Center, The Observatory at Griffith Park, Venice Beach. Santa Monica Pier, San Onofre State Beach, Glen Eden Nudist Resort, Olive Dell Family Nudist Resort, Deer Park Nudist Resort, and all other social family and friendship meet-ups including a formal dinner at a Korean restaurant.

Basically, I feed him anywhere and everywhere I go instinctively. Every time he wakes up he wants to feed and every time I eat he wants to eat. The content look of love in my child’s eyes is far more important than the head shake of disapproval from others who can’t accept the way God made us.

I suppose it would make life easier on all of us women if men looked at the female breasts as less of a tool and more as an asset for the better well-being of our children. The only way this way of thinking could become the norm would be if women were able to go topfree just as men do. Then again that is a whole entire battle on its own.

Thank you to all the moms who are out there under the spotlight to bring positive recognition to make the better changes for our sons and daughters!! Go Moms!!

This article about the Facebook Breastfeeding controversy was published by Young Naturists and Nudists America YNA

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Category: Feminism and Women's Issues, Body Image Blogs, Censorship, Sex Positive, Social Activism

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  • Jeffrey

    It's not the breast itself that seems to freak people out, but the nipple. That's the part that women are forced to hide, and that's the part that actually feeds the baby. So how come it's considered sexy to show most of the breast, like in every single ad or magazine, but considered vulgar to show the nipple?

    You have to ask yourself, what is so horrible about the nipple that it has to be reviled, hidden away and shunned like that. Not that I expect women to go around topless, although they should have that right if they desire, but where did such a concept ever get started in the first place?

    "Pasties" which seem ridiculous, were made exactly for that purpose, to hide the nipple. It's such a small part of the breast. Why is that the only part you must hide?

    On the other hand, none of the penis is appropriate to be shown at all. There's no such thing as low cut pants where just the tip sticks out, but with women's clothing, especially at Hollywood award events, every woman is wearing a style with as much of her breast exposed as possible, and as much as is legal, … except for that horrible nipple, which no one must see at any cost, … except on the beaches of Europe in the presence of complete strangers! (LOL)

    Does anyone else see the foolishness and yet the humor of this???

  • keith

    FB is staffed with many pervs whom get off on harrassing people.

  • Felicity

    Wow Paul, you are pretty serious about this! Facebook does pretty much censor photos at whim. But concerning this issue, I think the greater problem is the overall attitude towards women and breastfeeding- that they would be overcome with embarrassment about it and then even get harassed when trying to breastfeed in public?! Crazy! Facebook perhaps reflects the general attitude of society? But it would much more helpful if they would allow these photos for people to see it as healthy and natural, instead of monitoring for it the same way they do porn!

  • Paul Rapoport

    Thank you, Melissa. Unfortunately, the Facebook stuff is a bit off, although to find a history of the problem requires either a ton of digging or having been there from the beginning.

    The Facebook group had 257,000 members before Facebook removed most of them just before the day of protest. And Facebook's policy is absurd, oppressive, and insulting. It arrogantly tells women how to breastfeed and labels that act inherently abusive and harmful to children. Facebook is very happy with its capricious and brainless tactics that delete anything as obscene and pornographic at whim with no justification and no accountability or responsibility whatever, including women, men, children, animals, famous paintings, religious icons, and people fully clothed sitting on a couch.

    It goes further and unleashes bad skin-recognition software on people who are the subject of crank complaints, then demands that those people remove up to 50 perfectly legal photographs from their page or have their account removed.

    Facebook's entire statements on this topic are a pack of glib lies and have been for years. Its actions are those of the Nazi Gestapo or the East German Stasi. I hardly ever makes those comparisons, so know that I am dead serious — and have been involved in this problem very directly for more than four years.