Facebook made the news this week for taking down pictures of breastfeeding moms, where the nipple was prominently displayed.
Facebook has taken the side of reason and caution in this decision that has ruffled feminists’ feathers across the nation. Tasteful breastfeeding pictures will be left up, but pictures that have an extra dose of nipple exposure or even more nudity during a breastfeeding session will not be allowed.
The reality is, most people don’t mind a tasteful picture of a mom breastfeeding her child, or seeing a breastfeeding mother in public as long as she is somewhat covered. At the same time, many people don’t want to see your breasts hanging out and a three-year-old suckling while giving an imaginary thumbs-up gesture to the camera.
I’ve tried my best to be impartial, because I realize breastfeeding is natural, but I’ve seen one of the photos Facebook banned, and yes, it creeped me out. It contained a woman with her two sons on her chest. One looked to be about a year old at the most, and the boy who was nursing looked like he could have been 3 years old.
According to Amanda Ferguson from Canada’s CanWest News Service, the owner of that picture runs a support group for nursing moms in Edmonton and she had posted numerous pictures of her breastfeeding her boys on Facebook to help new moms. Apparently the picture I saw was one of the more clothed versions, because Facebook sent her a warning saying her account would be closed if she continued to upload “obscene” content. The picture I saw, while slightly disturbing, was not obscene.
Online forums are brimming with discussions about breastfeeding. The women are either for or against it, but the men always chime in with comments like, “If they are young and firm, fine, if not, put them away,” or, “Breast feeding in public is natural, just like it’s natural for me to get aroused by seeing someone breastfeeding in public.” Some men said, “It’s just as natural to urinate outside, but you don’t see me doing that, do you?”
There’s a fine line between a die-hard feminists advocating the right to breastfeed in public, and a nursing woman with lowered inhibitions and little modesty who does this in the name of feminism, but is really posting pictures for shock value, to gain attention to herself. If an innocent child wasn’t involved, I wouldn’t have a problem with any of this. No woman, feminist or not, would be completely oblivious of the typically unwanted attention brought on by breastfeeding in public.
There is no way I would post a picture of my breastfeeding my children online. Yes, modesty is an issue to some extent, but I know that people don’t need to be seeing all of my business hanging out. It would gross more people out than it would inspire. More importantly, women need to get with the times and realize that there are perverts out there who scour the internet daily for pictures like these. If there’s even the slightest chance your picture could wind up in the cache of a pedophile’s computer, is it really worth your moment of activism?
The only reason breastfeeding has become taboo is because of men and their obsession with breasts, and their equation of breasts to pornography. Unfortunately, this is the world we made for ourselves.
If you feel you must place pictures of intimate moments with your baby online, keep in mind that you are choosing to place your pictures on a website that does not belong to you, so like it or not you have to go by their rules. Bear in mind these rules are set in place to protect the people in the pictures, not to upset feminists.