Some breast-feeding mothers are up in arms after the social networking site Facebook removed photos of mothers breast-feeding their children. According to various news reports, Facebook says it is deleting breast-feeding photos that reveal too much of a breast in accordance with its terms of service, which prohibits obscene, pornographic, or sexually explicit material. The breast-feeding moms argue that breast-feeding is not obscene.
I’m all for breast-feeding, and I don’t care where a mother does it as long as she takes reasonable steps to be discreet. I don’t find breast-feeding obscene by any stretch of the imagination, but I also don’t want my kids seeing a stranger’s boobs when we go to the mall, even if they are exposed for good reason. Likewise, I really have no desire to see my friend’s fully-exposed breasts on Facebook.
Has Facebook gone too far in expecting that breast-feeding mothers not reveal a significant portion of their breasts on the website? Are the breast-feeding mothers going too far by viewing Facebook’s removal of their photos as an attack on breast-feeding? I’m leaning towards siding with Facebook on this one.
Breast-feeding is natural and healthy, but so are a lot of other things. Few Facebook users would protest if photos of someone using the bathroom or having sex were removed from the site. These activities are also natural and healthy, but that doesn’t mean the whole world has to see them on Facebook.
I remember the heated breast-feeding/bottle-feeding debates that I witnessed on pregnancy message boards during my pregnancies. While most mothers are perfectly satisfied making their own decision for or against breast-feeding, and allowing other mothers to do the same, some mothers are not so laid-back regarding the nourishment of their children (and the children of others).
Many breast-feeding women on these message boards couldn’t wait for an opportunity to attack another mother for her decision to bottle-feed, and they were always talking about how someone had offended them in some way or another because they weren’t allowed to fully expose their breasts in public.
I am not implying that all breast-feeding mothers think like this, or even that all of the angry Facebook breast-feeding mothers are “Breast-feeding Nazis”, as many of the mothers on the message boards called these overly-preachy women, but there are some women who seem to always be looking to get offended.
There are those who will complain about the sexualization of breasts, and say that they were meant for nourishing children and they should be exposed freely. They will argue that it is not at all unusual for breast-feeding mothers in other parts of the world to keep their breasts exposed.
I’m by no means a prude, and I do realize that we have pretty conservative standards here compared to other parts of the world. However, I accept that women are expected to keep their breasts covered here, and while I know many men who would disagree, I’m perfectly okay with that.
Nobody’s saying you can’t breastfeed. Yes, you are doing a wonderful thing for your child, and no, it is not obscene. But a breast is a breast, and there’s really no reason to show everyone on Facebook your entire breast, whether it’s in the context of breast-feeding or otherwise.
Hey, it’s not so bad. If you really feel the need to show a boob to all of your friends, family, and acquaintances, you always have e-mail!