'Indecent' Breastfeeding Photos Still Won't Fly On Facebook

Remember when Facebook took down photos of mothers breastfeeding because it deemed the pics indecent for featuring "exposed breasts?" Well the social networking company will still not be moved.

For those who need a refresher course: Facebook banned some photos of mothers breastfeeding their children because they said it violated their Terms of Use. Naturally, this angered a lot of breastfeeding mothers who created a group with 80,000 people titled "Hey Facebook, breast feeding is not obscene!" and some of the mothers even staged a small protest outside of Facebook's main offices in California.

A spokesman for Facebook says that the site does not ban all breastfeeding photos, just ones where a nipple is fully exposed:

"Photos containing a fully exposed breast (as defined by showing the nipple or areola) do violate those terms (on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material) and may be removed," he said in a statement.

"The photos we act upon are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain."

The Facebook spokesman claims that the company's standards for "indecent" breastfeeding photos are not just found on Facebook: the social networking company called several U.S. newspapers and asked if they could run an ad with a woman breastfeeding with a fully exposed breast, which the newspapers declined (and we all know how great newspapers are doing right now).

Is an exposed nipple really the line that makes breastfeeding go from "wholesome" to "indecent"? The issue sparked a debate over at Babble when a Strollerderby blogger defended the moms protesting:

I've got to tell you, I've seen plenty of freaky photos on Facebook - from the teenager I babysat when he was 3 looking so blitzed he might well have had alcohol poisoning (not indecent, I suppose, but definitely making me feel old) to the old tea bagging trick (why do guys do this to one another?). I could see removing this kind of thing - you know, underage drinking is against the law guys.

But a mom breastfeeding? Give me a break. I'm one of those people who prefers to give a mom her privacy, and I look away - I probably would avoid commenting on a friend's photo if it was of her breastfeeding. But, in the end, it's a mother and her child. It's not a Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction. Women can walk down the street wearing nothing on her boobs but a pasty and be violating nothing more than the laws of taste (and fashion). Meanwhile, she's showing more of her breast than a breastfeeding mom, and with no real reason for it.

Some of the commenters, of course, disagreed. One feels that if a woman is breastfeeding she wouldn't necessarliy be showing an exposed nipple since the baby's mouth covers it:

OK, I don't understand. They will not show a mother breastfeeding, but will allow a photo that does not show an entire breast. By definition, a breastfeeding pic would not show the entire breast, as the baby's mouth would be covering the nipple. Am I missing something here? If a pasty is OK, why not a baby's mouth?

Meanwhile, some other commenters took issue with the indignation that some pro-breastfeeding mothers showed as well as the idea that everything must documented on Facebook (oh, and someone had to bash feminism too because, hell, why not?):

I'm with LAUREN on this: not everything you do needs to be documented on face book. Yes, this is natural to do. I fully intend to breast feed my future children. But this is an INTIMATE and MEANINGFUL time for Mom and Baby. It does not make you look cool or look like a model mother to show this. It is a beautiful thing, but it is special. You wouldn't show yourself having sex with your husband or bathing your children or cleaning up the babies vomit, because they are special times. If you do, you are simply needy for attention and seem to think that your life must be shared with the whole world. Stop exploiting this special time, it's not supposed to be for anyone else to see or congratulate you on.

And no: IT'S NOT OK FOR A DUDE TO FLASH HIS PENIS OR TEENS TO BE SHOWING THEIR BOOZE PARTIES OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT, THESE SHOULD BE FIRST ON THE ADMINISTRATOR'S "DELETE" LIST, BUT THERE STILL NEEDS TO BE SOME DECENCY AND PRIVACY IN PEOPLE'S LIVES. And standing in the streets and offices of Palo Alto is not going to improve your case. You're just going to upset the overly-prudish and annoy the rest of us.

No, breastfeeding isn't obscene, not by a long shot, but you do not need to be the center of digital attention: either for showing the breastfeeding or staging this idiotic protest for being denied the right to show it.

And yeah, Navi, for some reason this is still an issue. Don't know why. We have nursing rooms in lots of stores and even corporate buildings (Colgate-Palmolive among them). Nobody gives a damn anymore except a few prudes and a few neo-feminists who look for any excuse to fight there self-supposed "oppressions".

Facebook Ban On Breast-Feeding Photos Sparks Protest [Reuters]
Breastfeeding Moms Fighting Facebook Ban [Strollerderby]

Earlier: Facebook: Boobs Are For Body-Shots, Not Baby-Feeding