Facebook has once again incensed breastfeeding moms and their supporters by removing breastfeeding pics from the site. This time they’ve targeted Earth Mama Angel Baby, who lashes back in a blog post about it, saying she’s not an activist, but she doesn’t consider photos of her baby having lunch obscene.
Facebook has been angering moms with their policies regarding breastfeeding photos since 2007. Breastfeeding advocates say Facebook has pulled many photos, like these, that simply show a mom feeding her baby. Facebook says their policy is against nudity, not breastfeeding. They point out that there are many breastfeeding photos they don’t pull.
Still, why is Facebook getting into this at all?
TIME offers up an excellent blog post questioning Facebook’s policy. They ask why Facebook is so concerned about users seeing something they might see in a shopping mall or park bench:
It’s curious that Facebook pulls breast-feeding photos when several states even have laws explicitly supporting the rights of women to feed their babies in public. You may not be able to post a particular photo on Facebook, yet if your baby should tug up your shirt in the middle of a bustling shopping mall, dozens of unsuspecting people who had not chosen to seek out images of breast-feeding — as people who visit the pages of various Facebook breast-feeding groups ostensibly have — would be confronted with a real live breast. Scary.
It is puzzling that Facebook continues to involve itself in the controversy over public breastfeeding. You’d think they could simply stay out of it by accepting that breastfeeding is not nudity. Even if a woman’s breast is exposed, it’s not a sexual gesture. It’s entirely unlike posting a photo of, say, a topless sunbather (which would also not be sexual necessarily, but could at least be understood as nudity).
As the TIME piece points out, people are unlikely to be exposed to breastfeeding photos on Facebook by accident. They’re not protecting innocent children by taking down these shots. They’re preventing breastfeeding advocates and support groups from doing their work and connecting with each other.
Even if kids were stumbling on photos of women nursing, so what? Breastfeeding is natural and healthy. The more commonplace it becomes to see it happening, the easier it gets to make the choice to breastfeed when you have children of your own. A friend recently wrote that I had inspired her by breastfeeding my own children. In a sense I paved the way for her choice to do it as well, and to be comfortable doing it in public.
Facebook should have learned this lesson by now. I know the company was founded by a teenage boy, but it shouldn’t be run as if all it’s users were adolescents. It’s huge established site now. Time to grow up, Facebook. There’s no reason to treat images of breastfeeding as if they were titillating or obscene.
Who else is doing it? Celebs Who Breastfeed in Public!