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Mark Zuckerberg's Obscene Policy

By Madeline Holler |

mark zuckerberg, facebook photos

You think this is obscene? You should see the ones that didn't get removed!

About a year ago, The New York Times published and article headlined “Facebook Won’t Budge on Breastfeeding Photos.” Judging from recent updates on the Facebook page called, “Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding is Not Obscene,” the Times story could be rerun today with few edits.

For those needing a little background, Facebook has a policy of investigating photos that have been flagged for removal and taking down those that it deems obscene. A lot of women noticed that photos of them breastfeeding had been flagged and removed. Facebook stated that it wasn’t the breastfeeding that was the problem, but the fact that nipples were showing. Because there are so many users, they simply had to draw the line at nudity and leave it at that.

But here’s the problem: it’s not that simple. Strollerderby blogger Danielle reposted some examples of pictures that haven’t been removed from Facebook on her personal blog, Momotics. She juxtaposed them with photos of moms breastfeeding that had been removed. If the breastfeeding pics are obscene, wouldn’t the more exposed chests in the other pictures be too?

(Also, NB: there are no nipples in any of pictures, breastfeeding or otherwise, including the curious shot of Nana’s nums-nums dressed up as Minnie Mouse.)

I know there are people who find public breastfeeding a little “ew.” And they’re the ones that say “cover up! Don’t make us all look!” To them I say, “your neck works. No one’s making you look.” I feel like the same argument can be made for those who feel like they have to flag breastfeeding photos for removal: don’t look, unfriend, make a comment. But flagging?

The Momotics post shows the warped sense of modesty and obscenity that we have in the U.S. It’s like the people who complain about a mother not covering up when she’s breastfeeding at the pool. Do they not see the skimpy bikini tops and barely there bottoms? I’m not arguing for burqinis or saying tiny swim suits are bad. But such blatant inconsistency?

Now thats obscene.


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Photo: Momotics

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About Madeline Holler


Madeline Holler

Madeline Holler is a writer, journalist, and blogger. She has written for Babble since the site launched in 2006. Her writing has appeared in various other publications both online and in print, including Salon and True/Slant (now Forbes). A native of the Midwest, Madeline lives, writes, and parents in Southern California, where she's raising two daughters and a son. Read bio and latest posts → Read Madeline's latest posts →

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4 thoughts on “Mark Zuckerberg's Obscene Policy

  1. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    “Your neck works.” Love it! Delivered it just the right tone, you can convey the idea that if they don’t leave you alone, their neck might not work for too much longer.

  2. Laura says:

    Is because people are squeamish about breast feeding because they sexualize breasts and think breastfeeding is inherently dirty. However, big porn star boobs out there for men’s sexual enjoyment are just fine because that is what they think is “normal”. It is sad really. You can be a mom or a hooker – a whore or a virgin, but a grown up woman who is a mom and sexual? nope not allowed. Look at the story of the season- a mom can’t be sacred unless she is a virgin mother.

  3. Katie says:

    I’ve decided it’s not because breasts are sexual, but because people don’t want to be reminded that we’re really just animals.

  4. Linda, the original one says:

    I have an entire album of breastfeeding photos on my FB. I also have my settings set so that only my friends can see them. I’m not sure how these photos are even coming to the attention of FB unless the albums are public.

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