Sometimes my almost 4-year-old daughter pretends to nurse my almost 1-year-old daughter by lifting up her shirt and trying to put the baby’s mouth on her nipple. My husband and I think it’s funny and sweet, mostly because she’s imitating what she’s seen me do (with more success) several times daily since her little sister was born at the end of last summer. It’s not something we’re rushing to photograph, but there are plenty of other cute little everyday moments we don’t capture on film, either.
A mom from Seattle, Lauren Ferrari, took a picture of her 5-year-old pretending to nurse her 2-year-old and posted the photo on Facebook, according to The Huffington Post (via KOMO News). Facebook promptly took the photo down, saying it violated the site’s policies, and they banned Ferrari from the site for a week.
Facebook can pretty much do what they want, and plenty of nursing moms have been banned from posting breastfeeding photos on the site. But is the site of a topless 5-year-old so inappropriate? Because that’s essentially what Facebook is saying.
Since a 5-year-old clearly cannot nurse a 2-year-old, or anyone else for that matter, this wasn’t a breastfeeding photo. It was a photo of a 5-year-old girl without a shirt on.
Whether you think the sight of a mom breastfeeding her baby is indecent is a matter of opinion (and there are lots of opinions on the topic, to be sure). Whether you think a 5-year-old should be photographed topless and the picture should be posted on a social media site is also dependent on your comfort level.
Facebook has taken down other breastfeeding photos, making it clear on which side of the aisle they stand. This is the first story I’ve heard of a photo of a kindergartner being taken down for indecency.
Ferrari didn’t think the photo was inappropriate, telling KOMO, “When I posted it, I said, ‘She says she’s nursing her baby’ … She didn’t say, ‘Mommy look, she’s kissing my boobie.'”
Not only did Facebook dislike the photo, but so, apparently, did the Seattle Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit, which told the news station that posting the photo was “poor parenting because it’s impossible to control where that photo might end up.”
According to The Huffington Post, this isn’t the first time a faux-breastfeeding photo has been removed from Facebook. Earlier this year a page of photos showing girls “nursing” their dolls was removed, although it was later reinstated and Facebook apologized for what they called “their error.”
So is a mom posting a photo of her girl “nursing” her baby sister — or appearing topless — poor parenting? Or is that up to each parent to decide whether it’s appropriate? Is this a situation that is just as invasive — and paranoid — as the school that required a mom to get other parents’ permission before she was allowed to photograph her own daughter, or is there merit to the argument that the photos could end up anywhere (although even if it does, it’s creepy, but who’s it really hurting — and will you ever really know)?
But in the end, no matter what we think, it’s Facebook’s site and we’re just using it — for free — so their opinion is really the only one that matters if we want to keep playing, and posting.
Do you think the photo should have been removed?
Photo credit: KOMO News