Facebook, now the social media site of choice for millions, came under fire more than three years ago in 2009 after removing images of breastfeeding mothers due to nudity. Countless petition groups and pages on Facebook itself sprang up, as well as in-person protests claiming that breast feeding is a natural process and not offensive in the least.
Originally, Facebook took a black and white stance to the issue. The Facebook TOS says no nudity. Breastfeeding or not, the photos removed contained nudity. It wasn't a war on breastfeeding, simply an adherence to policy. As of 2011, their stance has softened slightly. While on occasion breast feeding photos are removed in error, unless a photo contains a fully exposed breast, according to Facebook, it is acceptable and will not be removed.
As a mother, I can understand the position of those now hundreds of thousands of women fighting to help breast feeding lose its offensive label everywhere, including social media. But I think it is important to recognize that Facebook is simply enforcing a policy which is designed to keep the site user-friendly for everyone. Allowing breast feeding exposed breasts invites more users to upload naked breast photos in an attempt to sneak them through as breast feeding photos. On a whole, it would weaken the no-nudity policy and likely lead to an increase in actually offensive nudity and pornographic images that sometimes hide in Facebook's mass of profiles -- images I don't want to see, nor want my children to see popping up in my Facebook feed.
I, for one, would prefer simply keep my breast feeding shots discrete and polite just as I do when breast feeding in public. Breasts are indeed natural, as is breast feeding, but just because something is natural doesn't mean everyone should see it. You wouldn't for example, film yourself in the bathroom and post it on Facebook, but bowel movements are also a natural process. You wouldn't want to have such things appearing in your feed either under the protection the natural-thing argument.
Breast feeding publicly has long been a controversial topic. I fully support and rally along side of those that defend the right to feed their infants the good stuff whenever needed, but a good squirt of perspective and fact is needed in this case. Be aware of the fact that just a photo of a baby breast feeding is fine, as long as the non-baby latched breast isn't exposed. Realign your perspective to consider other natural processes and whether or not you want to see them, and you may find yourself pointing your mob torch away from Facebook for now.
How do you feel about Facebook's breastfeeding photo policy?
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