Top Story: Why Facebook Thinks Breastfeeding Pictures Are Offensive


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Facebook has been at the center of controversy when it comes to breastfeeding.  They have been removing breastfeeding pictures for a long time, to the point that they have actually alienated entire communities, who feel that the removal of these pictures is nothing short of hypocritical, since various sexual pictures are always allowed.  It seems that one particular activist has won a small battle, in as such that she actually received an apology from Facebook over the removal of her pictures on which she was nursing her infant child.

The Facebook Policy

Facebook publicly explains in their help center that they believe breastfeeding to be beautiful and natural, and that mothers should be able to share this experience with others.  However, their policies also dictate that the breast cannot be fully exposed, meaning the child actually has to be engaging in a breastfeeding session.  They also want to add that in almost all cases of the removal of pictures of breastfeeding mums, this is done at the request of other Facebook members.

What Does This Mean?

So what exactly does this mean?  The breast cannot be fully exposed, so would it be acceptable to have a maternity bra on, with the flap undone, allowing the nipple to stick out but some of the breast tissue to remain hidden?  It seems that Facebook is simply horrified by the picture of a naked breast, and if they find them, they will take them off.  Never mind the fact that there are various pictures circulating of male genitals, of course.  Interestingly enough, one picture that they removed because it resembled a naked breast was actually an elbow!

Community Spirit

When Facebook was initially launched, it was marketed as a community.  Yet, the rules on breastfeeding pictures stated that Facebook is a medium and hence susceptible to the same rules as television and print.  This is highly conflicting and it is no wonder that various people have now taken to picking on Facebook and their breastfeeding picture rules.

Kristy Kemp

Kristy Kemp didn’t take Facebook warnings to heart.  She felt it was completely natural to post photographs of herself nursing her children.  Facebook didn’t agree and removed her pictures, as well as subsequently banning her twice.  She eventually received an apology, and quite rightly so.  Kristy runs a breastfeeding support group specifically because she has grown tired of the social stigma of the breast being a sexual object that has to remain hidden.  She refuses to cover herself up with an unsightly maternity bra, opting instead for comfort: either a maternity bra that allowed access and comfort to her child, or simply bare chested.  She has taken pictures of herself doing so to help those within her support group.

Yes, she received an apology from Facebook of sorts.  Essentially, she received a message saying someone within the team had erroneously removed the pictures.  A great case of passing the buck, in other words.  However, the policy remains the same: if a part of the areola is visible, the picture can be removed because it is classed as sexually explicit and therefor potentially offensive.  So there goes the theory of covering up the breast with a maternity bra!

Kirsty Jowett is a renowned author of all things relating to women’s health and fitness. Kirsty frequently visits www.totallyblooming.co.uk to get the latest information on nursing and maternity bras.

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