On a cloudy morning in Northern California a group of mothers and babies gather on the campus of the multimillion corporation, Facebook.
These moms are part of a world wide protest on this day the second such protest of its kind, to call attention to what these women feel in an assault on many fronts – Facebook consistently deletes images of nursing mothers and breastfeeding form the accounts of its users. This is done in response to a complaint about the picture, meaning someone tagged the photo as obscene. Facebook has no direct process of review on the photo and the random click of anyone is enough to have the photo tagged as porn. This subject Facebook usesre to the whims of “friends” who may not support their choice to proudly nurse and display photos of this loving and vital bond between mother and child. Some mother report that their entire albums – even those marked private, disappeared from their account with no notice to the account holder!
If a Facebook user has a picture reported three times, there account may be closed. This can have a profound effect on those who use their account to maintain close contact with family and friends.
This is a disastrous turn of events for breastfeeding activists and educators whose Facebook pages are full of images of mothers engaged in the womanly art of breast feeding their children. These activists mission in to heal our societies’ phobia of public breastfeeding, to normalize this healthy and natural process of nourishing human children with human milk. Their hope is that doing this will encourage many more mother to breastfeed their children.
There are activists who have formed or who are part of the networks which provide breast milk for mommas who wish to provide breast milk for mommas who wish to breast feed, but cannot do so for some reason. Perhaps this is an adopted bay, or the momma is ill, or there is more than one baby.
Blocking or deleting the accounts of activists can create a health threat to infants who are receiving a vital, irreplaceable food – human breast milk. Many health care organizations clearly extol the many and unique benefits of breastfeeding, benefits so numerous I can’t list this all here!
But the mom’s and their allies detail these benefits to the representative from Facebook, a very pleasant young woman, named Krista. Krista repeats the company’s position on this matter, which was offered in a recently released statement of support for breastfeeding – their updated policy states that a photo which clearly shows a baby at the breast and one in which the areola (colored portion of the breast surrounding the nipple doesn’t show are not to be considered obscene and are not to be removed. She states that there are people whose job it is to review these pictures after they are reported, must review thousands of photos each day – and she knows that although every effort is made to be precise, mistakes still occur and for this the company does apologize.
“We appreciate your apology”, says breastfeeding advocate, Jodie Chase. However, we want virgin status for accounts that have been recently tagged for obscenity, Facebook must take responsibility for how this might affect an in secure new mothers who bravely posts her pictures and realizes with shock and perhaps shame – that her pictures have been labeled obscene. “Three reports and your account is closed – that’s why a return to virgin status is vital.”
Krista smiles and assures the gathered assembly of approx. 50 mom, babies and allies, that the company takes all of this very seriously, and is doing all it can to address the matters. She makes no promises, but graciously offers the group water and navy blue bibs with the Facebook logo on them as gifts.
Jodine shakes her head and smiles as Krista walks away. I ask her what the next steps are.
“We keep on” , she says with determination. “We keep on till this is changed.”
101 reasons to breastfeed your baby
HOW TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT:
On Valentine’s Day,
1. Change your profile to a breastfeeding photo
2. Optionally upload as many breastfeeding photos as you can!
3. Alternately, please feel free to use the events logo as your profile picture (you can download it here: http://
PAGES TO SUPPORT:
IN THE NEWS: