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Breastfeeding support page on Facebook under fire

A moderator of a breastfeeding support page on Facebook is challenging their policy that deems photographs of mothers nursing their babies to be obscene. We explore the issue and talk to real moms about nursing photos.

Breastfeeding and Facebook

A breastfeeding support page, called Respect the Breast, has recently come to find itself under the watchful eye of the Facebook policy that says it prohibits photos that are “hateful, threatening, defamatory, or pornographic” or “contain nudity.” Photos of nursing infants have been deleted based on this policy and the moderators of the page want to know why. They have a beef with Facebook because fan pages of public figures such as porn star Jenna Jameson show a heck of a lot more boob, and in a sexual context to boot.

Respect the Breast

Heather Stultz, one of the moderators of Respect the Breast, feels her page was singled out when the photos were flagged as obscene. “I feel as if we are being targeted,” she shared with SheKnows. “Cece [another moderator] and I have done research on and have found over 100 sites that contain pornographic or sexual material. Their pages haven’t been disabled nor have their pictures been removed as ours have.”

She is puzzled because the pictures in question are not sexual in nature at all, yet Facebook leaves pages such as Playboy alone, even though there is more breast exposure on the photos they share.

“If you look up the definition of porn it says it is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction,” said Heather. “And nudity (when breasts are considered) is when the nipple is exposed. With that in mind, I see nothing wrong with what we are posting.”

How much is too much?

We asked a few moms if they felt breastfeeding photographs should be considered obscene. Debbie from Wisconsin said, “No. I think it is beautiful. Before they had bottles and formula do you think people had this debate?” Ashley, mother of two, agreed completely. “I think it is natural and beautiful, there is nothing obscene about it!”

Danielle, mother of two from the Bahamas, also had this to say on the contradictory nature of the Facebook policy: “As for breastfeeding pics on Facebook — they’re not even near [to being] obscene compared to a lot of other pictures allowed on Facebook!”

Charlene from New York agreed that the photos are not obscene but she did wonder about posting such photos on Facebook. “I think they are so personal and I have no idea why anyone would even want to put a picture out there like that,” she said. “I can see having them for yourself but why would you want to share that with anyone? I still see boobs as sexual. Even if we want to say that they aren’t sexual, in reality they are in this society, which is why I think they are such personal pictures.”

Rachel, mother of one from Ohio, says that breastfeeding will become a normal thing again in our society only if more women breastfeed in public. “Breastfeeding wouldn’t be such a taboo if more people were exposed to it,” she stated. “Many children aren’t even aware that babies eat from anything other than bottles!”

Looking to the future

Heather, from Respect the Breast, has a goal in mind. “We want women from all walks of life to be able to share these precious moments with other mothers and get positive feedback instead of being looked down upon,” she shared. “Most women learn by picture context; they can see the amazing bond that that mother and child have and hopefully want to have that for themselves.”

More on breastfeeding

Breastfeeding in public: taboo or not?
Why you should breastfeed your toddler
Is breastfeeding in public still unacceptable?

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