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15th February 2012 12:19 AM #1
Breastfeeding photos removed by facebook - What do you think?
In the news last week there was a report on photos mums had posted of themselves breastfeeding their babies being taken down by facebook. Apparently the pictures violate the nudity regulations for posting photos on this social media site.
What's your opinion on this? Do you think mums should be able to post any breastfeeding photos on facebook (and similar sites) or is there a case for some regulations about nudity (e.g. not having the other breast showing in the photo)?
15th February 2012 01:03 AM #2
You show yours and I'll keep mine covered!
It is my understanding that Facebook has done an about face on this, probably partly as a result of the Boobout Protest which took place outside Facebook's Sydney offices, and the subsequent protest letters - Media Report Here and Pictures Here! Needless to say, there are now more breastfeeding profile shots than ever, as women take up the cause. I love the Tara Moss article Geeks, Not all Breast Exposure is Naughty published in the National Times on 9 February.
Do I think a woman should be able to post a photo of herself breastfeeding on Facebook? Absolutely. This is a free country and ultimately it seems unreasonable to say that women should be allowed to feed in public but not take or post photos of same. Similarly, I think if you start saying you can show this photo, but not that one, you start walking the dangerous line of censorship. At the end of the day, no one is holding a gun to your head and making you look at the Facebook photo. If you don't like what you see, move on.
That said, would I do it myself? No. It's a personal thing. I don't really have a desire to have my breasts on display, whether in public or on Facebook. I do breastfeed in public without hesitation, but while wearing a top that keeps my breasts largely covered. Perhaps it makes me a bad feminist, but whether it was to breastfeed, or to don a pair of tassles and find a pole, I don't want to show my breasts to the general public! So far as Facebook goes, with my old friends from school and my elderly family members viewing my posts, I would just as soon not have my boobs on display there either.
15th February 2012 10:57 PM #3
Thanks for the media update on this Mumof2IVFmiracles and your personal comments. I think a lot of breastfeeding mums would resonant with the feelings you've expressed above.
This debate has made me think more about breastfeeding in the public eye. I would love to see more breastfeeding photos in the media. I think it's great when celebrities do breastfeeding photoshoots. That said, I too wouldn't personally feel comfortable of posting some of my breastfeeding photos on facebook because of the different states of nudity they show! When I was first breastfeeding I got my husband to take photos of me breastfeeding so I could use them to learn from (e.g. trying to copy the positions which felt more comfortable) - now those are certainly for our eyes only!
16th February 2012 09:24 AM #4
I whole-heartedly agree, ljmarsden, and love it when celebs offer breatfeeding shots to the media. I have seen some gorgeous, tasteful photos over the years and have many beautiful photos of me breastfeeding each of my two girls. It is for that reason that I would not support a ban on breastfeeding photos. I do firmly believe that part of promoting breastfeeding is being willing to be seen doing it yourself and inclusion in any available platform of photos that promote breatsfeeding.
That said, I took a look at the photo in the article you offered in your first link. The woman who posted it (and then had her Facebook account suspended till she took it down) claimed she put it up as her profile pic to "educate mothers on nursing." I am not too sure that a picture of a woman with her top around her waist, sitting on what appears to be the grotty kitchen floor, feeding a nappy-less baby from one breast, and pumping from the other, is necessarily an image that is going to educate the public, at least not in a good way. It has a certain 'yick' factor and smacks more of flouting authority than inspiring confidence.
In this whole debate, no one seems to be considering the children's privacy. Part of the reason I choose to feed in feeding rooms when they are available is so my child can also have privacy while feeding. I consider my daughter has a very firm and close attachment to my breasts as not just a source of food but also comfort. Breastfeeding is an intimate relationship. It may seem weird but I don't feel my daughter, and breasts she considers to be hers I'm sure, should be put on display either, especially virtually, given the freedom of access that exists. I wouldn't full-on snog someone in public or post a photo of same as my Facebook pic for the same reasons! It's about intimacy.
I have so many lovely memories of sitting in well appointed feeding rooms, relaxing while feeding my girls when tiny (and needing lots of feeds), and I am not ashamed to admit I prefer to feed that way when out. It seems these days you can't win. If you feed in public you get shunned by the locals. If you choose a private place in a public venue you are 'deserting your sistas!' Blimey. Why does the basic nuturing of a child have to be so political!
If you want to use your Facebook profile as a platform to promote breastfeeding, and you feel comfortable doing so, more power to you. You have my vote. As a person with extensive experience in marketing, may I be so bold as to suggest that when selecting which photo to post, you consider the audience you are targetting - woman who do not feel confident about breastfeeding and/or those who are not comfortable doing so in public - then choose a photo which you feel will inspire their confidence.
23rd February 2012 03:41 AM #5
Thank you for your comments Mumof2IVFmiracles.
You have considered an aspect of this debate I have not thought of yet (I'm ashamed to admit): the feelings and privacy of the babies and children being fed.
My son in fact enjoys to breastfeed without any cover or clothing over his head and, for the majority of the time, this is what we do. However, there is the odd occasion when we are in a large group of people when it is me that feels the need to cover up whilst feeding him. He tends to protest and pull the feeding cover off his head and we settle for a partial head covering. But now you have made me wonder (conversely to the facebook debate) if I should fully respect the way he likes feeding best and not use any cover in such large groups. I do like to follow his lead in as many aspects of parenting as possible.
24th February 2012 01:03 PM #6
To cover or not to cover
I saw a comical photo the other day which for the life of me I can't locate. It was two photos, one of a woman attempting to eat with a feeding cover over her own head and the other of a baby being fed under one. The caption read something to the effect 'If you don't like eating like this, what makes you think your baby will?' A tad brutal I admit but it did make me think.
I have never used a feeding cover because I suffer from claustrophobia, brought on by a reoccurring event in early childhood which involved clothing being held over my face. Somehow for me, covering my baby's head, and creating that hot, clammy environment, is too much like those horrifying experiences from childhood.
I create the compromise by wearing clothing which allows me to feed with my breasts still covered and using a feeding room wherever possible. I have often been criticised for the later. It's ironic really. I hate eating in noisy, crowded food halls where you have to yell to be heard and your ears are still ringing ten minutes later. I don't particularly like balancing my lunch on my lap in a shopping mall concourse either. I am not sure why it is that people think a baby would want to breastfeed in those environments.
I think you are absolutely right. It is important to respect your baby's feeding preferences. For me, if I don't feel confident feeding in the environment, I remove myself rather than covering my baby.