so here i am, in exile from facebook yet again - banned due to the breastfeeding picture above in back and white - the one where my newborn 5th child was just about to nurse for the 1st time after his breech home birth. that one has gotten me a 7 day time out - my longest banishment so far! the other pictures are previous ones i've been blocked from using my account for- as they were deemed 'obscene'.
i'm really confused about what exactly is obscene about the 2 with only my son. you can't see a bit of his genitalia or even bare bum. it did used to specify that nipple or areola was considered a violation of fb standards - did that include baby nipples and areola? because i guess you can see his baby moobs in both of those pics... i'm also confused about the banishment itself. i can't post or comment on my own page...but i can post new threads/topics in most of the groups i am in. i just can't comment. and i can still accept friend requests but i can't post links anywhere. if you really want to ban someone and censor them, why let them continue to post in their groups - a place they are most likely to garner support and rally activism against the unfair punishment? none of this makes much sense to me.
it's also worth mentioning that the naked pics of my son came from my "allergy" album and were mainly intended to show the condition of his atopic allergic reactions. both were pictures of him cleared up and doing well. they weren't meant to be "provocative". my fb page is mainly a place of sharing info amongst likeminded ppl on natural parenting and food allergy issues. anyone who spent any time on my fb account knows that these pictures were a joyous celebration of some of the rare times my son is out of pain and discomfort and has beautiful intact skin. to think that anyone could have found this "obscene" and could be looking at these innocent pictures with dirty thoughts in their mind only makes me question what kind of issues they might have, not think there is anything wrong with the pictures.
least of all this rabid and persistent persecution of babies and children feeding normally.
i know the founder of fb is a young guy. raised in america, where we prefer our breasts plumped up into gravity defying, silicon injected, physically preposterous standards for the titillation of adults only - and of course the sale of alcohol, body lotions and victoria's secret undergarments. babies hanging off of them kind of ruins the hugh hefneresque fantasy, i guess.
but when a large group of women show that they want to opt out of this american breasts-as-sexual-objects-only ideal and use them for their intended purpose - why not just go on about your business and let them?
i was young once, too - and raised in america. and oh yeah, had a couple of the dazzling funbags of my own that seemed to set the tone for how i was going to be treated (& expected to act - which is to say IQ need not exceed bra size!) for the majority of my interactions with people - especially men.
i used to work in a couture shoe boutique in an upscale mall. we had a gorgeous ladies lounge. chaise lounges, fine art, giant mirrors so we could pop in and make sure our balconet bralettes were doing their jobs. i remember the first time i saw a nursing mother in there. i had no idea what she was doing. i thought she was just snuggling her baby. then i saw bare breast and a baby attached to it. i'd never seen a woman breastfeed before that i recall, ever.
i was completely embarrassed and uncomfortable. i looked away too quickly and then felt badly that i'd done so and might make the mother feel badly so i tried to look back at her and give a weak smile, but my eyes went straight to that little bundle hooked to her breast and then i was too embarrassed to look at her face again...it was confusing and awkward! i didn't want her to feel badly for feeding her baby, but i thought it was something very private and i surely shouldn't have been looking with my prying eyes, but i couldn't help it because i'd never seen it before...and why did she look *happy*, anyway? didn't it hurt? wasn't it heinously uncomfortable, at the least? wasn't she totally embarrassed that she didn't have a cute bottle for that baby?
fast forward 15 years and i'm the one in the lounge watching the totally embarrassed sales girls hurry out, darting furtive glances at me. and then there were the times i tried to nurse in public and my husband would literally stand beside me, holding a baby receiving blanket up like a matador fighting a bull. i literally shudder to remember the lactational faux pas i have been complicit in! so in a way, i can kind of understand that fb is just a young company with a young owner who doesn't get it.
but even the most socially challenged person can see that the smut that *is* allowed all over fb is a direct slap in the face to those of us who keep getting banned for our breastfeeding pictures. i'm not the only one who feels this is the biggest outrage in the whole farce of 'community standards' and 'obscenity policies'. Emma Kwasnica, Breastfeeding Mom, Says Facebook Yanked 'Sexually Explicit' Pictures. if i'm allowed by the state and most of the country i live in to nurse my baby wherever i am allowed to be...and if those same laws say that if i expose my breast - even nipple and/or areola - while breastfeeding, it is *not* considered public indecency, then who is fb to say otherwise? what is this need to regulate rules about breasts and breastfeeding that are even more restrictive than the "real" laws? fb certainly doesn't do this with breasts in other types of pictures ~ especially sexy or sleazy ones! in fact, the majority of the breastfeeding pictures that have been deleted from facebook do NOT show nipple or areola! Photos of breastfeeding banned by Facebook, Page 1.
not to mention how far they will go to go after *anything* to do with breastfeeding, apparently.Facebook apologises for deleting photos of girls pretending to breastfeed | Life and style | The Guardian. the questions i can't get answered in the endless loop of vague and contradictory fb 'standards' are: what on earth makes a person *this* intent on eradicating all breastfeeding images? did something happen to traumatize the founder and CEO of fb? was he perhaps squirted by a lactating breast when passing by a nursing mother some time? could he have been assaulted and/or traumatized by a leaky mam somewhere along the line? where does this desire to eradicate all breastfeeding imagery come from in a young man who claims he values openness and the ability to facilitate sharing of information above all else? and what does his mother have to say about it? i'd *really* like to hear from her, she's a psychiatrist! or is it as simple as the usual problem in this country - that the formula industry is paying big bucks to have *their* product placement take precedence on fb via the ads? (i really wouldn't know as i delete them all as 'offensive' when they pop up on my page! :-P)
i try to take a zen approach to it when it happens to me now - which it does with regularity. i'm not sure if fb keeps rechecking the albums of past offenders, or searches through the friends of someone who currently got flagged (because it does usually seem that a whole group of us go down together), but it's to the point now that anytime i get the login prompt when i know i didn't log off, i steel myself for the warning and then violation notice. one time i got them but it never went into effect, but only one time. at first it made me furious. i mean livid. how dare someone call my feeding of my child obscene? or pictures of my child that do NOT show any genitalia or even buttocks, a violation of decency standards? the activist in me was seething with a need to clarify, rectify, terrify! someone for this. but there's nowhere to complain, nobody to question - no phone numbers, no email, no responses, nothing but a loop of endless links that don't really answer my questions at all. it's obvious someone isn't even really looking at the pictures they're punishing me for, because two of these don't even meet their standards for obscenity in any way.
so now i tell myself to enjoy fb to the fullest while i use it and take it a sign from the universe that i need to take a break when i get banned. its a good lesson to me not to put all my eggs in one basket, too. if it disables my communication with moms i am helping in my lactation counselor capacity, i was relying on it too much! if it hurts my sales for my allergy cookies to not be able to post on that page for a few days, then i probably should have an independent website for them! if it means i won't keep up with close friends during important times or events then i should be calling, emailing or keeping it more personal! i also made a vow to myself to make the temporary ban something that makes up for the time i do spend on fb.
for each day of the ban, i have to do one thing i've been putting off around the house and one special or putty-offy thing w/ the kids each day. today i cleaned and scrubbed under the stove and then got out the mending and sewing before bed and did mending projects w/ the kids and taught the little ones how to sew. tomorrow i will pull out the 'fridge and clean under there and either sew again with the kids before bed (they love it!) or make get well cards with them for my terminally ill mother. this way when i get back on fb, my karma is clean as i feel i 'earned' it..and i have also atoned for the fact in advance that i'm putting those pics right back up! :-P
it also helps to keep me from foaming at the mouth when this happens, to see what great company i am in.
and if that isn't enough to set my attitude back on straight, this is:
~~~~update for friday, january 13, 2012~~~~
well, close your windows in case of flying pigs, but it appears that my friend emma kwasnica is actually making headway with her fight against the lactoferrinous discrimination on fb!
this woman is my hero. as i sit here, being all zen about it - she is (once again!) making online booby history! (85) Emma Kwasnica responds to Facebook after receiving apology. my chest engorges proudly at her persistence. or it might be nursing time for my preschooler. either way, emma would be gleeful!
i can just see her, championing the cause for dejected and persecuted mammaries everywhere. i picture her trotting down a line of female busts, with an encouraging word for all, emanating a unity that not even the widest cleavage could divide. she'd pat a billowing sideswell here, give an uplifting tweak to a downcast nipple there, and then trot off in full battle regalia for the worthy cause of hard working jahoobies everywhere! her cape, of course, would be the patchwork quilt made to honor her work - made up of breastfeeding images from all over the globe.
i might have sparkling appliances, mended laundry and occasionally lower blood pressure by not getting so riled up when i get banned (tho perhaps not, because one of the benefits of breastfeeding *is* those calming hormones!), but this woman has the heart of a warrior inside the body of a nurturer.
the founder of fb is quoted in wikipedia as saying his interests include "revolutions" Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia... well, hold onto your hairy milkless little moobs, mr. CEO of fb, because you let your revolution in by the front door when emma kwasnica signed on to facebook and found your discrimination against a baby's right to be fed normally and a woman's right to do so without being harassed!
thank you for all you do for the breastfeeding cause, emma - i'm proud to call you friend.