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HEY, FACEBOOK, BREASTFEEDING IS NOT OBSCENE!

These pages are dedicated to breastfeeding women everywhere. They provide what is needed in the start of life. Breastfeeding is a very important act in nurturing children, and often a highlight in the life and memory of women, as the photos below suggest.

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Here we present the fourth page of photos banned from the social utility Facebook, as well as a few that haven't been. With several hundred million users, Facebook still removes from its pages photographs of women breastfeeding, despite complaints about that practice beginning as long ago as June 2007.

Facebook claimed that breastfeeding photos violated its terms of service if they showed "an entire breast." Eventually it dropped the vagueness and the euphemism and claimed that all photos with a visible nipple or areola were "obscene," "pornographic," or "sexually explicit." This claim by Facebook is at odds with legislation, case law, and actual practice throughout the USA. In addition, breastfeeding itself is allowed in public, exposed breasts or not, in almost all states in the country. By its attitude and action, Facebook is wrong. It demeans and stigmatizes women and breastfeeding.

In May 2009, the same Facebook spokesperson responsible for the above claims said that Facebook removes only a small number of photos of naked women breastfeeding. That would be funny if it weren't so ignorant. Facebook also claims that images of breasts harm children. That's absurd. Facebook wrongly uses children as an excuse for its immaturity and errors.

Facebook is undoubtedly a great utility, both useful and fun. Its worldwide acceptance on the Internet confers upon it a responsibility to do better.

The protest against Facebook's removal of many breastfeeding photos isn't really about legality. It's not even about rights. It's about what is right.

Number of photos in this collection: 416. Of those, 400 have been banned, some more than once. The few others are here for comparison. Comments from the photos' owners are often illuminating. Note that many thousands more photos have been banned than we have collected.

In recent times, whole accounts have been removed by Facebook over one beautiful, important, helpful, legal photo. Facebook also uses inappropriate skin-recognition software to present targeted users with many randomly chosen photos of theirs to delete on threat of losing their account. Unlike comparable sites, Facebook has appointed itself the world's moralistic photo vigilante, deploying these and similar tactics well known from large tyrannical European states of the 20th century. Its ignorant, crass, inexcusable censorship, which it attempts to justify with glib spin that is false in every detail, also indirectly supports the USA's longstanding dehumanizing manipulation of women's bodies and its high rate of violence against them.


Our NON-DISCLAIMER re photos

Many sites would carry a warning: Keep away if you're under 18! NSFW!

We don't believe in that. Women's breasts in photos like these bother no one except those who have unfortunately been trained to be embarrassed by them or to control them when they have no right to.


We posted most of the photos at the same height. We acknowledge that some appeared on Facebook bigger, and a few smaller. The effect a photo has depends on size, among other things. Also, we cannot guarantee how things like colour or contrast appear, because they depend on individual monitors.

Photographs on this site are not to be reproduced in any location or in any medium or format without the prior consent of the owner of the photograph, except as permitted by law. Neither TERA nor its proprietors, members, or site host assumes any responsibility for what is posted, with which they may or may not agree. Comments may have been edited for clarity or legal reasons.

 

FB99.jpg Photo from Ellen Tietjen

Another famous painting banned by Facebook's ignorant button pushers in its ongoing campaign against women and images of breastfeeding. This painting is by Adriaen van der Werff (1659–1722), from 1714. It resides in the Amstelkring Museum, Amsterdam.

FB100.jpg Photo from Ella Mullins

Banned August 3, 2009

Photo from this person temporarily unavailable.

Banned August 5, 2009

"As part of World Breastfeeding Week, I had finally found the courage to upload a photo of my newborn daughter having her very first feed upon entering the world, and use it as my display photo with a warning in my status update that I would be using the photo for WBW.

"Facebook has repeatedly deleted the photo and sent me a ridiculous automated message claiming that I'm 'violating' the terms of use and that this policy is in place to 'protect children' who use the site.

"To say I'm outraged is an understatement. I can't believe that Facebook's administrators cannot see the hypocrisy in threatening nursing mothers with suspension of their accounts on the pretext of 'protecting children,' while permitting thousands of quizzes, applications, groups and photos containing overt sexual content to be accessed by anybody. I would much rather my children 'stumble across' a photo of a woman and child nursing than answer questions to determine 'what sexual position best suits you' or some other such filth.

"It appears in our society that breasts are only acceptable if they are being used to titillate---not to nourish babies and children, whom they were created for. Children should be exposed to breastfeeding as much as possible, in order to remove the pathetic taboos surrounding it, and normalize the activity for them. They are the next generation of mothers and fathers and should be encouraged to support breastfeeding, not be 'shielded' from it as if it were something disgusting or 'naughty.' 

"This photo was taken just a few minutes after my daughter was born. I feel absolutely no shame in sharing this memory with my friends and family, and have advised people on my friends’ list that if they have a problem with seeing me feed my child, they are free to remove me from their news feed."

FB102.jpg FB104.jpg FB103.jpg

The image on the left was banned on August 6, 2009 (breastfeeding Wonderwoman/Devil). About the same time, Facebook banned the other two. All came from the
Facebook profile of a major feminist and informed birth and breastfeeding advocate, Emma Kwasnica.

"Sophie was 1 day old in the first photo (the middle one above), and 4 days old in the second (above right). Anna was 3 and a bit. My little newborn daughter felt love ---
and gave love --- from her earliest days here on Earth, and I believe the breastfeeding bond (between the three of us) had much to do with it."

"How shameful of Facebook to continue censoring breastfeeding images, all the while reinforcing the notion that breastfeeding one's child is an act of pornography.
That my deleted photos are somehow indecent and perverted, or an express 'depiction of nudity' is beyond me."

FB105.jpg Photo from Beatriz Ramírez

Banned August 5, 2009, like others here, during World Breastfeeding Week (August 1 to 7, 2009). About that week, Facebook couldn't care less. Recall its earlier statements arrogantly and falsely claiming to support breastfeeding.

FB106.jpg Photo from Dawn Holmstrom

Banned August 3, 2009

FB107.jpg Photo from Colleen Thorpe

Banned August 30 and 31, 2009

"I don't understand how someone can look at a photo of two people sharing the first moments with their new baby and see anything but the love and pride. There is nothing obscene in this picture!"

FB108.jpg Photo from Emma Hester
FB109.jpg FB110.jpg FB111.jpg

The above four photos are from Emma Hester. The top one (already indicated as from her) was banned in June 2009. The lower three were banned on September 1, 2009.

FB112.jpg

FB113.jpg Photos from Alison Kennedy

Banned September 25 (left) and 27 (right), 2009. Left: Connor Kennedy at his first breastfeed moments after emerging in a fabulous home water birth
in the early morning of September 16. Right: immediately following Connor's birth, a touching, timeless moment of serenity. His mother Alison knows how
to lay it on:

"I can understand how a baby having his first meal would be incredibly offensive to many people and could cause irreparable harm to the many children
who use Facebook."

FB115.jpg Photo from Emily Dorman

Banned September 25 and October 16, 2009

"My son Elian having his first breastfeed!"

FB114.jpg Photo from Emma Kwasnica

Banned October 12, 2009 and July 11, 2010. Chloë, left, is 8 hours old, joining her sister Sophie (2.5 years old) in a tandem breastfeed.
See Emma's words and more photos of her and her family here.

FB118.jpg Photo from Dee Hellmuth

Banned October 17 and 18, 2009; and December 8, 11, 13, and 14, 2009

FB116.jpg

FB117.jpg

Two photos above from Polly Coaker, banned October 16, 2009

FB119.jpg Photo from Maria Rosa Greco

Maria Rosa Greco wrote us as follows:

"On September 21, 2009, FB deleted a photo that reproduces the detail of a lactating woman's breast. In the photo you couldn't see the mother or the baby because they didn't want to be photographed. This photo is the symbol of my blog. Not only did FB delete the photo, it blocked my account."

Italiano: « Il 21 september 2009 FB ha eliminato una foto che riproduce il particolare di un seno di una donna in allattamento. Nella foto non si vedeva né la mamma né il bambino perché non hanno voluto essere fotografate. Questa foto è il simbolo del mio blog. FB non solo ha eliminato la foto, ma ha bloccato il mio account. »

She wrote about this whole matter on her blog here (in Italian), under the title "Why is Facebook afraid of the female breast?" Indeed. As for the photo, it reinforces the inanity of claiming that women's breasts might be seen only when someone fabricates circumstances for that. How close does the baby have to be to the breast? A few centimetres? A few more? What if the baby is feeding but lifts her head up and unlatches? Does that suddenly disqualify the scene as one of breastfeeding? What if the baby is present but the photo excludes her?

Why all this fuss in the first place, this especially American prudery? How, specifically, do intolerance towards women, demeaning their bodies and breastfeeding, and making every exposure of a nipple an event of mass sexual hysteria protect children?

FB120.jpg Photo from Kate Maddox

Banned November 14, 2009. Kate Maddox wrote:

"I can see all manner of nipple and areola in the picture, can't you? I'm very shy about my body. I don't go out and flaunt myself. I'm very modest, so posting these pictures in the Breastfeeding isn't Obscene group was a big step in confidence for me.

"And nursing my son is also a big step for me. My daughter (almost 3) wasn't breastfed. I was absolutely Hell-bent on nursing this time around. There were some problems at firs. I posted pictures (solely in the group) because of how proud I was not only to be breastfeeding Jason but to be breastfeeding him after a week of nothing but the bottle!

"It just makes me wonder why random pictures are taken down. Why was mine targeted but none of the other 5,000+ currently up? And if photos are reported, why was mine taken down? It makes no sense! Facebook needs to stop and look at how nonsensical they're really being.

"It's not obscene. It's not vulgar. It's not offensive. It's what breasts were made for!"

FB121.jpg Photo from Kim Robinson

Banned November 14, 2009. Ollie's first feed.

FB122.jpg Photo from Shaina Capellupo

Banned twice on November 21, 2009

"Nathan is 22 months and occasionally enjoys playing in my mom's dog's kennel. He wanted a snack, so we nursed all cuddled up inside."


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FB125.jpg

The above three photos from Amber Wilson were banned over two or three days in mid-December, 2009 (15th or 16th to the 17th).
The third is a censored version of the second.

"I'm proud and I'm loud," she notes. Too bad Facebook remains wilfully deaf.

FB127.jpg

And then on December 18, this photo was banned and Amber Wilson's entire account shut down.

FB126.jpg Photo from Kathryn Robles

Banned December 17, 2009

"This picture is of my first daughter nursing after I had to pump for her for three months. It has been on my account for two years and just a few weeks after I made it my profile picture it was removed."

FB128.jpg Photo from Megan Hutchinson

Banned December 19, 2009

"This was immediately after my caesarean section. I think it such an empowering picture, showing you can establish breastfeeding immediately even when you have a c-section.

FB129.jpg Photo from Karen Speed

Banned December 24, 2009. Facebook deleted her account the next day, December 25, without explanation.

Karen Speed's banned photos from 2007 were the first to make worldwide news. They're the first in this whole collection, here.

FB130.jpg Photo from Zoe Williams

Banned December 25, 2009

FB131.jpg Photo from Tara Brown

Banned three times in the week preceding December 30, 2009

FB132.jpg

Photo submitted by Simon Stearns: an advertisement he found on his Facebook page which he then reposted in a group.

Banned December 30, 2009. Facebook is so clueless that it deletes its own ad! (It was declared by Facebook to be harmful to children, just like all the breastfeeding photos on these pages.)

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