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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 second 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.


 

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All six photos from Lindsay Giannakos

"I am a breastfeeding counsellor (volunteer, as are we all) for the Australian Breastfeeding Association. I would love to promote breastfeeding as being normal."

On December 29, 2008, Facebook banned the photos on the top left, bottom left, and bottom middle.


FB39 Photo from Erica Michelle Henderson

"I am a mother of five and have breastfed them all. They will never be immunized, and my last four children were born at home with no assistance.

"I can show my breasts to whomever I want. It doesn't matter if I am breastfeeding or not. Men who don't love breasts can go suck a brick. As long as it is legal for a man to go topless, I will do the same. If I need to get a lawyer to sue for gender discrimination, I will."

Banned December 26, 2008

FB40 Photo from Fiona Dionne

Banned in Fall 2007

FB46.jpg Photo from Kimberly Stewart

Banned Deecmber 31, 2008

Kimberly's Warrior Mammas natural/home birth support group is here.

FB42.jpgPhotos from
Patricia Madden

The photo on the
left was banned on
December 15, 2008.

The photo on the
right went around
the world in late
December, 2008.

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"The photo above, left was banned from the 'Hey, Facebook, Breastfeeding is not Obscene!' petition. It was not taken off my Facebook album,
but I am sure with all the publicity it might be, and I might be kicked off as well. But I hope not.

This is the quote from the paper I was interviewed by:

Patricia Madden, from San Jose, had a photograph of her breastfeeding her daughters Zoe and Isobel removed from the site. The birth doula, who encourages
new mothers to breastfeed, was photographed by her husband while feeding in the bathtub.

'It's amazing to me that we're living in a world where people are upset by this,' she said. 'You can't see my nipples. It's completely legal to breastfeed in public.
Breastfeeding is completely natural and healthy. They took off the photo, without my permission,' she told the
San Jose Mercury News.

"The photo above, right is us the other day [December 27, 2008] at the protest. My beautiful girls grown up!"


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Photos from Alison

"After trying to have a baby for six years, I found it truly a miracle to feed and be able to see the contentment of my child after a feed---so contented she fell asleep on my chest. Breastfeeding is truly one of God's greatest gifts to us. There is nothing in the world like the feeling of watching your child grow purely from a mother's milk."

Photo above, left banned in early December, 2008. Above, right banned on December 22, 2008.

FB48.jpg From Mia Westlund

"This picture of me breastfeeding my twins was deleted from Facebook [on December 29, 2008]. I just couldn't believe my eyes! How can this happen in 2008? It is simply a picture of a mother giving her babies what they need."

FB50.jpg From Raquel Rosell

"My photo was banned on December 29th, 2008, a few hours after joining the group 'Hey, Facebook, Breastfeeding is not Obscene!'

"It makes me very sad that anyone sees something obscene in this nice image. I find all these photos splendid because I see bountiful mothers and happy children. Thanks for posting them.

"Let's hope this beauty ends up overcoming any embittered hearts; let's hope we can change the world a little with our white gold."

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[Español] "Me produce una gran tristeza que alguien vea algo obsceno en esa bonita imagen. Me parecen maravillosas todas las fotos, porque veo a madres generosas y a niños felices. Gracias por publicarlas.

"Ojalá esta belleza sepa conquistar algún corazón resentido, ojalá cambiemos un poco el mundo con nuestro oro blanco."

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[Français] "Cela me rend très triste que quelqu'un voit quelque chose d'obscène dans cette jolie image. Je trouve toutes ces photos merveilleuses car j'y vois des mères généreuses et des enfants heureux. Merci de les avoir publiées.

"Pourvu que cette beauté sache conquérir quelques coeurs aigris, pourvu que nous puissions changer un peu le monde avec notre or blanc."


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FB53.jpg Photos from Brianne Porterfield

"The second photo was banned on December 29th [2008], while the two others were left up! I fail to see the difference. Perhaps my fat belly offends them?
"My daughter nursing is something I'm very proud of!"

FB54.jpg Photo from Frances McInnes

Banned in November 2008.

"This is a photo that I was trying to use on Facebook to advertise my website via the paid social networking adverts that come up on the side of the Facebook pages. It took several attempts for me to load the advert, because they kept banning it. I thought it was because of problems with the wording and punctuation in the advert text (they are very strict about that), but after several attempts, someone at Facebook e-mailed me and said the reason was the photo.

"I was just using this photo to advertise my site, which is full of gorgeous breastfeeding products and maternity lingerie. What is more appropriate to advertise breastfeeding than a real breastfeeding photo?! This is a picture that my husband took, of me and my darling son Lauchlan when he was 4 weeks old."

FB55.jpg Photo from Pierrette Wiseman

"This is an image my husband took of me nursing my son when he was less then a week old. I posted it on January 1st, 2009. On January 4th Facebook deleted my account. This was the only image of him nursing I had up. On January 3rd it was published in Chile in an article about the controversy over breastfeeding pictures.

Since when is nursing your 1-week-old as per the World Health Organization recommendation considered obscene? No wonder so many young mothers these days are bottle feeding."

Note: Facebook deleted the entire account because of this one photograph.

On January 6, 2009 at 2:10 PM (Eastern Standard Time), Pierrette's account was reinstated. This photograph reappeared in it. On January 7, Facebook confirmed that the account had been deleted bcause of the one photo and, as usual, refused to say anything different from the vague, erroneous, and insincere message that everyone receives about banned photos.

So Facebook banned this photo because it was obscene and then reinstated it with no explanation. What does that tell us about Facebook's competence in this area? Perhaps nothing that the rest of this page doesn't already indicate.

FB56.jpg Photo from Michelle Fawcett

Banned December 29, 2008


FB57.jpgPhotos from Dani Arnold,
a leading supporter of
breastfeeding and natural
childbirtth, and co-admini-
strator of
Natural Mothering.

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"I too had one of my breastfeeding photos deleted [above, left]---back in August 2007! I was interviewed
on CTV news (Toronto) about it,
and they showed the 'offending' picture on national television! The other photo is of me tandem nursing my 6-month-old and 3-year-old.
It's used on the
Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute's home page."

For more information about NBCI's struggle for government funding and the protest against the lack of breastfeeding support
from the Ontario Ministry of Health, please visit
Natural Mothering for updates.

Note the onscreen title of the CTV news segment with Dani in it: "Faceboob."

FB59.jpg Photo from Christine Nelson

Photo banned January 9, 2009

"This picture was taken almost ten years ago, when my daughter was six months old. Having this photo taken was especially important to me, because my doctors warned me that I might be able to nurse from only one breast.

When I was twelve, I was in an accident that severed one nipple from my body. It was later surgically reattached. I desperately wanted to nurse but was prepared for the worst. By the grace of God, I was able to nurse with both breasts.

I wanted to capture the bond I felt while nursing my daughter. This picture does so beautifully.

There is another shot (taken the same day) that does not show my nipple. That version is framed on my wall with the words from Martina McBride's song "In My Daughter's Eyes" inscribed at the bottom.

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FB61.jpg Photos from Michael Ruehle

Photos banned on December 31, 2008 and January 10, 2009.
Left: detail from Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels (ca. 1450, by Jean Fouquet; painting now in a museum in Antwerp (Antwerpen), Belgium)
Right: detail from Virgin and Child (ca. 1510, anonymous Master of the St. Bartholomew Altar; painting now in a museum in Cologne (Köln), Germany)

"These are images that exist in public spaces, such as museums and churches, which are visited by people every day without complaint about the art.
If the idea is to protect those under 18 from 'obscene' images, the fact of their existence in public should establish that they are not offensive."

FB62.jpg Photo from Helen Schwalme

"I am the other half of Natural Mothering, with Dani Arnold [a few photos above]. I also had a breastfeeding photo [immediately above] deleted from Facebook in August 2007. This photo is also proudly displayed on the home page of Dr. Jack Newman's breastfeeding clinic."

FB63.jpg Photo from Matthew West of his wife and daughter

Banned December 15, 2008

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FB65.jpg Photos from Margaret Nelson

Photo on the left banned on January 27, 2009.

"I drew this in 1975. My son was breastfed until he was 13 months old---never had a bottle or dummy (pacifier) in his life. He wouldn't touch them. I was active in
community politics at the time and used to feed him at meetings, or wherever I happened to be. The only time anyone came close to objecting was when a man on
the committee said, 'When are you going to wean that child?' Mostly, people were grateful that I stopped him crying by plugging him in!

"In hospital, a girl on the same ward refused to feed her baby, despite being very uncomfortable with engorged breasts. She said she thought I was 'brave.'
She was very confused about what breasts are for, as she thought it was 'dirty' to breastfeed. Very sad.

"The second version has stickers on, to take the piss out of Facebook."

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