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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 third 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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Photo on the left banned on January 26, 2009. Christen Clifford is a well-known writer and actor, especially for her solo show
BabyLove. She wrote an article mentioning the Facebook protest
for the Huffington Post (
here), called "Pumping in Public." It appeared on January 30, 2009 and invites comments. She has the following to say about her recent experience:

"Like most people, I use Facebook to share pictures and news with friends and family. When sharing photos of my new baby, I posted BF-ing pictures. It's one of the only things that babies actually do.
For me, pumping is a part of breastfeeding: this time I had mastitis and cracked and bleeding nipples, I needed to pump to let my breasts heal so that I could breastfeed. So pumping was a big part of
my new baby experience, and when friends wanted to know how it was going, I directed them to that pumping photo, titled 'Lactation Station.'

"If more people saw breastfeeding, then more people would do it. We shouldn't have to hide our wet breasts. It makes me angry that even La Leche League advises women to be 'discreet.'"

FB69.jpg Photo from Joanne Graham

"This photo was removed in December 2008. I can see no way it could be viewed in any way other than the pure and innocent light in which it was taken. It is my three-week-old son; the photo was taken on New Year's Day 2006. He had just spent time in hospital after being very ill with bronchiolitis. I took the photo to send to my partner, who had gone back to work---to reassure him that he was looking better.

"The photo was removed from a private album and I was sent the usual warning by Facebook. I have reposted it in the same album and it has since remained there."

FB70.jpg Photo from Jessica Harkins

Banned in January 2009.

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Guess which photo was banned? The one on the left, on February 10, 2009. A major lactivist on Facebook and elsewhere posted it
as her profile photo. She writes:

"I'd love it if the media could ask the question: 'If this isn't what FB allows either, then what is acceptable?' At this point I do not think even FB
knows what they want. I had this image in my mind of what FB was looking for and that was it. This portrays the exact opposite of those that were
previously deleted. It isn't a copyright issue. The copyright is expired. It was painted in the early 1880s. It isn't threatening, it covers/censors the 'nudity'
or breasts with an 'acceptable' image and it is an art piece---digital media."

She reposted the photo later the same day. The one on the right is the original painting by Paul Cézanne, from 1880-82. It didn't take long for that
to be posted by someone and banned. Paula Stanistreet put it up, and it was taken down by Facebook on February 12, 2009.

On February 4, Facebook changed its Terms of Service to include proscription of images of nudity. Obviously Facebook believes that breastfeeding may
constitute nudity, in opposition to almost all the states in the USA. Curiously, its Terms of Service no longer exclude images of obscenity.

Facebook's censorship seems run by prudish, careless goons. The result still stigmatizes breastfeeding, demeans women, and reveals an
immature, crass ignorance unparalleled on this scale in cyberspace.

FB73.jpg Photo from Jen Stevens

Banned February 10, 2009

[The photo in this space is temporarily unavailable]

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The collage (on the left, in a slightly different version) was posted on Facebook February 13, 2009 and banned February 16. The photo on the right
was posted on April 12, 2009 and banned April 14. In the words of the lactivist and artist whose photos they are:

Title for the collage: Silicone Breastfeeding [temporarily unavailable]

"In this collage I'm not portraying breastfeeding . . . I'm portraying society's acceptance of and even desire for artificial silicone breast implants and
silicone/rubber baby bottle nipples. To the same society, breastfeeding in public is considered undesirable and obscene.

"I'm portraying online and real-world censorship of breastfeeding, which is unnecessary.

"I'm portraying a baby and his feelings about moms being told to pump in order to go out in public. Many people do not want to witness the act of
breastfeeding, they do not like the idea of breastfeeding, and they want to censor it for their comfort and for the 'safety' of 'the children.'

"What about the children our society is depriving of milk from their own mother's breast? Who is going to fight for these children? Their mothers
and those who believe it is normal are going to fight for them, that's who.

"Their mothers are going feed them when and where needed, and they are going to document the time in the child's life when he or she was
breastfeeding. They are going to take a picture of this and share it, just as they would any other photograph. They are not going to censor their child's
mealtime, and they are not going to hide in a toilet stall.

"We live in a social networking world these days . . . Breastfeeding acceptance both in the real world and in cyberspace is long overdue. It isn't just
breastfeeding moms who need information about breastfeeding. Those who will come into contact with one at a time of breastfeeding need it more.

"It can be a challenge to be a breastfeeding mother, trying to live a normal life when our society doesn't accept breastfeeding: a life with responsibilities
like everyone else's, including trips to the grocery store, the mall, or anywhere else.

"Being reprimanded or removed from somewhere for breastfeeding can be quite humiliating. We live in a world so afraid of the act of breastfeeding
that laws are needed to protect a mother who chooses to do it.

"I formula-fed two of my four children. I'm here in the hope that breastfeeding moms will be accepted as publicly as bottle-feeding moms."

Title for the photo on the right: Eye of the Beholder (with milk)

"North Dakota: '. . . if the woman acts in a discreet and modest manner when breastfeeding . . .'

"Defined by whom? It's all in 'The Eye of the Beholder.'

"Discreet to one person is . . . Just feeding a child.
Discreet to another is . . . With no blanket.
Discreet to another is . . . With a blanket covering the baby and breast.
Discreet to another is . . . In a bathroom.
Discreet to another is . . . In a toilet stall.
Discreet to another is . . . At the mother and child's home.
Discreet to another is . . . With the curtains closed.
Discreet to another is . . . In the bedroom.
Discreet to another is . . . With a bottle of pumped milk.
Discreet to another is . . . With a bottle of formula."

FB76.jpg Photo from Julia Norris

Banned March 5, 2009

FB77.jpg Photo from Helen Schwalme

Banned March 3 and 23 and June 1, 2009, and February 5 and April 8 and 16, 2010.

FB78.jpg Photo from Sarah Green

"I added this photo as my profile picture for the MILC event on Feb. 21 [2009] . . . left it up a whole week before replacing it with a new profile picture. It stayed in my profile folder for another full week. Then on the evening of March 7, a friend posted a sweet comment on the photo. Within 24 hours she went back to find the picture again, and it was gone, replaced by a question mark logo. But on the evening of March 8, the photo was once again in my profile folder.

"The photo quality is so poor, so out of focus, that the context is hard to understand, unless you just happen to be familiar with breastfeeding! I was a bit embarrassed to use it for the protest---not for what it shows, but for what it doesn't!"

Whether the photo was removed by anti-breastfeeding zealots or because of a technical problem, Sarah's report is another mark against Facebook.

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Photos from Aurélie Étienne

On the left: Ninon, 2 1/2 months, photo banned April 26, 2009. Facebook did not ban the other two photos of Ninon and Aurélie.

"I had read an article in the magazine Parents concerning Facebook and the photos declared indecent for their breastfeeding. So right away I went and "signed" the petition and uploaded three photos. I
got a message from Facebook, and one of my photos was deleted. It was one of my favourites, however, with the beautiful blue eyes of my little one . . . Sad that breastfeeding is treated like that!"

[Français] "J'avais lu un article dans le magazine Parents concernant Facebook et les photos dites indécentes sur l'allaitement. Alors je me suis empressée d'aller "signer" la pétition et de rajouter 3 photos.
J'ai reçu un message de FB et une de mes photos a été supprimée. C'était une de mes préférées pourtant avec les beaux yeux bleux de ma pupuce . . . Dommage que l'allaitement soit pris comme ça !"

FB82.jpg Photo from Cheryl Giovenco

Cheryl Giovenco took this photo of her son Alex (6 months) and husband Anthony. Facebook banned it on November 20, 2008.

FB83.jpg Photo from Brenda Galambos

"I was saddened and angry that my photo was deemed inappropriate. It was taken in March 2009, when my daughter was 25 months old, and banned in the last week of April. I will nurse her until she no longer wishes to nurse."

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Photos from Maela Bru, banned in April 2009.

"As a young breastfeeding mother, I find it sad and ridiculous that Facebook and closed-minded people are making breastfeeding out to be some kind of crime. I find so many young mothers opt not to breastfeed, because of the attitude toward it, which is so sad for those babies who could be receiving the bonding and immune protection breastfeeding offers. Among other benefits, of course."

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FB89.jpg Photos from Sam Robertson

Photo on the left banned May 5, 2009; photo on the right not banned.

FB90.jpg Photo from Katherine Eccles

Banned in May (approx.), 2009

FB91.jpg Photo from Tiffany Deering

Banned May 31, 2009

FB92.jpg Photo from Cyanne Brocious

Banned May 30, 2009.

"More people need to see the beauty of breastfeeding! Ignorance creates more bottle fed, unhealthy, and perverted humans!"

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FB94.jpg Photos from Céline Gindre

"My photos were taken down by Facebook on June 11. As the whole explanation, Facebook sent me a message informing me that I was
violating the terms of use by posting nudity, and that my photos could offend the site's users, especially children visiting it.

"I don't think I'm being harmful in breastfeeding my children, and still less am I distributing pornographic photos when they present my children
being fed . . ."

[Français] "Mes photos ont été retirées de Facebook le 11 juin. Pour toute explication, Facebook m'a envoyé un message m'informant qu
je violais les conditions d'utilisation en affichant de la nudité et que mes photos pouvait choquer les utilisateurs du site, particulièrement
les enfants le fréquentant.

"Je ne pense pas être nuisible en allaitant mes enfants et encore moins diffuser des photos pornographiques lorsque celles mettent en scène
mes enfants en train de se nourrir . . ."

FB95.jpg Photo from Alexx Suderman and Jennifer Tite

Banned June 27, 2009 (Alexx) and in February 2010 (Jennifer).

"This is not a photo of me," Alexx writes, "rather one I found and decided to use in support of the fight to normalize breastfeeding. Facebook's "terms of service" are so bogus. Male nipple---good, Female nipple---ok if she's hot, but if there's a child anywhere near it? EEEEEEW!"

FB96.jpg Photo from Emma Kirkwood McKinley

Banned June 24, 2009.

This is the orientation we received this photo in. Rather than ask for it straightened or make it that way, we decided to leave it. Emma wrote us:

"Sorry about that. I was so upset about having my picture removed from Facebook that day. I wasn't thinking till the last minute, when the message was sent!"

FB97.jpg Photo from Annie Pants

Banned July 6, 2009.

FB98.jpg Photo from Helen Schwalme

Banned July 20, 2009. As an added bonus, Helen's account was deleted by Facebook on July 27, 2009 for her having "Breastfeeding" as her middle name. Facebook pretends that it has to have people's real names (is it operated by the FBI and CIA?). It merely deletes accounts capriciously, such as that of Alicia Istanbul, who had her account removed in May 2009 because Facebook didn't accept her last name.

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