This morning I woke up before Mira again (WHY OH WHY?) and was using the time to catch up on some of my blog reading. I read this one about Facebook removing breastfeeding artwork, labeling it "obscene". A quote from the article:
“the treatment of my breastfeeding subject matter by facebook is indicative of the very high expectations that society holds for mothers. Mothers are expected to breastfeed, every health organization tells us it’s the best choice, yet images of women breastfeeding are treated with hostility and distain. Women are treated badly when breastfeeding in public. The result is an impossible ideal of motherhood that no mother could possibly meet.”
I've known for some time about FB's appalling policy on breastfeeding photos, and I've honestly considered several times boycotting FB because of it. I was very lucky that breastfeeding came naturally and easily for Mira and me, but so very many women are not so fortunate. For those ladies, breastfeeding is a physical, mental, and emotional struggle full of frustration, self-doubt, and heartache. For many, it's a fight that can not be won. For many more, it's a fight that could be endured with the right support. Part of getting the right support for these women is helping them to feel welcome to feed their babies in public. There is a pervasive and destructive attitude held by some that breastfeeding is something that need be done privately. Perhaps people feel this way because they see breastfeeding as gross or somehow sexual in nature. Whatever their reasoning, the idea is ill-founded and detrimental. But it is an idea that FB is propagating by declaring breastfeeding photos and, now, artworks to be obscene material.
So anyway, the blog post I mentioned earlier got me thinking... The article was about artworks featuring breastfeeding mothers in a fashion similar to the Renaissance portrayals of Mary feeding the baby Jesus. So now I'm wondering if FB would declare images of those historical paintings to be obscene. To test this theory, I've posted a set of images on my FB account:
"The Virgin Mary Nursing her Child" by Hans Memling:
I guess we'll see what FB decides to make of these. It seems to me like it would be hypocritical of them to have banned the artwork shown in the blog post above but not ban these images. But if FB does ban these images, they might be backing themselves into a corner that they don't want to be in. If there are quite a few of us who are upset that Jane Doe from Iowa can't post her breastfeeding photos, then I imagine that many many more people would be upset about these particular images of the Virgin Mary being labeled "obscene".
I think this particular avenue might just be more personally rewarding than boycotting. ;-) I'll keep you posted on any response taken by FB.