I’ll just go ahead and warn you that parts of this post may not be considered safe for work, so don’t click any links if you’re not sure.
Twitter has been abuzz this week with some tweets and retweets about Facebook that are setting the lactivist in me ON. FIRE.
Two nights ago (or perhaps three?) Facebook deleted the page for The Leaky B@@b, a breastfeeding support page, saying that the page violated Facebook’s Terms of Service (TOS) (and that’s boob, if you were wondering). A battle-cry of nursing mothers and those who support nursing mothers went up in the way only social media allows and someone created a Facebook page entitled “Bring Back the Leaky B@@b.”
Yesterday, Facebook reinstated the page.
Today? Both pages are gone. And apparently one of them has been reinstated now.
Y’all, I’m irritated.
In case you aren’t aware, not all women have access to information about breastfeeding. In MANY cases, women are given incorrect information when they ask doctors and other medical professionals for advice.
For these reasons, among others, women have gone to The Leaky B@@b’s page (by the thousands) to ask questions and get advice about breastfeeding issues from breastfeeding moms. Mothers who successfully nursed their children have gone there to offer their support and advice as a way to “pay it forward” for the support they were once given.
This makes sense, right?
I mean, I’m not going to ask the guy who takes ONE course in physics in college to get me to the moon or build me a plane. Would you? Most medical professionals take at most one course in breastfeeding IN ALL OF THEIR SCHOOLING. In some cases, it’s only a topic that is briefly covered in an entire course. If I’m trying to figure out how to build a plane, I’m going to ask the person who’s already successfully done it for advice.
When I was breastfeeding Joshua and I reached a bump in our road (and there were many bumps) I didn’t turn to my doctors or his pediatricians. (Uh, copays are expensive, duh.)
I turned to OTHER MOMS who’d successfully done what I was doing. Who’d met the goals that I wanted to meet. These other moms weren’t all people I knew in real life. Sure, a couple of them cheered me on from time to time, but most of my friends and I are at that age where we’re all having our first babies at about the same time. So we pretty much spent our early days looking at like ::blank stare:: whenever we happened to venture out into the land of showered people.
I cannot begin to express to you the support I received from people on the internet when it came to breastfeeding. I wasn’t aware of The Leaky B@@b when I was breastfeeding, and I’m not even sure if the page existed two years ago (though I suspect it did). But I can imagine what a valuable resource this was for mothers in the same way that other forums were helpful to me.
Facebook said the pages, according to its TOS, was “obscene.”
Want to know why they called it obscene?
Because mothers had posted pictures of themselves nursing their little ones.
According to my good friends Merriam and Webster, the word “obscene” is defined as:
1: disgusting to the senses : repulsive 2 a : abhorrent to morality or virtue; specifically : designed to incite to lust or depravity b : containing or being language regarded as taboo in polite usage
c : repulsive by reason of crass disregard of moral or ethical principles d : so excessive as to be offensive
So these pictures from my Twitter friend Suzanne are obscene, huh?
But this is okay?
Groups like this one are allowed to exist and do not incite “lust or depravity”? They don’t show a “crass disregard of moral and ethical principle”?
But a group supporting mothers who want to FEED THEIR CHILDREN and who take and share pictures to relish the experience does?
Excuse me, what?
Did I just warp myself into an alternate universe where CRAZY PEOPLE ARE IN CHARGE?
Because this? Is the definition of insanity to me.
Breastfeeding is normal. It is natural. It is the way God intended for babies to be fed. It is the REASON we even HAVE boobs in the first place. And it makes some people who do not have to look at it so uncomfortable that those pictures exist on Facebook so that a group is deleted and reinstated and deleted and reinstated again?
When, WHEN will we, as a country, stand up and support breastfeeding mothers? When will we realize that breastfeeding is GOOD for our children AND our bodies? When will we learn to look at breasts as more than just sexual objects? (For that matter, when will we learn to look at WOMEN as more than just sexual objects, you know? But that’s an argument for another day.)
Soon, people. It better be soon. For the sake of our sons, and especially the potential for the objectification of our daughters, things MUST change.
This change begins with helping to educate others about the benefits of breastfeeding and providing them real, accurate facts. It begins with offering FREE support from International Board Certified Lactation Consultants to mothers who need help. It begins with putting non-formula company sponsored “welcome packs” into the hands of newly pregnant mothers and instead providing information from the World Health Organization and breastfeeding support groups.
This change begins with being a supporter of mothers who choose to breastfeed even if after knowing the facts, you do not choose to do so yourself.
This change begins with us.
But I’d consider Facebook leaving breastfeeding mothers alone a start.