Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pro-Breastfeeding. Pro-Woman. Pro-Boob.

Breastfeeding Photos on Facebook Removed from "Respect the Breast" Page.

There are so many things that bother me about this headline.

I'll start with the obvious- Respect the Breast is a totally stupid name.    Well, it is.  Sorry.  But then there is the larger issue, of Facebook feeling the need to censor a harmless mommy group.  That is beyond stupid.

These buttons not only exist- they can be bought in a pack of 100.  Wha?

I am a feminist.  I am a mother.  I breastfed my child.  I think it is ridiculous that we stigmatize breastfeeding in this country.  Jesus, there are plenty of women flaunting half naked pictures of themselves on Facebook.  Why Facebook decided to take up the anti-breastfeeding charge- I am not sure.  It all seems really stupid to me.  I totally understand why these women are pissed. Breastfeeding is good for the baby, it's good for the mother- and we all generally agree that it's the best way for a child to get its nourishment for the first year of its life and beyond.

It's just too bad that milk has got to come out of a nipple.  Boy, do we hate nipples.

Go grab a Victoria's secret catalog.  I know you have one- they send me like, five a month, and I haven't bought anything from them in years.  Okay, now start flipping through the pages.  Notice the beautiful demi-cut bra with the transparent lace overlay?  How about the super thin modal cotton sleep shirt?  Notice something missing?  Yes, that would be her nipples.  That fabric is totally see-through, but not a nipple in sight.  No nipples allowed in this country.  Unfortunately, breastfeeding a child usually involves flashing your nipple for a millisecond- so, yeah-  nobody wants to see that.

Now go to your cable box and search for an episode of The Walking Dead.  Hit the guide button, then hit the "b" and type in your search.  That's how you do it- in case you have children who suck up all of your leisure TV time,  and have forgotten how to use your cable remote.

Depending on the episode you find, you may get the pleasure of seeing a 10 year old boy shot through the chest with a rifle bullet.  Oooh-  or you may see someone saw off their own hand.  You'll definitely see a zombie sucking out someones brain at some point.  But you won't see a nipple.  Nipples are disgusting.  Just to recap:  the undead feasting on the flesh of the living- fine.  Woman pulling out her tit to breastfeed- disgusting!  Vulgar!  Stop her!

It's crazy that we make women feel so uncomfortable about this necessary, biological process.  First, we shove the necessity of it down her throat throughout her pregnancy.  Than, when she actually agrees that it is best for her and her child, and attempts to do it- we make it shameful.  What the hell?

I was very discreet when I breast fed Lucien, almost to the point of discomfort.   Don't get me wrong, I didn't let it stop me from feeding him in public, but I was armed with wraps and cover-ups, basically creating a sweat lodge for the poor baby.  God forbid I let a nipple slip.  And I'm not even a bashful person.  The social stigma involved in pulling out your breast to feed your child obviously got to me.  That is why I am so impressed by these women, who are seemingly oblivious to the world around them when they do it.

I know such a woman.  She struts into the restaurant where I work on the weekend, orders her food, gets comfortable- and than proceeds to pull out her boob and rest it on the table until her son is ready to eat.  I am not shitting you.  Her boob just sits on the table like it belongs there.  I'm not quite sure why she does this.  I have boobs, and really don't find them that exciting.  But I can't seem pull my eyes away from hers.  Really, I can't.  And neither can anyone else.  The whole room is transfixed on her.   I'm absolutely sure that this is just an indication of how repressed our society is.  We ban harmless nudity from advertising.  We somehow collectively decided that it was OK to see someone stabbed to death, but not OK to see them naked.  I'm a product of our ridiculously repressed yet violent culture, too- as much as I hate to admit it.  I can't stop staring at her nipples either.

But back to this lady.  She's pretty fantastic.

She comes in every weekend, and every weekend I am impressed by her ability to seemingly not notice that the whole room is staring at her.  On the one hand- I think women like this make the cause more difficult, because people get so freaked out by their blatant disregard for social norm that they recoil at the sight of  anyone breastfeeding.  On the other hand, she is my hero.

I've actually found myself thinking, What is she doing?  Why be so blatant?  But you know what, why not?  We ladies have to stick together- and if that means standing behind this woman and her right to pull out her boobs and set them on the table until she's good and ready to feed her son- damn it, I'm doing it.

Basically what I'm saying is, our culture is totally f-ed up.   We need to show more titties, and less violence.  We need to stop harassing women for breastfeeding.  And if it makes you really uncomfortable- you need to reach into your psyche, and think Why? 

We have a hell of a lot of problems in this country- and nipples didn't cause any of them.
I'm pro-boob, and you should be, too.


  1. I've been commenting on these kinds of posts on all kinds of blogs for a couple weeks now. And when it comes to my opinion, I really don't think people have a problem with *breastfeeding*, but why the need to post pictures to social networking sites? If someone wants to share pictures and information about breastfeeding, I think that's great! Spread the knowledge and get the word out that breastfeeding is simply the healthiest choice for babies and really, that nothing compares! But Facebook, I feel, is not the right place for it. Mommy blogs are great! Start your own blog about it, if that's your thing! But I have a lot of friends on Facebook that wouldn't appreciate seeing pictures of my boobs, no matter the context. And I have friends on Facebook that I wouldn't want to SHOW pictures of my boobs- work acquaintances, old friends I haven't seen in a while, family I haven't seen in a long time- and when it comes down to it, when a picture is removed from Facebook it's because the photo was flagged. And who's flagging these photos? The people you share them with. That's right, the very people you wanted to share your booby pictures with in the first place. So, if a woman gets upset because her breastfeeding photos were taken down, taking it up with Facebook (a FREE social networking site that can ban blue shirts in photos if they want to) is not the answer.

    1. I kind of see where you are coming from- but everyone posts everything on Facebook, so I don't see why this should be any different. This is a group- and like any other group on Facebook, you actually have to join it to get updates from them. They don't just randomly send out booby pics to unsuspecting users. Obviously I wasn't comfortable showing my boobs off either- which is why I covered up so carefully. But that's my question- why? Why was I so uncomfortable? What is the big deal?

    2. Julie, we don't "need" to post pics on FB, we WANT to. And I thik our issue is less about FB removing our photos, and more about them NOT removing things such as nearly pornographic photos if they want to claim "no nudity". IMO, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Either take it all down, or leave it all up. And frankly, when I've posted a breastfeeding photo, I've also cordailly invited any of my "friends" who don't like it to "un-friend" me. I don't need that type of friend. I am an advocate for breastfeeding, BF rates are alarmingly low (where I'm from, anyway) and it needs to be seen as often as possible if it will ever become the "norm" again.

    3. It doesn't HAVE to be on Facebook, but the groups of people posting pictures are trying to make it less taboo. I posted a picture of myself nursing my twins for World Breastfeeding week, and there was NO skin showing, and yet, I still felt worried that people might be offended. Breastfeeding my children is a huge part of my life right now (I mean, twins... that's a lot of boob time) and anyone who knows me knows that, so it shouldn't be any shock to people that I may post a picture of me breastfeeding. Honestly, the few times I tandem nursed them, probably account for most of the pictures I have of me and the two of them together, and I'm not going to hide those pictures under a rock.

    4. Holly- if you tandem nursed twins- you should be showing that off. That is amazing,and good for you for not letting this stupid stigma get to you!

    5. I agree, with Maria, we should post what the hell we want. Nobody HAS to post bfd'ing pictures, but if I wanted to share that phantasmic moment with my friends, why shouldn't I be allowed to.
      And the way Facebook works, if you set your privacy settings right, not even ALL of your friends must see your boobie shots. You can only show them to fellow Mommies, or close friends, or just exempt work acquaintances. Now if people on your friends list can't handle the bfd'ing pictures, they could always "unsubscribe" from you, or even unfriend you. It simply should not be up to Facebook to censor our "free speech," this could be handled by the individual users.
      And I agree with the comparison to "Walking Dead" type of violence. It's not like we are promoting anything that is violent, hurts, or is bad for babies. We are only promoting love and nourishment.

  2. Julie, I agree with you that Facebook can ban whatever they please, but I don't understand why facebook "is not the right place." Isn't facebook an extension of what we do in public??

    I agree with you Maria. Why are we so freaked out about boobs?

    1. I don't know. I'm not sure who decided that female nipples were any more vulgar than male ones. I've seen some guys with huge boobs.

    2. I think that depends on how public you want your life to be. I guess I'm just a more private person and like I said, I have a wide variety of different types of people that I'm friends with on Facebook. And I would never EVER want to be one of those people who would want to say to any of them "If you don't like it, block my posts or unfriend me.". Because I think that's kind of rude and in MY opinion, not what Facebook is about.

      I get that it's a group about breastfeeding- which I guess I didn't really catch onto when I first read the post- and yeah, I agree that's kind of a shitty thing to do to take that whole group page down because people have the right to join the group or not depending on whether or not it's the type of material they want to look at. But when it comes to the "all or none" philosophy about nudity on Facebook, I still stand by my original comment- it's your friends that are flagging the posts. There are millions and millions of users on Facebook and I *highly* doubt that there's someone sitting in an office somewhere with a big red alert flashing on their screen that lets them know a new nudie pic was just posted on someones profile. People are still going to post whatever they want, and it might take a little longer (or not happen at all depending on who these peoples friends are) to have them taken down.

      And to be clear, I have nothing against breastfeeding. I have nothing against breastfeeding in public and I am not freaked out by boobs. I just live in an understanding that not everyone is the same. I feel like if people feel they're being judged by people who find it taboo, then just let them find it taboo. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Go ahead and continue breastfeeding wherever, whenever. If people have a problem with it, well, that's their problem, isn't it?

    3. If Facebook bans pictures of breastfeeding, then they also need to ban all the pictures of young girls showing cleavage. Boobs are obviously bad according to Facebook, so they should apply that policy to everything. Minors shouldn't be posting stuff like that anyway, makes it easier for pedophiles.

  3. Remember Janet Jackson? I never thought I would hear so many old white dudes complaining about seeing a boob.

    1. And that was total bs that she got all the flack for that, because justin timberlake was the one that ripped the thing off to expose her boob in the first place!

    2. Hell, I rewound my Tivo on that Superbowl

  4. Boobs are only okay when they're viewed sexually. Low cut tops, nipples that could cut glass, sure no problem. Put a baby at the end of it and it is the most disgusting and inappropriate thing people have ever seen. I nurse without a coverup and show less skin than teenage girls walking around the mall. I don't hear anyone telling them to cover up either. I'm pretty sick of breastfeeding moms telling other breastfeeding moms to cover up, but that's a completely different story...

  5. I'm a man, and I absolutely hate the double standard in this country regarding boobs. I go to any grocery store, and there's Cosmo right there on the shelf by the checkout lane. More often than not, the covergirl is in lingerie or swimwear; even when in regular clothes, there is ALWAYS cleavage showing. There are also fitness magazines and swimsuit magazines displaying women wearing tight and/or revealing clothes. I go to any convenience store, and I can pick out some porn magazines if I want to.
    But God forbid a woman puts her kid on the breast in public. Suddenly she's vilified. She's unfit because she's breaking the public indecency law.
    WAKE. UP. BREASTS ARE SPECIFICALLY FOR FEEDING BABIES. I love playing with them as much as the next guy, but when I see a woman daring to nurse her baby in public, I give her a nod and a thumbs up. Not only is it her business, not mine, but I've figured out what others seem to miss (or ignore), and that is: if something bothers you, look the other way. You won't see the offending act anymore, and guess what? It's not hurting you!

  6. This was in response to someone with hurt feelings complaining about breastfeeding being shown on Sesame Street. Someone had the audacity to suggest peeing and pooping in public, since they (like breastfeeding) are natural:

    "Pissing, crapping, and breastfeeding are natural, but the first two aren't allowed in public. But why? Hmmm....might it have something to do with the first two being waste functions? Could it possibly be due to the fact that piss and crap aren't sterile? Maybe, breastfeeding even sustains life...
    Where did we get the idea that objectifying women in TV, film, print, etc. is OK, but when a woman tries using her boobs FOR WHAT THEY'RE INTENDED, suddenly she's the Indecent Offender of the Year? News flash: babies need to eat every 2-3 hours, and yes, sometimes Mom needs to leave the house. The baby's needs are probably going to coincide with Mom's errands.
    Why, exactly, shouldn't breastfeeding be on Sesame Street? Because it offends you, personally? Fuck off and don't watch Sesame Street, then. If you have kids and disagree with this, the solution is painfully simple: cover their eyes, or turn off the TV during the breastfeeding portion. It's constantly amazing how often people will complain about something, but still look at it.
    Chances are very good that the show's main demographic are still in the breastfeeding stage, and some may even remember doing it. The kids who watch Sesame Street experienced breastfeeding firsthand, so what's the harm in them seeing it? And who would you rather teach about it--small children who are too young to be disgusted about learning this stuff, or hormonal adolescents who probably aren't taking the class seriously anyway?

    Also, breastfeeding was pulled from Sesame Street in 1990.

    1. That is unbelievable! The logic used in that argument is also, amazing. We're doomed, as a species, if people remain this stupid.
      Thank you so much for reading! And Amen to everything you said here.

    2. Sometimes I think I'm the only guy I know who not only tolerates public feeding, but encourages it. It makes it easier to spot whiny crybabies with delicate sensibilities.
      Also, there's the little detail of it being the mom's prerogative, and none of anyone else's business. How does it hurt them? Most times, there's less breast showing than what you see on any typical teenager walking down the street.