Facebook Bullies Ban Breast-feeding; Breast-feeders Blameless?

Facebook (motto: “nothing is too boring for Facebook”) has banned photos of breast-feeding. Facebook claims the photos are “obscene” and threaten the safety of “children” who go to the site. Yeah, we all know how traumatizing it is for kids to learn that tits are for anything other than sex.

As a private company with Terms of Use, Facebook can do whatever it wants. It can even pretend it doesn’t know that “obscene” is a legal term, not applicable in this context. And like senators, priests, and Morality in Media, Facebook can lie and claim that pictures of children nursing are dangerous for children to see.

After removing the meal-time photos for a year (see banned photos here), Facebook has recently ramped up its nipple vigilance, threatening to close mothers’ accounts if they re-post the horrifyingly nutritious globes.

In response, some 97,000 milk-juggers have formed Mothers International Lactation Campaign (MILC), with a Facebook group called “Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!”

These women and their non-lactating allies are justifiably upset—but for the wrong reason.

They say ‘Facebook should go after real obscenity.’ They say the real problem is photos of see-through bikinis and couples groping each others’ butts. They say Janet Jackson is the problem, and wholesome pics of breasts are the solution. They resent being lumped in with ‘pornographers.’

This false consciousness is what keeps America stuck in perpetual Ozzie & Harriet land. What’s actually bad for kids—and adults—is the idea that sexual imagery is bad for kids.

The idea that ANY sexuality is expendable makes all of us vulnerable to having OUR sexuality declared expendable. Your right to watch South Park ultimately depends on someone else’s right to go to a strip club. Your right to breast-feed in public ultimately depends on someone else’s right to buy a vibrator. MILC may be willing to sacrifice “real” obscenity like CSI or swing clubs to keep its own photos acceptable, but this short-sighted strategy has never worked.

The 100,000 women outraged about the censorship of breastfeeding should be equally outraged by a state legislature outlawing lap-dancing, a Congress requiring filters on library computers used by adults, by Delta Airlines disabling access to internet material it deems “offensive.”

THAT’S how you protect the right to breastfeed in public, and to post photos thereof on Facebook. Saving one’s butt (or boobs) by telling authorities “The bad sexuality you’re looking to restrict isn’t mine, it’s his or hers over there” may work today, but not tomorrow.

The time to protect YOUR sexual expression is when SOMEONE ELSE’S is being threatened.


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