Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Facebook Hates the Purposeful Boob?

Yesterday, I started to get more notices that yet another Facebook breastfeeding page had been deleted due to obscenity. This was more than an attack on art. It was an attack on a place where mothers gathered to get and give advice on breastfeeding--an important thing as women are seemingly more and more isolated from breastfeeding support communities. There were pictures. Of women nursing. I guess that was the obscene part. I have already blogged on this issue here but I felt like I needed to say something again because it's not happenstance that this is happening only to breastfeeding pages and pictures. Someone out there (Mark is it you?) hates seeing breastfeeding.

I personally, it was hard but I did it for the sake of my blog, searched for the word "boob" on Facebook. There was NOT ONE breastfeeding page in about three pages of results. Instead of finding "offensive" pictures of women nursing their babies and toddlers, I found pictures of women with HUGE breasts and kittens peeking out (no joke). I found sites with names like "Big Boobs On Fat Girls Don't Count." Nah that's not offensive. Not at all. There were not even art pictures of breasts. Instead it was just porn. Again. And Again. 

Now I am not a prude. I have no issue with breasts being displayed. I am not a big fan of female oppression and do think that some porn participates in and contributes to this oppression. But for the most part what I found was just R rated pictures for teen age boys. Still this stays up but a page that offers support to women breastfeeding gets pulled down? Wha? It's okay to support teen boy hormonal issues but not okay to support a woman nourishing her child? 

What is about our society that gets people's panties wadded up over some breast feeding? Is it because we are unable to separate women from their sexual image? Do boobs always equal sex for the general public? Is it because we are women? I find myself puzzling over these questions almost daily. I am unable to comprehend why boobs have become this battlefield. And it's more than just the issue of seeing a woman nurse. It has become a war about the woman who does breastfeed--an attack on her pictures, her personality, her attitude. I hear about how those of us who nurse are shrill, banshees who forces our boobs on every passer-by. We also shun and attack women who do not breast feed. We are out of control. Unreasonable. Sound familiar?

ETA: When I woke up this morning, I discovered that Facebook deleted a page called "The Leaky Boob." They had already deleted the page once in what they claimed was an error and reinstated it (yay!). But now they've deleted again. Very bogus and very sad. If you're on Facebook please "Like" this page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Back-the-Leaky-Boob-again/140902059300453?v=info. The Leaky Boob is a place where women can post questions and get support while breastfeeding. It is an example of the best that Facebook has to offer.


Jennifer Welborn said...

When I worked at a certain historic site (whose name I will not disclose) I was confronted with this issue in what I considered a very rude way. While I was giving a house tour a newborn infant started to wail, her mother sat discreetly down in the corner and covering her breasts with a blanket, she began to nurse her child. I noticed, but I didn't think anything of it. Baby's gotta eat, right?

Then another woman on the tour noticed. She was a 30 something yuppie with a 8 or 9 year old son. She pulled her son close to her and said quite loudly, "That woman is showing the whole world her breasts! Well! Well! Aren't you going to DO something about it?"

So I stood there for a moment and then I said, "Yes. This house is 200 years old. 200 years ago women did not feed their children with bottles. Instead, mothers either breastfed their newborns themselves or they would hire wetnurses to do it for them. I believe this is a wonderful educational opportunity. Today many doctors argue that a newborn's best source of nutrition is its own mother's milk. 200 years ago it was quite common to see infants being breastfed in public."

She got really, really mad at me. The breastfeeding mother thanked me for my understanding. The other woman blessed me out and proceeded to demand that my boss fire me on the spot.

Fortunately, my boss was a woman and she had breastfed her first child. I didn't lose my job. I still don't understand the one woman's vehemence at the breastfeeding mother. I don't know what she found so threatening.

Ginger As in Green Tea... said...

Thanks Jennifer. Every person who speaks out helps the attitude. I have no idea what people's problems are with breastfeeding. The sight of a breast sends them into shock waves.

GinaG said...

This really gets to me.
You need to hear this Anthropologist who speaks on this topic. Her name escapes me right now. she talks about how this is unique to our culture.
and on a positive note...during world breastfeeding week, my FB profile pic was jason nursing but it wasn't obvious.
Glad your writing on this topic.
We must challenge our cultural status quo to stop this discriminating practice.

GinaG said...

I also think its women who didn't breastfeed their own children who are offended. It is a form of guilt in my opinion.