Facebook Reawakens The Lactivist Monster

Originally posted at David Horowitz’s Newsreal:

There are few people easier to offend than the “lactivists”. These are the breastfeeding moms who think that breastfeeding is akin to something holy and sacred, and get outrageously outraged if you mention that formula-feeding is just as good as breastfeeding — and even more so if they aren’t allowed to breastfeed anytime, anywhere they wish. Every so often there will be a story in the news about some hapless manager of a restaurant or a store asking a breastfeeding mom to cover up. The lactivists promptly descend upon said establishment to show their “right” to breastfeed in public and show their boobs to the entire world. The latest target of lactivist rage is Facebook, for daring to limit how much boob can be shown in breastfeeding photos.

The Facebook breastfeeding controversy is nothing new. For three years now, lactivist moms have been complaining that Facebook has been pulling photos of moms breastfeeding their babies. Time Magazine, however, posted an article a week ago fanning the flames, spotlighting a mother who has had her account suspended four times.

In one of the photos that keeps getting Emma Kwasnica’s Facebook account suspended, the Montreal-based mother and breast-feeding activist is tandem nursing, with a newborn at one breast and a two-year-old at the other. Classical art and public health be damned, Facebook has censored countless breast-feeding photos for violating the company’s terms of use, a policy that has inspired more than 250,000 people to join a Facebook group called “Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding Is Not Obscene!” Kwasnica has protested her four account suspensions by e-mailing administrators and keeps doggedly reposting photographs and organizing virtual “nurse-ins” via her Facebook group, Informed Choice: Birth and Beyond.

The Facebook group mentioned above, arguing that breastfeeding isn’t obscene, would like you to believe that the nasty people who run Facebook are just breastfeeding haters who are looking for an opportunity to promote bottle-fed babies over breastfed infants. Hey, what’s a good protest without a little conspiracy thrown in for good measure, right?

Recently, Facebook has started ‘pulling a myspace’ by not allowing people to post profile pictures of babies nursing. The pictures have been reported as ‘obscene’ and have been removed- their posters warned not to repost or fear being kicked off of Facebook.

We’re wondering: what about a baby breastfeeding is obscene? Especially in comparison to MANY other pictures posted all over Facebook that really are obscene.

Facebook, we expect more from you, and we expect you to realize that nursing moms everywhere have a right to show pictures of their babies eating, just like bottle-fed babies have a right to be seen. In an effort to appease the closed-minded, you are only serving to be detrimental to babies, women, and society.

So does Facebook really have a secret anti-breastfeeding agenda? Uh, not so much.

While lactivist moms like to pretend that breastfeeding is so sacred that it means they can violate Facebook’s Terms of Service, that’s not quite the truth. Nor is Facebook hunting down and deleting profiles of mothers with pictures nursing their children. The woman mentioned in the Time article, Emma Kwasnica, currently has a profile photo of her nursing her baby with pretty much her entire breast on display. But hey, just ignore that. This is controversial, dammit. Also ignore that Facebook doesn’t censor the lactivist groups angry about the Facebook breastfeeding controversy. (You might think that if Facebook really had an anti-breastfeeding agenda at play here they would delete the groups, too, but ssshhh — stop thinking so logically! Jeez!)

Reality isn’t quite so controversial. Women can show breastfeeding photos to their heart’s content, displaying as much boobage as they desire — as long as the nipple or the areola is not shown. And so the controversy becomes diluted. Facebook doesn’t give a hoot if you’re showing breastfeeding pictures provided you don’t show too much of the boob. A Facebook spokesman even gushed about how beautiful and natural breastfeeding is.

“We agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and we’re very glad to know that it is so important to some mothers to share this experience with others on Facebook… photos containing a fully exposed breast – as defined by showing the nipple or areola – do violate [the site’s] terms on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material and may be removed… the photos we act upon are almost exclusively brought to our attention by other users who complain.”

This is the same standard applied to pictures of girls in skimpy outfits and bikinis. If Facebook suddenly decided that displaying the entire breast was A-OK for breastfeeding moms, then why can’t women post topless pictures? Far from catering to the closed-minded, it seems clear that Facebook is trying to fairly police their obscenity standards. And their Terms of Service do not allow photos showing a fully exposed breast. Is the real beef here that lactivist moms don’t get special treatment? Gee, how horrible — they’re expected to follow the exact same rules as everyone else while using Facebook. What an outrage!

One might think that there’s no controversy here whatsoever. After all, no one is required to use Facebook. Facebook is a private organization with its own rules and standards, and even if they were deleting every breastfeeding photo on the site, they are absolutely free to do so. Angry lactivist moms would likewise be free to stop frequenting Facebook and perhaps create their own social networking site where moms can show off their fully exposed breasts to their heart’s content.

Of course, you would have to assume you’re dealing with reasonable people willing to consider rational arguments. You would be dead wrong — after all, lactivists have a history of going overboard with overblown protests.

Over a year ago, I wrote about how one lactivist threw a temper tantrum over a Chik-Fil-A manager asking her to cover up while breastfeeding. As I noted at the time,

I have to say, I feel for the manager in this situation and not much for the breast-feeding mom. First of all, a restaurant owner or manager should absolutely be allowed to decide how their business operates. If they don’t want breast-feeding moms in their place of business, then that’s their business. It may cost them customers, sure, but it’s their decision to make. Second, you see these stories all the time. Some establishment doesn’t want a mom to breast-feed in public without covering up, or wants them to use the restroom, and you see scores of breast-feeding moms out there in protest. But do those moms ever stop and think about the other patrons? No, because it’s all about them. They want to breast-feed in public, dammit, and to hell with what anyone else thinks. They’re going to stamp their little feet until they get their way, much like the children they’re breast-feeding would do. It doesn’t matter whether or not other customers are uncomfortable, it doesn’t matter if business operators should be able to run their businesses the way they should be run. Women should be allowed to breast-feed in public whether the public likes it or not. When you really think about it, it’s pretty childish.

The lactivist moms don’t seem to care how other people feel about them whipping out their boobs for everyone to see, do they? While most people have no problem seeing a woman breastfeeding in public, they don’t feel particularly comfortable when you can memorize the exact size, color, and placement of the breastfeeding mom’s nipples. A little discretion is all that’s usually asked for, and that request is met with the outrage of a temper tantrum thrown by a two-year-old. They pretend that breastfeeding is some kind of civil right, when it’s nothing of the sort. No one is trying to stop moms from breastfeeding. They’re just asking that when a mother decides to breastfeed in public that she doesn’t give everyone around her a glimpse of what they can also see in Playboy.

I’m expecting my first child next year. I plan on breastfeeding, and there will probably be times when I have to do it in public. Does that mean I feel the need to force my breasts on everyone else? Nope. Does it mean that I suddenly don’t mind seeing every detail of another woman’s boobs? Not really. Unlike lactivist moms, I don’t think discretion is an outrageous request — heck, I don’t want scores of other people looking at my breasts. I also don’t particularly care to make other people feel uncomfortable, and openly breastfeeding without covering up even a little makes many people feel uncomfortable. Most women don’t look at another women’s boobs and think “SEX”, but it doesn’t mean they want to see them, either. Most men don’t mind seeing a woman’s breasts, but when it’s a breastfeeding mom they’re uncomfortable as well — after all, if they so much as glance in her direction for a fraction of a second too long, then they get called a pervert and a creep.

But hey, who cares about how other people feel about it?? Breastfeeding is natural. So women shouldn’t have to show discretion when breastfeeding, right? Well, urinating and defecating are natural, too. But we don’t encourage people to do either of those things in public, do we? A lot of things are natural, but that doesn’t make them suddenly sacred.

Earlier this year, Lori Ziganto wrote about a new Obamacare provision for working mothers to get their very own special breastfeeding rooms at work. Unrelated to the Facebook controversy? Maybe, but it’s an example of how government can step in and force private businesses to cave to outrageous demands from lactivist mommies wanting special treatment.

How far do the Facebook lactivists want to go to get their way?

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