Seeing breastfeeding is important, as is being able to share those images without fear of scorn or deletion. Facebook has finally updated their policy regarding breastfeeding images. They now match most state laws that specifically allow nipple exposure during breastfeeding. Exposure during breastfeeding doesn’t constitute indecent exposure. Why is this important? Basically, Facebook is slowly but surely realizing that women, or at least breastfeeding mothers at this time, are allowed to live in their own skin and share images of themselves topless (and breastfeeding) without being deleted for nudity.
My breastfeeding photo was shared by Soraya Chemaly on The Huffington Post yesterday when she announced the policy change.
I was also quoted in Monica Beyer’s article on She Knows about Facebook’s censorship of the Badass Breastfeeder after this new change was in effect.
It’s time to test Facebook’s new breastfeeding policy. Here’s my message to Facebook.
Facebook: You say you allow breastfeeding mothers to share their photos without cropping out their nipples?
We are proud to nourish our babies with our breasts and we will not be shamed for it. We will share our special/difficult/funny/priceless breastfeeding moments with our friends, families, and community and we will not to told to keep them to ourselves. Enough with the shaming of women. We are mothers and we are strong. We are equal.
I’m going to post this photo today with these words and see how long it’s allowed to stay up. Meanwhile, men all over Facebook are allowed to post topless photos of themselves with no baby clause. Anyone who wants to be rude about my body is welcome to read this poignant Guardian article about the problem with attacking breastfeeding mothers online.
Although I am certain more mothers will be flagged and photos will be deleted over the coming months, I feel liberated to have this barrier lifted on breastfeeding moms after years of tireless work by so many people. I am happy to help the cause in my own way. #freethenipple
How do you feel about this policy change on Facebook? Will you share your own breastfeeding photos without shame?
Join the conversation on Facebook or comment below!
**Update 6/10/2014 9:33PM**
A reader shared this screen shot with me. If you read it, it says that my photo was reported for containing nudity or pornography but it was reviewed and found that it does not violate community standards. Facebook’s new policy is working! At least for my photo. What a wonderful step for breastfeeding mothers and all women! I have already heard of other ladies who have had their photos, far less revealing than mine, being removed today. I hope they are able to appeal their removals because when one mother is shamed, we all are.
Photo credit: Amber Scott. View on Facebook.
As for my personal thoughts on the public’s reaction to my photo, I am amazed by the power of social media. In a mere 6 hours my photo has reached nearly 300k people. It has been liked 5,847 times, shared 1,747 times, and I’d like to think at least half of the 1,739 comments on my photo are supportive. And hey, even if they are not, I know that without a doubt that I am helping women all over the world. I have received so many positive messages in my inbox today from mothers, each telling me how I’ve helped them. And it’s not just today. I didn’t just show up on the scene this morning and throw this photo out there, no. I’ve been blogging about breastfeeding news, Facebook censorship, and NIP (nursing in public) harassment incidents and my journey through motherhood here on this page for two and a half years. I’ve worked hard to create positive breastfeeding posters to encourage breastfeeding mothers. I have helped organize nurse-ins with other major breastfeeding activists and have assisted mothers after they’ve been harassed for breastfeeding in public find out who to speak to. I have enjoyed sharing my breastfeeding photos, helping normalize breastfeeding for the new generation of mothers, and reminding those that are no longer nursing how sweet their time was with their young children. I know that my children are proud to see their photos in magazines as well. I have saved copies of each publication for them so they can have them when they are older and starting their own families.
Each little thing I do helps give other mothers the confidence to nurse in public, to stand up against a family member that isn’t being supportive, to breastfeed through a pregnancy and tandem feed, to keep going through a rough patch. At the very least, seeing my breastfeeding photos shows everyone that there are women out there breastfeeding, that it is normal and they can do it too.
We don’t see breastfeeding mothers out and about nursing their children often enough and when we do, sometimes we’re shy and can’t bring ourselves to say hello or give a thumbs up. But just know if I ever see you in person, I am thinking awesome things about you.
Breastfeed with pride, mamas!
**2nd Update 6.10.2014 11:07pm**
My photo seems to have gone away without warning sometime right before 11pm tonight. This is what I see this now:
Let’s see what I can do about this. Until I get that deleted photo back up, if it’s even possible, I will just reshare the photo again. I have not received any messages from Facebook warning me it was going to be taken down, it just disappeared.
This was my last screen shot of the activity on the photo just past 10PM:
[Screen shot shared on Facebook 10:25am 6.11.2014]
Look how many people supported and shared this photo. It was really wonderful.
Now that it was taken down, I am not sure how to go about getting a hold of anyone. Clicking around, I found a section to submit a question. So I just typed this question up and it doesn’t look like anyone is actually going to see it on Facebook:
So then I tried another option. I reported a problem. But then when I was done it said it wasn’t going to be reviewed. This was my message, as seen in the Support Dashboard:
**3rd Update 6.11.2014 @ 9:31am**
When I woke up this morning, I was logged out of Facebook on my phone and computer. This never happens. Actually, it only happens when FB wants me to log back in and immediately tell me bad news. So I logged back in and sure enough, FB told me a photo on my Paa.la page was reported for nudity and doesn’t meet community guidelines. They showed the photo of it to me – It was a photo of my daughter holding my infant son, but only his little boy nipples could be seen so I don’t know why it was taken down. I thought boy nipples were okay but I guess FB is cracking down on adorable photos of babies. Anyway, these are my screen shots:
Oh wait, I guess you can see my daughter’s nipple. Maybe that was it. Anyway, the point is, I was not given warnings like this for my breastfeeding photos. After seeing these messages, I went on to my Paa.la page to check things out. I saw that my breastfeeding repost from late last night was taken down without warning/notice and the original post is still gone.
I am in the middle of trying to figure out why Facebook has removed my breastfeeding image twice now in the last 24 hours without warning, when screen shots last night confirmed that it wasn’t taken down for nudity. They gave me a proper explanation for another photo that was taken down but nothing for my breastfeeding photos. I find this unfair. The people who have been coming on to my page to condemn me think they’ve won. Some distasteful woman proudly exclaimed something about me being a trashy cunt, and her being glad she got my photo down. Was it her? I don’t know. Was it a glitch twice? Unlikely. These people who cannot accept our human bodies, babies breastfeeding on their mother’s chests, think they have won, that Facebook sided with them. I will not stand for it.
**4th Update 6.11.2014 @ 11:11am**
I am hearing from a couple of sources that my photo that was taken down twice might have just been done by bots, not people. We’ll see what I hear next, if I can get these photos back. I have now joined twitter so feel free to follow me on there as I work through this. https://twitter.com/paalasecor
My first tweet:
**5th Update 6.11.2014 @ 1:45pm**
I’m being told FB is working on the “errors” that keep taking down my photos. Until they’re back up, I’m reposting. Here’s a new photo so the photo bots don’t take it down so quickly.
[Facebook | Twitter]
***5th Update 6.12.2014 12:01am**
My Facebook page was just unpublished a few minutes ago for containing nudity, though I’m not sure what they’re considering nudity. My personal breastfeeding photos met the guidelines. Perhaps it was a breastfeeding photo in the comments under one of my many posts lately that other ladies posted that got my page flagged. I just don’t know.
Anyway, here was the screen shot of what I just saw.
We’ll see what happens with my appeal. Do you see that last little line about being deleted permanently if my appeal is denied?!
**6th Update 6.12.2014 @ 6:29am**
So! Quick recap. My page was unpublished last night at 12am, and I was threatened with complete page deletion. I was pissed. I went to bed at 2am, still pissed. By 4am, I noticed it was back up when I woke up for a feed. Yay! By 6am, I noticed an apology in my inbox – see screen shot – and thought, “Great! Maybe I’ll stop being harassed and having my shit taken down and being attacked by trolls now.”
But then when I hopped on the computer to share the news, FB had me log in again (which only happens when they have bad news for me) to tell me my 3rd repost of my original breastfeeding photo above is considered nudity.
But wasn’t it just 24 hours ago that it was deemed okay? And they apologized today for taking it down? And they just put back up, just as it was – See online here. And my 2nd repost was reinstated as well. Just not my third. Follow your own rules, Facebook. #FreeTheNipple
[Facebook's apology for removing breastfeeding photo.]
My original post was reinstated. Screen shot:
My thoughts on all this fuss and back and forth?
I don’t even know what to say about all of it. It’s very stressful to think years of hard work is going to be deleted all of a sudden because Facebook can’t get everyone to follow their own policy change and are letting bullies win. But now that it’s back, I’m feeling much better. Is it the last take down, no, because my 3rd repost of it was just taken down this morning. But my 1st and 2nd shares of it are reinstated with an apology. It’s almost comical.
**6th Update 6.13.2014 @8:29am**
I was loggged out of Facebook again this morning so I knew something was going to be flagged for removal again. This is what I was shown: A photo of myself and my sleeping children had been reported and removed for nudity. Really. REALLY. What if these had be boys instead of girls?
Okay, fine I thought. I’ll give you this one, Facebook. You can take down my children, even though this isn’t nudity or in any way obscene. You’re an asshole but sure. Whatever. Then I clicked continue and saw this:
So this warning came up yesterday. I reviewed all the photos on my timeline and selected two of my children where you could see some skin (but they were not nudity in my opinion, no nipples or anything) and removed them myself. Then Facebook let me go about my business without any problems. However, this morning they prompted me to review and delete more photos. I saw nothing to delete so I clicked continue. Then I saw this:
Great. Grand. Wonderful. Then I was allowed to continue on to my account. I tried to like a friend’s posting of their daughter having fun at a farm and saw this:
So that’s it for my update really. I’m blocked from liking or commenting on anything for a day. Why? What was in my timeline that was nudity? Everyone had clothes on. There was a carton of eggs where you could see the eggs. Did someone think those were breasts?? I’ve see that happen before – people getting banned for eggs. It’s madness. Who knows. I’m pretty upset about it though. I cannot manage my own personal page or Paa.la page because trolls were hunting around and reporting things, whatever they feel like. It’s BS.
So I sent them a message telling them they blocked me in error. We’ll see if they fix their block.
**Update 6.18.2014 10:07am**
My block above went away after 24 hours. But now, Wednesday morning, I received a notice that my page was unpublished. There was warning or explanation to accompany it. See my screen shot – the top note is all I can see. There were no other notes or comments from Facebook about it. Facebook still has some work to do.
What can I do about it? I sent a “feedback about pages” message to FB about it using their form. See screen shot.
It says they do not respond to every report. Great. Then I received this note after pressing submit. It says I should receive an email.
Okay, an email would be nice. Then when I tried to share the news on my FB vs Breastfeeding Alliance page and tag Paa.la, I received this pop up from Facebook.
So, that’s where I am right now. My page isn’t viewable by anyone except for me and the trolls think they’ve won. Again.
**Update 6.18.2014 11:24am**
I logged into my second Facebook account to see if I’d received any notices on that account and yes, I did. This is what I saw when I logged in – a note saying my photo (on my personal account) was reported but left up because it doesn’t violate standards.
This was the photo:
This photo was featured in international parenting magazines. I should hope Facebook agrees that it doesn’t violate community standards.
And a second notice that my page was reported and to remove content. Nothing about what the offensive content was though.
Then it took to my page where it still said “unpublished” at the top.
I heard from a reader this morning, Brandy from Latch the Babes, who reported my photo to see if Facebook would stick by their new policy a while back. She said she was notified a while back that it wasn’t nudity and Facebook was leaving it up. Well, this morning she got a notice from Facebook saying they reviewed my photo a 2nd time and they’ve taken it down. She sent me photos of what she saw this morning:
She clicked on the notification from Facebook and saw this:
So my photo was removed for nudity even though it is acceptable and meets the community standards. What about all of those other notices up there next to mine? Brandy said she reported many other photos for over the top blood and gore and they were all left up. Mine, a photo of a breastfeeding mother and child, bonding skin to skin, removed.
This is not right.
**Update 6.18.2014 @ 3:10pm**
My page is back up. I received an email and Facebook notice saying they reviewed my appeal and decided to reinstate me. That’s good news.
These are the messages I saw:
And Brandy sent me a screen shot of what she saw after I came back up, that my photo was restored.
Will this be the last time I have to deal with defending myself against trolls trying to take me down? Unlikely. But I will keep coming back. Mothers will not be bullied. We are allowed to share our moments without shame. I will keep on fighting to keep my page up, to share what I feel is important, to be a part of the global community, to help mothers across the world.
**Update 6.20.2014 @ 10:30PM**
My page was unpublished about 16 hours ago and brought back up after I submitted an appeal. Tonight, a bit over an hour ago, it was taken down again without warning or reason. I’m waiting for it to come back up.
**Update 6.25.2014 @ 11:45PM**
My Facebook page was blacked out, unpublished for 5 whole days. I received this notice in my email and my page was published again, allowed to be public. No other explanations were given. No apology. Nothing.
[My latest email from Facebook, my page was published again after a 5 day banishment.]
I feel like I should have written a blog post while I was feeling all mad and lonely, kicked out of Facebook without my support, my friends. I was sick though, still am actually, and have hardly cracked open my laptop for 5 days. I got a really sudden, severe case of vertigo that is just now easing up. Has anyone else gotten that postpartum? Or did I just do something funny to mess up my ears or something.
All I know is that I’ve been stuck in bed most days and have not been able to share, laugh, and cry with you and I’ve felt lonely. It’s not right. There is only so much my hubby can listen to during his few awake hours before going to work all day or sleeping and I have no parents to vent to either. I am an orphan. And Facebook took away my online community. You can’t call your mama friends at 2am during a night nursing session to just talk. That’s what this page is for.
Anyway, my babies are all sleeping now and I’m happy to be back.
Want to share your story?
Use the hashtag #facebookSHU if you’ve been blacked out, blocked, deleted, unpublished, or otherwise isolated from your online community for being a woman.
My offense? None. All I did was follow Facebook’s new policy – allowing nipple exposure during breastfeeding. It brought trolls on here that started flagging and reporting everything in sight to try to take me down.
Stop siding with bullies, Facebook. Women will not be censored for merely having female nipples. For feeding our babies. We are equal. Men can be bare chested in public and online without being sexualized. So can we. Women should be “allowed” to bond skin to skin with their babies without being told they’re “looking for attention.” Without censorship.
Most of the media around the world is sharing the news of this Facebook policy update. That’s great, right? It appears most of the articles are taking phrases from this post without asking. I guess that’s fine. Sara Nelson of HuffPo UK did ask though. She shared this story right after HuffPo did with my thoughts and photo.
More of my related Facebook censorship, breastfeeding, and top freedom posts:
And here a few good old breastfeeding photos to share. Look how normal breastfeeding used to be, how no one batted an eye and our human skin wasn’t treated with such disdain.
Photos sourced from: http://gvborisov.ucoz.ru/