Did you know that in 45 states there are laws that protect a womans’ right to breastfeed in any public location? In 28 states, a woman who is breastfeeding is protected from public indecency laws. In 12 states, you can even be exempt from jury duty if you’re a breastfeeding mother (can I get an Amen?!). However, you can’t post a picture of yourself breastfeeding on Facebook. Uhhh… what the what?
I’ve breastfed in 4 different countries. My oldest was born in Japan. Once you have a child born in Japan, there is no question of whether you will bottle-feed or breastfeed. You breastfeed. If a woman is breastfeeding in public, it’s encouraged. In Spain and Portugal, it’s also encouraged to breastfeed where you please. No one bats an eye. America? The land of the free? We have to have laws to protect our right to feed our child in public and can’t post photos of ourselves on Facebook doing what we are legally allowed to do. Give me a break.
Breastfeeding in public, once you get the swing of things, is a cinch. Not only is it easy, but you can’t see anything.
Here I am with my BFF (breastfeeding friend forever, y’all) in the Mall of America nursing our daughters in February 2011. Does this photo offend you?
I know what some of you may be thinking; why should a mother even post a photo of herself breastfeeding on Facebook? Breastfeeding isn’t an action: it’s a way of life. It’s how I feed my child. I also have an older child and travel a lot. If I had to find a quiet place every single time I had to nurse my child, being in a public place for very long would just be out of the question. Public restrooms? Absolutely gross. Do you eat in a public restroom? Why should my baby? I can’t even go into most public restrooms without plugging my nose. So breastfeeding happens anywhere I am, at anytime; it doesn’t stop me. I’ve breastfed while hiking in Arkansas, while picnicking at a Japanese temple, in line at DisneyLand in California. I’ve breastfed while watching Shamu at Sea World, shopping at Target, checking out at the grocery store, while sipping a cafe con leche at a cafe in Spain. I’ve breastfed beneath the St. Louis Arch, while overlooking the grottos in Portugal and even at Arlington National Cemetery while listening to Barack Obama make a speech on Veterans Day. As an obsessive picture-taker and life-documentor I have pictures of me breastfeeding my babies at pretty much every single one of these places. It should be my choice whether or not I share that part of my life, online, for my friends to see.
Why are Facebooks’ policies anti-breastfeeding? They aren’t anti-breast. Exactly the opposite, actually. Playboys’ Facebook fan page, at the time of writing this post, has almost 6 million fans. 6 million. Hooters has over 1.7 million Facebook fans. There’s even a Facebook fan page for “Boobies” that has 162, 571 fans. So it’s not the breast that bothers Facebook. Not at all. It’s the baby on the breast.
Here’s a good example:
The mother in the photo above (which is beautifully and tastefully done) recently got her Facebook account deactivated due to this breastfeeding photo. See the ad right next to her “offensive” photo?
So, if you’re using your breasts for sexual purposes or ‘for entertainment only’, Facebook will support you on that. But, if you post a photo of yourself feeding your child with your breast, fuhget about it!
Facebook, give us breastfeeding mothers a break. Remove this double standard and change your policies to be breastfeeding-friendly and more supportive of breastfeeding mothers!