Facebook has made some serious gaffes as it has grown from vanity site to the behemoth it is today, and one of the largest has been its long-standing unofficial stance on photos of breastfeeding women.
According to Jezebel, women have had their photos blocked – and sometimes have even been banned from Facebook – for posting breastfeeding shots since as far back as 2007. Deeming the photos “obscene content” because they showed bare breasts, Facebook revealed itself to be as squeamish as a teenage boy when it comes to seeing boobs do what boobs were made to do.
The Verge reports that Facebook finally made an official change to its policy, affirming that breastfeeding is “natural and beautiful” and that mothers have the right to share those photos. When a Facebook spokesperson talked with The Verge, however, he added the caveat that photos that are sexualized or explicit will still be taken down. That just makes me think ew. Who is posting sexualized photos of breastfeeding on Facebook??
Ultimately the problem is one that goes beyond Facebook and into society as a whole. Sexualized breasts are everywhere in the United States. Combine that with a movement in the middle of the last century toward using baby formula instead of breast milk (taking breastfeeding women almost totally out of the picture) and it’s not terribly surprising that people put a sexualized filter over what is a completely non-sexual act.
So, Facebook, as much as I like to hate on you, I have to admit that between this move and the addition of genderqueer options earlier this year, you’ve been pushing things in the right direction. Considering the fact that 71% of American adults use Facebook now, I can’t help hoping that progressive moves like this ripple out into the more conservative corners of the country.
Image from Thinkstock
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