Thursday, January 1, 2009

Facebook, nipples and puritans

I love Facebook. I am addicted to it. I have connected with old friends, kept in touch with current friends and made new friends. My profile tells me I have 518 friends on Facebook.

The downside is that facebook, like most other wonders of the internet, is American-based and the America was settled by puritans several hundred years ago and sadly, they still have loud voices.

The latest fiasco in the world of lactavism is Facebook removing photos, and in some cases banning members, because photos in their albums are obscene. Now, I abhor pornography as much as the next person, however it is drawing a very long bow to suggest that photos of a mother and baby breastfeeding are in that league.

Not all photos of breastfeeding are being taken down. Just those deemed to breach the rule about bare breasts: ie you can see nipple and/or areola. Or where the child is "too old" or where siblings are sharing feed time. Or that someone just doesn't like :( Many of the removed images can be viewed freely at this site and you will agree most are just snapshots of daily life in a household where babies are breastfed 8 times or more a day for the two years or longer recommended by the World Health Organization!

Male nipples are fine, at any point from cradle to grave and female ones unremarkable until puberty. After that, any sight is associated by some as being sexual, even when in the unremarkable act of feeding a human child. Mammary glands, some call them: mammary as in mammal, as in feeds its young its own milk. mmm .....

So action is being taken all over the globe to protect breastfeeding once again. Ironically, some of the images being removed include promotional educational materials produced by government and other health authorities to normalise breastfeeding! While breastfeeding in public is now recognised widely as being a mother/baby's right, secured in law, a photo taken in a public place may be deemed unsuitable for inclusion on a public web site!

Those puritans have a lot to answer for. They left England because they felt persecuted for their beliefs and it seems they have wreaked revenge ever since. While bans on dancing, playing music and other forms of art have long gone, puritanical views on the human body linger. Witches are no longer trailled by the ducking stool in thelocal pond, yet mothers are harangued for going about one of natures most fundamental acts.

Beam me up, Scotty!

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