Friday, 9 March 2012

Gagged, Bound, Shunned, Shamed, Punished!

Well, more than twenty-four hours have passed, and I still do not seem to be able to post or properly communicate with any of my Facebook community.
Facebook is "punishing" me, for sharing a breastfeeding image - the image, above; they have not told me for how long this will continue.
This is how Facebook treats those who seek to share important information, who seek to share the beauty of breastfeeding, and those who are keen to show the normality of breastfeeding; they gag them, by removing their ability to speak within their community, attempt to bind them, both with the gag, and according to their arbitrary censorship - a censorship that appears to work beyond the bounds of even their own rules, to shun them by placing them outside of their own ability to communicate and by informing them of their errant, offensive, and obscene action, with regard to their sharing of a breastfeeding image.
The punishment is a shaming - a message that images of breastfeeding are not acceptable, are placed within the same category as sexually explicit images, violent images. and set out along with racial hatred and the sort of thing that one would not want children to see - in fact, Facebook thinks that breastfeeding is so obscene and disgusting that they are acting to "protect" children by hiding it from view.
Now, see, my child sees breastfeeding every day, she breastfeeds every day, so do many of her friends...and, most of the adults that I know consider this normal and healthy. Breasts are neither disgusting, nor obscene - and, breasts are not a sexual - no, they are there for lactation purposes.

Facebook has done me one favour, though, and that is to give me time to think more deeply about this image in particular, albeit one of many that I have shared over the years of breastfeeding.
This woman can educate us in many ways - most obviously in terms of her visible pride and confidence in nurturing her child, but also we learn about the manner of body-painting that is executed in a way that accomodates breastfeeding, and about the particular nipple shape she possesses (because we are all so different, and it helps to normalise this), and even the way that she holds her child, while feeding him. She does not seek approval from the viewer, and she is not entirely engrossed in feeding her child - one is intrigued to look beyond the bounds of the captured photograph. Her child is healthy, precious, beautiful, unhindered; I wish that we could all say this about every nursing dyad living in a western society!

As to what I do on Facebook, well, I do what many other hardworking mothers do - nothing extraordinary, but together we make a difference (you know who you are!).
We are all terribly short of time, but, when I get a spare moment in the bathroom, or sit down with a cup of tea while my daughter is otherwise occupied, I check out Facebook and the breastfeeding support pages, and add a few words here and there, or comment on a post, reassure someone who is feeling exhausted and in need. Now, of course, I cannot do that.
And, if I need a word or two of encouragement or camaraderie, neither will I get this - Facebook deems me obscene, offensive, and not suitable for its network.

Except, Facebook, I am not going to just lay down and die.....I am gonna fight this stinking misogyny, this harassment, this vile idiocy and cringeworthy bullying of yours! You have not seen the last of me, or my friends and supporters! Because they are there, in their hundreds, after only a few hours, liking my picture, commenting on its beauty!
And, to all of those who support me, I thank you, because by supporting me, you are supporting every breastfeeding mother, every woman who has been subject to harassment, discrimination and hatred, because this is what this is.

And, I say this now - we will not be silenced. WE WILL NOT!!


  1. Fight the good fight! I was here right before you, for the same picture!

  2. I'm with you.
    Beautiful, appropriate photograph- and interesting. -Jessica

  3. I'm so filled with different emotions at the moment. I googled "Mary breastfeeding Jesus" and got lots of images, one of which led me here ( See, I'm looking for a representation of "He is our peace." And being a former breastfeeding mom, LLL Leader and IBCLC, I thought of breastfeeding and that beautiful, peace-filled time. Now I'm so astounded that FB would ban this or other bfdg images. I'm going to spread the word, girlfriend, and we all need to make an uproar about this. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I'm with ya, kid!