Newsweek. The Syrians are slaughtering each other, Berlusconi was let off for bribing a British lawyer and Facebook is slammed by the Guardian for not allowing women to get their tits out.
I plan to have a not so little rant about this over two posts. This is #1.
When Facebook policies were leaked this week, it was revealed that they had taken down someone’s breastfeeding photo due to an escaping nipple. Apparently this complied with said policy as any “breastfeeding photos showing other nudity, or nipple clearly exposed” will be removed. The Guardian were quick to request any breastfeeding mummies to quickly upload their boobies to Facebook in a quest to see how many pics would be removed.
The Facebook group, “Hey! Breastfeeding is not Obscene” was created in the quake of the policy leak resulting in Facebook this week removing 257, 000 supporters from its site, permanently. Scandalous!
Photos of women breastfeeding, with or without nipple, are not allowed. Photos of women dressed in scantily clad blouses showing a humongous cleavage, are allowed. Photos of women showing their surgically enhanced knockers in tiny bikinis are allowed. Photos of people snogging the faces off each other, tongue sandwich stylie, are allowed. Photos of mens nipples are allowed. There is nothing sexually provocative about a lactating boob. We breastfeeding women are not sitting in public places gently and lovingly caressing ourselves for the world to see, we are simply feeding our young.
In August 2008: One hundred women packed an H&M store in Vancouver in support of a local mother who had been asked to breastfeed inside a changing room. Degrading!
In December 2011: Local women in Brighton protested in support of a breastfeeding mother being asked to cover up with a towel whilst breastfeeding her child in a high street cafe, “sure, I’ll just get my towel out of my handbag because I always carry one with me just in case this happens!”
In February 2012: I was asked if I wanted somewhere more discreet to breastfeed my daughter whilst at an appointment in a local private hospital. I was sat in the corridor outside my Doctors office at the time. I say I was “asked”, what I mean is gently persuaded by beady eyes perched over spectacles nodding toward a room at the end of the corridor. I refused and told the old interfering biddy “thanks, but I’m fine where I am, I’m used to this”. My husband pointed out that it was odd of her to have considered asking given we were in a pediatric ward where mothers must get their milk machines out all the time.
It’s a sensitive debate, the whole breastfeeding thing. Some mothers want to, some mothers don’t and some mothers can’t. Yet, from that very first midwife meeting, expectant mothers are provided with every pamphlet on offer to push forward reasons why breast is best. It’s not surprising given that according to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report 2011, 136.7 million babies are born worldwide and only 32.6 % of them are breastfed exclusively in the first six months. I understand the cause. I appreciate the cause. However, I think the choice is extremely personal and women should not be judged whatever way they sway.
The first time I met my Italian sister-in-law, I was introduced to her mammary glands via several photos of her breastfeeding her daughter. I had never been exposed to such boob friendly openness before. She flicked the page and their it was, a massive brown nipple – I didn’t know where to put my face. Italian women embrace the boob, they thrive on the goodness for the child. Every time my daughter breathed louder than a normal breath, my mother-in-law would nudge me and say “ehhh, she’s hungry, feed her” – Noooo, she’s just breathing!
The theory of breastfeeding and weight loss is a myth – I’ve piled it on. The theory of Breastfeeding preventing allergies is a myth – my cherub has an allergy to cows milk protein. Yes, she could have lactose free formula but it stinks!! It tastes like gone off eggs. I wouldn’t drink it so I won’t give it to her. I give her breast milk so would I drink that, you may ask? Of course I would, as did my husband at Stansted airport when asked to “verify” the breast milk by a female customs officer. He thought it was hysterical that the lady chose him instead of me to test it (she had obviously been through a bitter divorce and was now seeking to humiliate anyone with a penis, was my husbands opinion). He didn’t want to satisfy her mean streak so duly had a teeny weeny suck on the teat, stuck his tongue out to show the milk and swallowed.
If it wasn’t for the allergy situation, I would have stopped breastfeeding months ago. I know its good for my child and I have enjoyed every emotionally connecting moment of it; the way she looks up at me, the way she headbutts me in the chest as if to say ‘ma, I’m ready now’.
I have not been ashamed of my bresticles at all. I get them out freely. However, getting them out isn’t really “getting them out” – the majority of mothers don’t go around swinging their hooters or squirting milk at the nearest passer-by and although tempting, I have never, ever, seen a fellow milk maid inflicting one of these hats on their child. Most women want to blend in and get the job done.
Most mothers are so discreet you wouldn’t even notice the boob if it wasnt for the necessary positioning of the baby. Most mothers use garments to cover up too – that which I now call the Michael Jackson effect. I started with a well-known branded apron affair but I spent so much time faffing with it that my daughter wasn’t feeding properly. I then tucked a muslin cloth into my bra strap and dangled that over her the offending area (pun intended). Eventually, as she got older and more fidgety, this didn’t work. I gave up trying. I just couldn’t bear to cover my little one’s face whilst she was having her milk – I don’t think I’d find it too amusing if I was tucking into a steak with a sheet over my head!
So, yes, breastfeeding is a wonderful thing – for me. Its emotional, its personal, its me&her time, its lovely. Its my choice. It is also my choice not to upload photos of my daughter breastfeeding to Facebook or any other social media forum. I’m not against mothers who do and I applaud their willingness to support the cause.
I do agree however that this week, Facebook have made a right tit of themselves!