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Facebook Nudity Policy Draws Nursing Moms' Ire 904

HSRD writes "Web-savvy moms who breast-feed are irate that social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace restrict photos of nursing babies. The disputes reveal how the sites' community policing techniques sometimes struggle to keep up with the booming number and diversity of their members."
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Facebook Nudity Policy Draws Nursing Moms' Ire

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  • Why is this news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eggman9713 ( 714915 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:23PM (#26293319)
    As a private enterprise, they have the right to restrict what they want. And they figure that more people that visit their site than not would not like looking at it. And if they are after traffic numbers for ad providers, they will do whatever gets them the most views. Capitalism at work. And furthermore, I have noticed that a lot of breastfeeding moms just tend to be REALLY sitting on a cactus all the time when it comes to breastfeeding in public, general attitudes about breastfeeding in public, and that doesn't usually get news unless it is a slow news day. Case in point, this story Although slashdot is made of very intelligent people, I know someone will say something about the first amendment in 5,4,3,2...
    • Re:Why is this news? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:51PM (#26293573) Homepage Journal

      I was going to predict that some conformist submissive would repeat the trite refrain "their website, their rules" to whore karma, but damn it, you beat me to it.

      You know the great thing about individual sovereignty? People can ignore those rules. And they did. And Facebook knows they'd better not piss them off again, because they need mothers' eyeballs more than mothers need Facebook.

    • by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:56PM (#26293629) Homepage Journal

      As a private enterprise, they have the right to restrict what they want.

      And as private citizens, the mothers have a right to complain, seek publicity & try to get an organization that relies on the public's page views to change its attitude.

      Capitalism at work.

    • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:57PM (#26293635)

      As a private enterprise, Comcast has a right to restrict what they want. And they figure that since most of their users don't use bittorrent and it takes up a lot of bandwidth, they should ban it. Capitalism at work. If you don't like it, switch to one of their many competing companies that our free-market economy has ensured exist.

      end strawman

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jonfr ( 888673 )

      This is the general idea from the neo-con agenda. The fact is, even if you own something (specially a company place, that might be considered a public place) you might not have all the right on your side.

      There is a difference between public and private. When people mix those two up, bad things happen. Like censorship, stupid rules and more.

    • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @06:51PM (#26294125) Homepage

      Of cause a private company or person is legally allowed to censor as they like, but that does not make it morally acceptable.

      With your odd idea that censorship as something that only applies to the government I assume you are an American, so let me explain it in terms you understand; The US constitution is based on the morals of you founding fathers, and they knew and understood that censorship was bad, and forbid the government from restricting the freedom of speech. The idea that other entities could grow large enough that they could make a censorships systems like those of the medieval European kings never crossed their mind. However any form of censorship is still morally questionable to anyone who shares the liberal values that the US and the modern western democracies are founded on. It doesn't matter if it is a democratically elected government, a king or a corporate warlord like Google or FCC that does the censorship, it is all bad.

      Sure I can go to other websites, I can also move to another country, but the first step is always to protest the wrong actions of the place you are at, and try to improve it.

      • by Dhalka226 ( 559740 ) on Friday January 02, 2009 @07:24AM (#26298463)

        Of cause a private company or person is legally allowed to censor as they like, but that does not make it morally acceptable.

        The problem is that freedom works both ways. Yes, freedom of speech is a good thing even when it's a corporation and not the government on the other end of the line (I think we can all agree government censorship is bad, so let's leave that part out of the discussion). It's good that people be free to discuss things, even things that may offend others.

        But it's equally the right of those people to decide they don't want to hear it. They're free to only associate with those they please by whatever criteria they choose; they're free to set up a club--or in this case a community--with guidelines of their choosing, and to ask people to leave if they decide that their freedom to say whatever they please outweighs everybody else's right to associate only with those they please. Most people consider this to be a perfectly fair trade-off; you have the right to speak, but nobody has to give you a forum to do so.

        Personally, I have no problem with pictures of mothers breast feeding. I also have no problem with the creator's of a website determining the rules, even if they use silly criteria I don't agree with. My biggest problem is people like you who always claim to bring the authority of morality to the table. It's not that cut and dried, and even if it were it's only YOUR set of morals. If history has shown us anything, it's that nobody everybody holds the same moral values, and there's not necessarily a right or wrong. A lot of people have died to teach us that lesson.

        If you want to protest in hopes that Facebook changes their policies or makes an exception, swell -- but let's not pretend you're morally superior if they ignore you. In the meantime go set up and give those people a voice. Freedom for all, that's how it's supposed to be.

  • Damn Puritans (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:25PM (#26293349)
    In a Puritan society such as the United States where the human body is generally seen as filthy, this is what we get. Besides, THINK OF THE CHILDREN.
  • Prudes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:26PM (#26293351) Homepage Journal

    Last i heard nudity was legal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:27PM (#26293359)

    It's a totally nonsexual thing. I think the people that get upset over this are the ones that are disturbed. It's like how often the most vehement anti-gay people are actually trying to suppress their own tendencies.

  • by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:28PM (#26293379) Homepage Journal
    Legally, female chestal nudity is defined as showing of the nipple and/or the areola.

    That is unfair because areolae come in different shapes and sizes. A woman with the nicest nips and smallest, densest areolae wouldn't break this rule because the baby's mouth would nom-nom-nom both the nipple and the areola, obscuring them from the sight of observers in which case the nudity rule wouldn't be broken.

    More unfortunate would be the women with really puffy areaolae or the ones with the really big, stretched-out pancake areaolae. There would be no hiding then no matter how big or hungry their baby may be. The puffy areaolae would push the baby's head further away from the teet, increasing the likelihood of passers-by seeing the defiant areola or even the nipple. Big silver-dollar areolae require no explanation as they would be impossible to hide unless the baby is hydrocephalic.

    Just my 2 cents as I am not a lawyer, but I hope that more and more brave women step up to fight these sexist, unjust laws.
    • by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:40PM (#26293471)

      Let's keep our heads cool. I strongly suggest that we gather more data before recommending a change to the laws.

    • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @06:07PM (#26293713) Homepage Journal

      More unfortunate would be the women with really puffy areaolae or the ones with the really big, stretched-out pancake areaolae.

      Funny that you mention this. One time, my girlfriend and her best friend were tickling each other (yes, I know how hot that is) and her friend's shirt and bra came down just a little bit. Her areolae were like saucers. They were absolutely enormous. I made a joke about it, and she didn't talk to me for a month.

      Big silver-dollar areolae require no explanation as they would be impossible to hide unless the baby is hydrocephalic.

      When she started to act embarrassed I say "It's ok. I swear I didn't see anything. Not even your big silver-dollar pancake sized areola."

      When she got angry, I tried to mitigate with little effect. I said "I didn't say that they were nice, they're just big".


    • by tehdaemon ( 753808 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @06:16PM (#26293801)

      And legally, in most (all but 2) US states, breastfeeding is an exception - it isn't illegal even if the entire breast is exposed. In fact, the crime is asking her to cover-up/leave/stop in most places.


  • by sayfawa ( 1099071 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:29PM (#26293381)
    I bet they aren't concerned about pics of actual moms actually breastfeeding. They're probably more worried about the multitudes of people that would be posting pics of "HOT MILFS WITH RED HOT MILK JUST FOR YOU!" if they thought they could get away with it.
  • by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:30PM (#26293395)

    Just thinking out loud here, but it seems to me that these vocal, nursing mothers have a bit in common with exhibitionists and nudists:

    • The broader community is squeamish about how much flesh is shown.
    • They're at odd with the norms of public behavior in the USA.
    • Posting the pictures might stoke the desires of the viewer.

    So here's the question: Why should nursing mothers be accommodated by changes in Facebook policies, but exhibitionists / nudists not?

    I can see some people arguing against exhibitionists posting their pictures, because many people believe that seeing people bump their uglies is bad for kids.

    But nursing mothers and non-prurient nudists seem to me to have a great deal in common in this issue. If nursing mothers get their way, should nudists get to post their pictures as well?

    • by cetialphav ( 246516 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @08:39PM (#26295103)

      They're at odd with the norms of public behavior in the USA.

      Why do you say that public breastfeeding is at odds with the norms of public behavior? Most communities have laws that specifically protect it. When I have seen it in public, no one has even batted an eye. I have never in my life ever seen anyone offended by it. That doesn't sound like deviant behavior to me.

      Posting the pictures might stoke the desires of the viewer.

      Really?! Is there really a large breastfeeding fetish crowd out there? I know there are many people with feet fetishes (to the point where men have been arrested for licking strange women's feet) so may be we should ban pictures with bare feet. We can all agree that the feet fetishes are weirdos so there is no point in keeping them around. And some people have a fetish for girls with glasses [] so maybe we should exclude those types of pictures. And then there are the latex, smoking, balloon, etc fetishes. The list of things that "might stoke the desires" is as long as my uh ... It's long.

  • by Xelios ( 822510 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:33PM (#26293413)
    Obviously those infants are being exploited into performing sexual acts in front of a camera. You're damn right those pictures should be removed, think of the children!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:34PM (#26293427)

    They can't have it both ways. You ask these women "would you allow nudity on myspace?" They'll probably say "hell no" and go on about the children and all that crap. Guess what -- YOUR BREAST IS OUT, THAT IS NUDITY.

              I'm not a prude, I would prefer that myspace just gives it up and allows nudity (it's pretty slutty as it is anyway...), problem solves for these breast-feeders... but myspace is just not going to allow this type of double-standard.

  • by kachakaach ( 1336273 ) * on Thursday January 01, 2009 @06:02PM (#26293661)

    If you set your Google SafeSearch filter on "strict filtering" and search for clitoris, you get zero returns.

    But if you try a Google SafeSearch "strict filtering" search for penis, you get...

    33,000,000 returns.

    That's because "clitoris" is on Google's list of naughty words which are never, ever "safe." Penis is just fine, however. [] (

    This double standard continues through many body part images. It would seem in today's morality, Men's breasts are totally acceptable, and can be published in photos and videos completely uncovered. Womens breasts however, are dirty and must be covered, even when feeding a child..

    Several folks have posted comments to the effect to "take it to the bathroom" for breastfeeding mothers. Don't know about anybody else, but my wife is NOT feeding my son in the bathroom. Do you go to a stall in the bathroom for every meal you eat in public? (please don't tell me if you do). Nobody in my family is being forced to eat in the bathroom, including my nursing son.

    If you don't like an infant's method of eating, you have personal problems, and should see someone about it. It is NOT sexual, it is NOT dirty, it is NOT something that needs to be done behind closed doors, it is SIMPLY A BABY EATING. jeesh. Grow up.

  • by Seraphim_72 ( 622457 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @06:08PM (#26293725)
    Do you realize that for every one of us there are two, count them, TWO nipples? And almost half of us have some serious fatty tissue behind those nipples! I mean we can't have children seeing the things can we? Keep their shirst on! I mean the single best thing for a newborn to suckle on should be shameful and weird. Babies eat from bottles right? And watching a baby nurse ... well I know all kinds of people that it turns on ... OK not even one. Its a bewb - BAN it!
  • My experience... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Landshark17 ( 807664 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @06:24PM (#26293879)
    For a while I was posting photography work I had done to Facebook. About the time I started working with nude models, I decided it was time to move my collection somewhere else rather than have the art vs. porn fight. It was at that time I also looked closely at the fine print of the terms of service and realized that by posting pictures I had been giving Facebook the unrestricted right to reproduce my pictures without payment or permission.

    So I started putting my pictures up on a website whose owner I knew wouldn't care I was taking snaps of naked women: My dad.
  • Why (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moxley ( 895517 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @06:27PM (#26293903)

    People who have a problem with breastfeeding in public should think about exactly why they have an issue with it.

    I think it's pretty clear - they probably have no concept of women's breasts as non-sexual...

    Every time there is a big deal made about it - it's basically equating a mother providing sustinance for her child in the most natural way possible with spring break flashing or something....It's just unbeleivable when you really think about it - especially because when breastfeeding (and especially when doing it in public) you can't even see a breast - usually the shirt is open giving the infant access to one breast and the baby's head is up againszt the breast, blocking any view anyway....

  • by dtjohnson ( 102237 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @06:36PM (#26293991)

    Non-nursing breasts are on display in our culture every day as a sexual attraction.

    Nursing breasts are very important to babies who must have milk to survive. All milk comes from female breasts. Babies fed on cow milk are more likely to have health problems (such as infections and diabetes) than babies fed on human milk. Babies fed on human breast milk have better brain development. Mothers should be encouraged to nurse their babies as much and as long as possible. This means they will be 'breastfeeding in public' unless we intend to ban nursing mothers from public places. It is a decadent and depraved culture that finds images of nursing breasts "obscene" while elevating the display of non-nursing breasts to the status of idol. Shame. The real problem is that our culture apparently has many infantile adults who find the true function of a female breast to be upsetting.

  • They own the site (Score:3, Insightful)

    by British ( 51765 ) <> on Thursday January 01, 2009 @06:40PM (#26294037) Homepage Journal

    ....they make the rules. If you find it necessary to post pics of yourself breastfeeding, I'm sure you'll find another site that will accept it.

  • by Kibblet ( 754565 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @07:07PM (#26294269) Homepage
    Facebook is filled with networks of mothers. A lot of ads cater to them. They make money off of mothers. I cannot believe the number of ignorant comments to this thread -- more so than the average slashdot thread. But then, this is one where women would understand more than men, and parents more than people who are childfree. Still, I'd expect at least a few more enlightened people who understand basic human biology, laws pertaining to breastfeeding, the amount of women (especially mothers) who are are the internet, and other things outside the little slashdot world. I was wrong. I'm used to diversity, I guess. I suggest the mothers contact the people who are paying facebook to reach us. Why should we buy products from companies that support a place like facebook? Mothers are a POWERFUL force as far as consumers are concerned. This might not end the way some of you expect it will.
  • by synthespian ( 563437 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @08:56PM (#26295243)

    ...where just about every natural human act is considered ether porn or perversion.

    It's sad how in the United States' culture extreme violence is tolerated as entertainment and nursing babies is obscene.

    When will we learn we are just primates? Oh, wait, we're not, because we were made "in God's image."

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @09:09PM (#26295367) Homepage

    The ones being breast-fed, I mean. These tiny children are being forced to look at naked breasts! Surely this is child sexual abuse! Those women should be arrested!

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann