Sunday, 28 December 2008

Censored, by Facebook

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This photo is obscene. So obscene, it was deleted off my Facebook profile photo album, and I was issued with a warning. Does this photo, clearly part of a Government/health agency campaign to protect breastfeeding, look obscene to you?
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Does the mother look obscene to you? Engaging in a sex act? Evoking an erotic response?
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Does this one...?
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She hasn't been deleted, as of yet.
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EDIT: Jan 2009. The Virgin Mary was then deleted! If you check the Tera site, you'll find close up of two Virgin Mary paintings, including this one, was deleted by Facebook as obscene...
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Why was the first mother deleted? She was deleted as Facebook have stated that photos showing aureole or nipple, are obscene. A full breast shot it obscene. Regardless of context. There has been a huge protest about this, as Facebook have been deleting family photos out of personal albums on Facebook, with no warning. The protest was organised by mothers who had had their pictures removed. There was an online virtual nurse-in yesterday, on Facebook, and a physical one outside the Facebook headquarters in California.
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Online, people were asked to post breastfeeding photos in their profile, and to add the status line "Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene."
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Many of us online, ended up in free and frank exchanges of views with our own online friends, and in the protest forums. Free and frank exchanges of view aren't a problem. Most lactavists, remember when they too thought breastfeeding was a lifestyle choice, and formula was benign and held no health risks to infants. We remember being duped by the hegemony too! And how hard it is to unthink formula dominant culture.
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Also, during the day, interesting things happened. Posted comments started to appear without their profile photo, and accounts had been frozen. In short, photos were being deleted off accounts, by Facebook, as the day progressed.
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When I'd started posting, I'd had a series of about 5 photos, I was cycling through. The first one above, was one of them. Then, I read the link that Facebook had stated that it was aureole, or full breast that was offensive. I changed by photo to number two up there - the Virgin Mary with a fully naked breast. Commissioned by the Catholic Church, to hang in a Catholic Church.
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I left this one there. Unchanged, for the rest of the day. Still there, in fact, as I type this.
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I didn't think they'd delete the Virgin Mary, and I felt that made a point.
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So, you can imagine my surprise, when logging back in today, I found that the first picture above, had been deleted out of my profile album. The first picture above, shows LESS breast than the second one.
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What's the difference between them? Why is one still up, and the other in the rubbish basket?
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Because someone complained about photo one, and no one has complained about photo two.
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Seriously.
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Now, let's think about that for a moment. A *huge* number of breastfeeding photos were deleted off Facebook yesterday and today. *HUGE* One might imagine all of them following a complaint...
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Who was complaining?
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Who, on a protest against censorship of breastfeeding, has gone around and complained, vigorously, about breastfeeding photos. Answer: quite a lot of people. (To judge by the amount of deletions.)
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Lactaphobes. Misogynists. Mean as skimmed milk morons who get their kicks by acting important and feeling powerful... by complaining about a breastfeeding photo!
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But that's not what really worries me. World is full of sad and inadequate people, trying their best to feel validated in any small way. Not to mention stupid and small minded ones.
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It's the internet. You expect morons and inadequates.
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What worries me about this... is that Facebook is standing by such bullying. Lactaphobia is a prejudice. An unreasonable, knee jerk reaction, to a specific set of people. It's harassment, and bullying.
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And Facebook is not only condoning it, it's carrying it out on behalf of its account holders. It's set mothers and babies up for discrimination, and then acted out on the base impulses of its user group.
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"Nothing to do with us!" they will say. "Photo broke rules, someone complained, we deleted it."
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No matter what it was, and how clearly it is not obscene.
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And the surge in deletions, no doubt from a surge in complaints, on the day of a protest against censorship, has no bearing, Facebook? Just like the fact that the photo you deleted is clearly a health education poster? Huh? .
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Blind.
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Blind prejudice.
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Blind lactaphobia.
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At an online community near you.
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Being enforced by the company making money from social networking. Using their profits, to pay people, to bully those seeking to protect breastfeeding.
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Wouldn't it be sweet, if that poster up there, suddenly appeared everywhere on Facebook? It's still on several profiles, and in several albums. Only my personally complained about one is gone. Got a Facebook account....? Click and save on the above image! :-)
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On another note - do you recognise the poster? Any idea where it came from? It looks like a scan from a print source, so it may be quite old. If you have any idea where this one is from, and who produced it, which country it appeared in, please contact me.  (EDIT - from Argentina!  How to breastfeed leaflet.)
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I aim to let Facebook know exactly who they deleted, and which Government (likely) sponsored it.
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This one, just as obscene, was sponsored by the Norwegian Government:

Go Norway!
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Now, how can we persuade Norway to open up a Facebook account and post a profile picture...?








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Edit: This is the photograph that was deleted from Facebook in 2007, that started the entire protest.
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Can you see a fully exposed breast? Or can you just see the lactaphobe, lurking in the background, with their finger on the all powerful 'delete' button?
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7 comments:

island mamma said...

It saddens me deeply that this is the society that my children have to grow up in. One that would veiw the tenderness and self sacraficing nursing mother as an obscenity. My heart is truly heavy because of this. I am actually horrified by the amount of people that veiw breastfeeding as obscene.

Marge said...

Morgan, it appears to me that the figure in the Madonna and Child painting you show resembles that of a Barbie doll. Perhaps that's why no one deleted it...yet.

Maria said...

I LOVE the picture that you posted on TERA that was deleted by facebook.... it is soooo powerful and passionate and intimate and the perfect reflection of all things motherhood.... LOVE it....

Ailbhe said...

Oh, it was a tandem feeding photo! That finally got me off my arse and working out how to find pictures taken two years ago... fb profile pic duly altered.

Kat said...

i am contantly apalled by treatment of breastfeeding moms, but after breastfeeding two myself, i must say i am (unfortunately) not surprised.
I wholly agree with Marge the Madonna looks like the "ideal" woman's body/unrealistic thus acceptable. It is sexy enough to post.
I also am horrified by the amount of people that find breastfeeding obsene

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the title, artist of the painting of Mary. I've always loved that painting and found your blog because I was looking for it.

Morgan said...

Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels

Jean Fouquet

c. 1450
Wood, 93 x 85 cm
Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp