Tuesday, November 11, 2008


That was my profile pic on Facebook. But then someone marked it as offensive and they took it down.

Let's discuss this for a moment. Facebook let me know that they take down pics marked offensive for nudity, drug use and for being obscene. How does that look like drug use? Seriously, because there's no nudity or obscenity.

Utah State Code 10-8-50

(3) (a) A woman's breast feeding, including breast feeding in any location where she otherwise may rightfully be, does not under any circumstance constitute a lewd or indecent act, irrespective of whether or not the breast is covered during or incidental to feeding.
So there you have it: breastfeeding is neither nudity nor obscene.

But TopHat, Facebook is a private corporation in California, not Utah!

California Civil Code §43.3
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and child are authorized to be present.

But anyone can see/download this, TopHat! (a comment I did receive)

These pictures were taken at Sundance Resort here in Utah. Anybody could have walked by while we were taking them. In fact it was a beautiful fall evening and there were lots of people walking around taking pictures including a family probably doing their Christmas letter pictures. What's unique about my Facebook picture was that it was only accessible to my "friends." Which, strangely enough, means that one of my "friends" decided to infringe on my rights when they marked it as obscene.

And now TopHat, anyone can see this on your blog! ANYONE!

Thanks, I know. Your point? I know there are pervs out there, but I'm not going to change my actions because there "might" be someone creepy. I wear sandals in the summer even though there "might" be someone with an ankle fetish in Provo. I'm not going to don a burka because of breastfeeding- not in public, not on the Internet. Plus, if you're going for the "but guys are more visual and need help keeping their thoughts in line" argument, you are doing a disservice to both men and women- you think very little of a man's ability to restrain himself and also imply that women need to be modest because of men. Do you believe that a woman's a fault for being raped if she wore a mini skirt? Same concept here. Women are NOT responsible for keeping men's thoughts in line.

Admittedly, this picture does show more than I usually do in public, but it's not obscene and not nudity. I wrote to Facebook explaining the laws and requesting that they put the picture back up. They haven't responded. If I don't hear from them by next week, I'm going to put it back up myself. I haven't done anything wrong and I haven't violated the terms of use.

I emailed FirstRight about this, and although this doesn't fall into their mission, they did give me some advice and also informed me about Nipplegate 2006, during which Livejournal amended their user agreement to say that incidence of nipple in breastfeeding pictures does not violate their terms of use. Good for them! There is a Facebook group called, "Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!(Official petition to Facebook)." I'm obviously not the first person this has happened to- I had just hoped that my "friends" were cooler than this.

Tomorrow starts International Babywearing week! Look forward to a giveaway, 2 guest posts and lots of babywearing links and joy!


  1. Ridiculous, ridiculous, and did I mention I think it's ridiculous? Hopefully it was just some random tech peon and the bigwigs at facebook will be more understanding/less ignorant.

  2. That is frustrating to know that a friend was the one who tagged it. If I found something like that to be offensive I would have asked you, but because I know your stance on breastfeeding and the law here I would have been "oh, Heather went for breastfeeding pictures". I personally don't feel comfortable with doing something like that but hey thats just me.

    The only thing I don't 100% agree on is with the "Women are NOT responsible for keeping men's thoughts in line." I think we are here to help and build each other. I mean we can't do everything for everyone but we can do what we can personally. I mean something like breastfeeding in public where the breast is visible is still not common among the majority here in the US. Some find it so out of the ordinary that they do stare, they do "think" and some may know that something like that would trigger unwanted thoughts in EITHER men or women...alright I totally lost my train of thought and I think I'm just rambling on with out making sense now...so I'm just going to say, sorry you have this constant fight with letting people know it is legal but just because something is legal doesn't mean every one agrees or wont stand against it. . I love Margret you and McKay did great work!

  3. I really hope Facebook reinstate your picture asap. I have breastfeeding pictures on my Facebook and I'd rather remove any friends that find them offensive than the pictures.

    No-one would tag a baby with a bottle offensive would they...how about a baby drinking milk straight from a cow...hmmm?

    Good luck with this one!

  4. Hi Heather! I don't know if you remember me...I was in your BYU ward before we both got married (I believe I was actually your visiting teacher for a while, too). Anyway, I'm a casual reader of your blog, and even though I don't always agree with some of your views, I always admire your moxie and determination to stand up for what you believe in. Kudos to you for taking a stand for the rights of breastfeeding women. Too many mothers are bullied into being ashamed of doing what is natural and best for their children whenever and wherever needed.

    I'm fairly sure the minders of facebook have far more serious issues to deal with (like the ACTUAL pornographic profile pics, of which there are plenty) than to waste their time persecuting someone who is within her rights. If only they would...

  5. It wasn't me, I swear! I am not comfortable showing quite that much when I NIP, but I certainly support other mom's rights to NIP as openly or discreetly as they are comfortable with. I'm already part of the facebook petition...I hope eventually it gets enough people to get follow-through...they had an official petition to remove 'is' from the status, and that worked out!!

  6. Okay, I confess...I was the one who reported you! ;)

    I'm totally down with NIP, as you know. It's one thing if you're taking off your shirt to nurse, entirely another to slide out a bit o' boob for the little baby in your lap. If people have a problem with showing a little too much skin, then they need to ask that 20-something co-ed wearing a tank-top and a micro-mini skirt to leave, thankyouverymuch.

  7. I agree that it is a right to nurse in any place you would be. I agree that it isn’t lewd, or wrong, or anything like that. I’ve nursed uncovered in public. I feel relieved that I have an easy way to feed my baby when I’m not at home. However, a couple of situations have helped me to see the perspective of people who are uncomfortable when a woman nurses in front of them. (this has nothing to do with men who “can’t help their thoughts,” and does not relate nursing to porn or anything like that, but bear with me, and maybe you can see my point of view, even if you disagree.)
    When I first had my baby and had to nurse her when my father in law was at my house, he chose to leave, to go all the way back to SLC just because he was uncomfortable. At his home, he always asks me to nurse in another room, or else he makes a big display of “LEAVING” the room. I spent a lot of time being mad at him. And I nurse covered in front of men who aren’t DH anyway. Finally, I came to see that he really was uncomfortable, which brings me to another connection. Sometimes I get upset about things. DH sometimes tells me I “SHOULDN’T” be upset by that thing. But that doesn’t make me feel better. The point is, I feel upset, and him telling me I shouldn’t doesn’t change how I feel. So I learned to see it that way with my FIL. I realized he really is uncomfortable with me doing that. For whatever reason. I don’t need to try and convince him of my reasons, but it is important for our relationship for me to respect his point of view. I could be upset. But that does me no good. Another example is freedom of speech. I have the right to say anything I want (mostly). But, I know that certain things I could say would hurt or offend or bother people. I could just say, “that’s their fault, they don’t have to listen, I have freedom to do this, it isn’t bad…etc…” But I’ve learned to recognize that other people are important. I’m still working on trying to be considerate, but sometimes you have to sacrifice something you could do in order to be considerate of others.

    That is in no way comparing breast-feeding to swearing, but some people really just are uncomfortable seeing a woman’s breast. Blame it on society, blame it on the person, whatever you’d like, but at least acknowledge that it’s a fact. Then make your decision. Obviously, nursing is so important, and no one would complain if you took a picture of yourself spoon or bottle feeding your child. But unfortunately (some would say fortunately) breasts have a dual role. You can’t completely remove the sexuality of breasts, at least not in our culture. Any other country and people wouldn’t even think twice.

    Anyway, that’s my, um….25 cents. Take it or leave it, but maybe just another perspective that people are just uncomfortable and not trying to take away your rights.  BTW, I wasn’t offended or shocked by your picture.

  8. Emily! I knew it was you! Next time I see you, I'll do better and make sure I remove my shirt entirely before feeding Margaret. ;)

    As for other's feelings, I know what it's like to be uncomfortable when other people are. My father, for example is not a fan of my breastfeeding in front of him (or anyone for that matter). Does that stop me? No. When I visited my parents this past summer, had he said something, I would have gone across the street to the public library to breastfeed- where I knew my rights were protected and I didn't need to cover up. It was a little awkward early on in the week I was visiting them- because I knew he was uncomfortable, but the more confident I got, the less of an issue it was. I really think the more confident the mother is, the less likely people are going to say anything. Maybe he's finally realizing that he can't project his insecurities on me or maybe he realizes that if he's going to be weird about it they won't get to see grandchildren. Who knows? I've decided that it's first my place to make sure my daughter is comfortable before worrying about other people's comfort- because we all know an unhappy baby is going to make even more people unhappy!

    I do know that breasts can be sexual- but so can mouths. And yet no one covers their mouth when they are talking or eating or doing anything else non-sexual with them. I hope that some day we'll reach the point when women can use their breasts for breastfeeding as seemlessly as we eat and speak. Mouths aren't any less sexual because we use them in non-sexual ways- and neither would breasts be.

  9. So I have been thinking long and hard of how to share my feelings on this subject with you. You and I are somewhat different and alike in how we live our lives. I am an incredibly open and honest person as are you, but you openly share pictures of so many things that I would never dream of. I'm sure for selfish reasons on my part, worried of how others might take it ... I was so stressed even about sharing our pregnancy so early wondering what others thought. Which is definitly an aspect of my personality I am desperately trying to shed.

    I cannot look at some of your posted pictures because they make me feel uncomfortable. So I just stopped looking or would quickly close the photo ... I know you are incredibly hurt by whomever notified Facebook of your picture as well as angry at Facebook for agreeing ... but I know that everyone loves you and perhaps that individual just felt uncomfortable and rather than risk upsetting you directly through telling you (which is always the best thing to do, tell people face to face or on the phone or something ... as I have definitly felt on comments about my blog) they made the choice to allow someone else to handle it for them.

    I don't think any one hates you or is maliciously trying to hurt you, I think they felt uncomfortable and made the easier (more hurtful) of two choices. While I definitly do not know this for certain, this is just what came to me as I pondered your current situation.

    You are not a lewed or indicent person, not that you need me to tell you that ... you are an heroine example to many. Keep being you, some may not accept it now, but perhaps in time :)

  10. That is so stupid. I have cousins who have half naked pictures of themselves up on facebook and those never get taken down. I did have a friend who had a picture of herself during childbirth that was taken down by facebook.

  11. Came here from PrairieMama's blog. I think that photo is beautiful, and would be very annoyed if a nursing photo of mine were reported.

  12. You already know how I feel!

    Women get to wear bathings suits - een conservatives won't ask a mommy in a one-piece to cover up. So why can't she breastfeed? You are showing far less flesh there. I mean, we have underwear ads in our newspapers.

    A baby is eating. EATING!

  13. Alot of people don't know that if you belong to any Facebook networks, then everyone in those networks can see your profile, pictures, messages etc regardless of wether or not your friends with that person. So, it might not have been one of your "friends". Either way, it's ridiculous that someone would find that offensive.


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