Dear all --
I am Emma Kwasnica, tandem-nursing mother, currently
pregnant with our third (what's the word for when you have *three*
nurslings ? Tri-andem-nursing ? ;-) ). I am an aspiring midwife, BF
Counselor, Childbirth Educator, and I currently am fighting for
'informed choice' for all childbearing/-rearing women, at a grassroots
level. I am an avid reader/fan of MT, and am
posting here today to let you know about a simple way of
encouraging the re-normalisation of breastfeeding.
I am the
Facebook user who had her entire account disabled over the
breastfeeding photos controversy last month (fellow Lactivist Morgan
Gallagher was one among many supporters to blog about my plight, here : http://one-of-those-women.blogspot.com/2009/01/distraught-mother-speaks-hey-facebook.html)
. They deleted everything I had ever posted on the social networking
site, including all of my midwifery-related research (I run a lively
discussion group on there, called 'Informed Choice : Birth &
Beyond'). After 19 days, however, Facebook re-instated my account
(though they did not acknowledge their wrong-doing, other than the
reactivating of my account). This we take as a small, but positive
step on the road to Facebook realising the scope of their harmful
policy, a policy which prevents more women from breastfeeding for
longer periods of time (or breastfeeding at all), and which prevents
babies from receiving more (or ANY...) of what they biologically expect
to receive : human milk at their mother's breast.
To this day, however, Facebook continues to randomly delete
breastfeeding photos, and terminate member accounts; deplorably,
breastfeeding photos are classified (arbitrarily) as a 'depiction of
nudity' by the Facebook Terms of Service. And so begins the second
wave of our on-line protest (I am an administrator for the 'virtual'
event, to be held on Saturday, February 21st), which this time around
also includes a second component : a letter-writing campaign. All
relevant info, including how to participate simply by changing your
profile picture and status line for one day, can be found here :
Here is an explanation of our group philosophy, to clarify exactly what our position is on the matter :
*Women post breastfeeding photos because they want to demonstrate or
celebrate breastfeeding, just as they do other aspects of their lives.
*Women post breastfeeding photos because breastfeeding is a normal part of their day and what they do as mothers.
post breastfeeding photos because others want to see their children
doing things that are healthy and important, such as eating.
Breastfeeding has well-known unsurpassable benefits for the health of
children and mothers in nutrition, disease prevention, and emotional
*Breastfeeding is not inherently a private or intimate
activity. Almost all American states have passed laws promoting
breastfeeding and allowing it in public in the manner a woman chooses.
deletion of many breastfeeding photos goes against the main biological
purpose of women's breasts and how they function. Its posting of ads in
which scantily clad women use sex to sell things makes it even
harder for women to counter the harmful public prejudice against breastfeeding.
deletion of many breastfeeding photos stigmatizes breastfeeding. Its
description of some ways of doing it as obscene is wrong and demeans
and insults women.
*Because of the quantity of breastfeeding
photos on Facebook, its deletion of some implies telling women how not
to breastfeed. Because of Facebook's scope and error, that is harmful
to the public good.
*Women with large areolas cannot latch a
child on without exposing some skin which Facebook has arbitrarily
deemed bad to show. Regardless of physique, latching on and off are
necessary parts of the breastfeeding process.
*Women breastfeeding, with or without much breast exposure, are not nude.
*Women breastfeeding, with or without much breast exposure, are not obscene.
*Women breastfeeding, with or without much breast exposure, are not pornographic.
breastfeeding, with or without much breast exposure, are not performing
a sexual act. Their breasts and parts of them are not classified as sex
organs. Their breasts are mammary glands which lactate for the optimal
survival of humans.
*Women breastfeeding, with or without much
breast exposure, do not harm children. What harms children is their not
seeing how breasts are used for feeding children.
* Include the
request that Facebook leave all breastfeeding pictures in place, that
is the most important point in this campaign.
you believe you can help to make a difference, I thank for your time
and consideration in participating. We are not prepared to back down
until Facebook does what *IS* right, and changes their harmful,
stigmatising and discriminatory policy. We continue the fight, because
with over 150 million active users, Facebook has the potential to make
an enormous positive contribution to the promotion and normalisation of
breastfeeding. And because when *we* win, **BABIES THE WORLD OVER**,
-Emma Kwasnica, in Montréal